September 11, 2013 08:48PM
By Andrew Ragali
WALLINGFORD — Candidates were placed on the ballot for the Nov. 5 municipal election after a lottery on Tuesday.
By state law, a ballot lottery must be held. Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. and challenger Jason Zandri, a town councilor, are automatically at top of the ballot. Below the mayoral candidates, 13 Town Council candidates — seven Republicans and six Democrats — were placed according to the lottery. Beneath council candidates, 12 Board of Education candidates — six per party — were also randomly placed.
“We put everybody’s name on pieces of paper,” said Republican Registrar of Voters Chet Miller.
Five people took turns picking names out of a hat to establish the ballot order for council and school board.
Town Clerk Barbara Thompson said absentee ballots will be available in the Town Clerk’s office on Oct. 4.
When looking at the ballot, the Republican and Democratic candidates look as if they’re matched against each other, which is not true, Thompson said.
Town Councilor Craig Fishbein, a Republican, is the only candidate alone on the ballot because of the odd number of Republican council candidates. Residents may vote for him because they think he’s unopposed, Fishbein said.
“But I would hope I’d receive votes based on my accomplishments,” he added.
In the 2011 municipal election, there were 24,731 registered voters. Of those, a total of 9,783 or 39.5 percent voted, Thompson said.
“For some reason it’s just not a big draw,” Thompson said.
Thompson expects turnout to be slightly higher this year.
The fact that voter turnout is consistently low is an issue, Zandri said.
“It’s because people believe that nothing will change,” he said.
As of Aug. 8, 24,997 residents were registered, Miller said.
Of those registered, 7,119 are Democrats, 4,663 are Republicans, 13,123 are unaffiliated and 92 are categorized as other.