I’d hate to be in the Bridgeport registrar of voters’ office today. It’s a very narrow office in McLevy Hall, with just enough standing room in the waiting area for about three large would-be voters, but everyone seems to be cramming in there, thanks to Tuesday’s ballot shortage: Mayor Bill Finch, his three-businessman investigation team, CT post reporters, AP reporters, television news teams, representatives from Tom Foley’s campaign, representatives from Dan Malloy’s campaign and assorted other helpful types, including my old college classmate Tim Herbst, who is the Republican first selectman in Trumbull.
At least that’s what it looks like in my head after I read the CT Post’s coverage this morning.
UPDATE : Votes are being counted into the night here in Bridgeport. Head over to Lennie Grimaldi’s blog to check out up-to-the-minute info on that.
He even has pictures. (Points to my fellow Bantams if they can spot Tim!)
This ballot thing has really gotten my goat. Not least of all because I love Bridgeport, I enjoy living here and I’m forever trying to convince people that it’s really not that bad, it’s quite nice actually, and all our political corruption is well and truly behind us. But you know, when things like this happen, I have a very hard time sticking up for my city.
Bridgeport is not the most efficient of cities. At the risk of sounding like one of those taxpayers I used to hate interviewing, let me point at our taxes. At 39.64 mills, we have one of the highest tax rates in the state (Hartford has the highest, then New Haven’s various regions, then Waterbury, then New Britain.) In fact, 39.64 is kind of low for us, but like many big cities, we don’t seem to get a big return for the money. Our schools are struggling. Our services are basic (recycling pick-up every other week). Things often don’t work (The night before the election, I tried to check the city website to get some last minute voting information and it was down). Granted, running a big city that’s been plagued by both poverty and corruption presents a huge challenge, but the ballot fiasco is over the top. I’d hope my taxes would at least help pay for a well-run election.
I’ve seen various sets of registrars run elections in Connecticut’s big cities. It’s a monumental task. Sometimes the registrars got along well. Sometimes they hated each other with a passion. Almost always they had to recount absentee ballots in the middle of the night because of a glitch. But they always managed to work together and order enough ballots. Why didn’t that happen here? Despite the months of litigation, investigation and resignation we are probably in for, I doubt we’ll know. At least not for a while.