If someone ever tells you your vote doesn’t make a difference you can now present solid evidence to the contrary. Hold up the Record-Journal’s page one from Tuesday, Nov. 15, and display the headline “One vote decides 81st district race.”
Yes, Democrat Chris Poulos won by that margin, as slim as it can get, in his race against Republican Tony Morrison. The result was from a recount of ballots following Poulos’ six-vote lead on election night.
Each of those 5,297 votes for Poulos has a claim to being the deciding vote, putting him over the 5,296 tallied for Morrison. Yet Steve Kalkowski had an interesting perspective. “There was one hand count ballot that was the difference,” said the Republican Town Committee chairman, as quoted in Jesse Buchanan’s R-J story. “The voter put their pen on Morrison and made a dot then circled Poulos.”
Poulos called the win overwhelming and “great, great news.”
What it also was was a unique coda to a midterm election in which local outcomes were perhaps not as surprising as those elsewhere in the nation but captivating nonetheless. Connecticut remains true blue, with the re-election of Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, among others. A tight race that took some time before revealing a result ended in favor of incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes in the 5th congressional district.
Other tight races that took a while to decide included Democrat Jonathan “Jack” Fazzino’s win over Republican Lou Arata in the 83rd state House District. Arata told the R-J he intended to challenge the tally.
The race in the 83rd district was characterized by a cordial nature that ought to be emulated. “We ran a civil, issues-campaign,” said Fazzino. “We showed it doesn’t have to be so contentious.”
There’s a lot of discussion now, some second guessing and blaming, about the anticipated red wave not meeting expectations, and in elections there’s always some reason for disappointment. But Election Day was a vibrant display of democracy and the voting process at work, even though some races took longer to decide and even though there are still those being determined.
Democracy demands vigilance, and while we can be encouraged by the way the election took place there will always be reason to remain on guard. Given the candidacy of so-called election deniers and others, the process seemed perhaps more precious and fragile heading into the vote this year. That helped make the way Election Day worked out, win or lose, so welcome.