To the Editor:
The proposal to reduce Newingtonâ€™s current number of voting districts from eight (with seven polling locations) to three is â€“ and I can say this with confidence â€“ bad for the town and voters of Newington.
Newingtonâ€™s voting locations have remained the same for decades. It promotes consistency in voting and prevents confusion. Newington as a town, up until now, has tried to make it easier and support peopleâ€™s right to vote, not obstruct it.
Reducing the number of voting districts from eight to three will change polling locations for a massive majority of residents in town. Voters may find themselves traveling miles instead of a mile to cast their ballots. Car traffic will increase, as will lines to enter the polls. It will magnify a lack of parking and generally cause confusion. These changes may impact seniors and the disabled disproportionally. During a pandemic, there is also a public health concern if more people are packed into polling locations.
In 2020, I had difficulty driving into the parking lot because of traffic and had trouble finding a place to park, and waited 30 minutes to vote, and this was a year where many people voted by absentee ballot.
There are currently around 21,500 voters in the eight Newington voting districts, an average of approximately 2,700 voters per district. The proposed reduction to three districts would mean an average of around 7,100 voters per district. There are currently only 30 voting districts larger than this in the state.
I urge Newington voters to voice their continued opposition to this proposal and not provide tacit approval of a plan that reduces voting access by making it more difficult to vote for thousands of residents.
Turco is a Democratic State Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly, representing Newington's 27th District