Mansfield Town council discusses high local voter turnout

The Mansfield Town council met for their weekly meeting to discuss the buying of a farm match and discussing election referendum results for restoration to the Mansfield Middle School gymnasium. (Amar Batra/ The Daily Campus)

The Mansfield Town Council discussed the Town of Mansfield’s record voter turnout on Election Day 2016 during a meeting at the Mansfield Town Hall on Monday evening.

“We had record voter turnout in Mansfield, perhaps not by percentage, but by number,” council member Ben Shaiken said. “More than 11,000 people voted here on Tuesday, which is, I think at least 1,000 more than had ever voted in Mansfield before.”

The Town of Mansfield’s same-day voter registration rate increased substantially this past Election Day, according to Shaiken.

“We were one of the top municipalities in the state for Election Day registration ballots cast,” Shaiken said. “Almost 1,000 new folks were registering on Election Day itself.”

Shaiken said the Town of Mansfield faced an IT issue about one week before the election which could have hindered the voter turnout numbers if it had not been fixed.

“I truly believe had it not been fixed, we would have seen multi-hour long waits at polling places here in town that just did not exist,” Shaiken said. “I think the longest wait we had all day was around an hour to register to vote.”

According to Shaiken, the efforts of the Mansfield Town Hall employees facilitated the record voter turnout on Election Day.

“From my understanding, [Mansfield Town Hall employees] went all hands on deck, got deputized as election officials and worked at polling places to make sure things went well,” Shaiken said.

Members of the greater Storrs and Mansfield community assisted on Election Day as well, council member Antonia Moran said.

“There were a number of E.O. Smith students who also volunteered as election officials, as well as a number of UConn students who did some of the work,” according to Moran. “None of the real delays that had been anticipated occurred, and it was a very good day, a very reassuring day by the number of people who turned out to vote.”

The Town of Mansfield’s record number of voters approved the allocation of $873,000 to Mansfield Middle School for renovating its gymnasium and related facilities, Town Manager Matthew Hart said.

“There’s been a staff committee created to oversee the project, and we’re now in the phase of looking for an architect,” Hart said.


Alexandra Retter is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.retter@uconn.edu.