Democrat for a Day

True story.

I enjoy being not being registered with any political party. I like to think of myself as a political free agent, always free to vote for the candidate I like best, rather than feeling bound by party loyalty. As a journalist, I feel like it’s responsible for me to remain unaffiliated.

But today, my civic duty as a voter trumps my desire to appear impartial as a journalist, and so for at least 48 hours, I am a Democrat.

An important local primary is happening today  in Bridgeport. Two powerful mayoral candidates – Mayor Bill Finch and challenger Mary Jane Foster – are vying for the D slot on the ballot in November. This primary may well decide the mayoral race. True, we also have Republicans and Independent candidates running for mayor, but the Dems are the dominant party in town, and I felt that to properly participate in this race, I had to vote in the primary.*

I don’t like being affiliated. I don’t always agree with the National Democratic Party. But this isn’t the national party we’re talking about here. For me, local politics is infinitely more important than the national variety. In local politics we’re closer to the government, we’re closer to the politicians and there are fewer of us voting. We’re also choosing entry-level politicians who may or may not go on to state or national office. That gives us more of a voice at the local level.

To use my voice effectively, I felt I had to register as a Dem.

I don’t know if that means that I’m going to remain a Dem until we move out of town. I’m thinking about it – it might make sense to vote in each primary. But I may return to unaffiliated bliss by the end of the week. I haven’t yet made my decision.

 

*I shant say for whom I voted, because as a journalist who sometimes covers Bridgeport, I think it’s important to keep that sort of thing to myself, particularly in a blog post that will remain on the Internet forever.

Sunday was not Bridgeport’s day.

Sunday was not a fantastic day for Bridgeport.

My paper’s headline this morning? “Counted Out.” The CT Post/Connecticut Citizen Election Audit Coalition-sponsored vote recount turned up batches of uncounted ballots, and a one-in-four chance that if you cast a photocopied ballot on Nov. 2, your vote was miscounted.

Great. I’ve blogged about the botched election (we didn’t have enough ballots on Election Day) and the recount, but this finding is at least worth a post. That’s more than 1,000 misread ballots. I think my favorite part of the CT  Post’s article was Registrar of Voter Sandi Ayala’s comment when she was asked to respond to the findings. She told The Post that during the original tally, her workers were tired and working under stressful circumstances, “with cameras in their faces and microphones on top of the table where they’re trying to do a tally.” I agree with Ayala – her workers were under a lot of stress. But who let the press into the room where the tally was being done and why?

To top off the day, Seth MacFarlane mocked Bridgeport and Bridgeporters on Family Guy tonight. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be quite so stung – I’d be perversely proud that my city was on television – but today I’m smarting over the election fiasco. The coup de grace? A built-in preemptive strike against the letter I was about to start writing. Blah. The mockery is below, until Family Guy makes whoever posted it take it off YouTube.

Seth MacFarlane, you are to Bridgeporters as Mel Brooks is to the villagers in the beginning scenes of Men in Tights. That’s all I have to say this evening.