West Haven residents go vote under cloudy skies and cold weather

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Photo courtesy of Samuel Weinmann

The outsde of the church of the Holy Spirit, were members of District One vote, Nov. 1, West Haven.

Samuel Weinmann, Politics Editor

Perspective

Despite dark clouds looming over the city and the cold weather, citizens of West Haven still showed up to vote during election day on Nov. 2.

At the District One polling location, the Church of the Holy Spirit, lawn chairs lined the grass in front of the building, with signs sprawled along the road for both Nancy R. Rossi and Barry Lee Cohen’s mayoral campaigns. Supporters for each candidate sat in the chairs, wrapped in blankets to keep warm.

One sign read “Go Vote!” while people came in and out of the church with pamphlets in their hand.

Cohen supporters greeted incoming voters as they walked near the church, with informational pamphlets in their hands.

Opposite the church is the West Haven Green which—except for events hosted there and the occasional dog walker or bicyclist—usually isn’t filled with many people. On Election Day, however, citizens gathered from all directions; some came alone, and others with their families, keeping close to stay warm.

While sitting on a nearby bench, you could see West Haven come alive. Children on bicycles sped by, while others played on the concrete in front of the gazebo.

At nearly 5 p.m.—a time in which the parking spots on Church Street are normally empty—most of the spots were taken up, with cars coming and going constantly.

It was also busy at Mayor Nancy Rossi’s Campaign Headquarters, located on Captain Thomas Boulevard. I stopped by later that night to volunteer to make some calls before the polls closed. I was tasked to call voters and remind them to vote. Although some voters didn’t know that it was election day, many others had already voted that morning.

Other volunteers were doing the same thing. The walls of the headquarters were sectioned off for each district, with volunteers calling voters and crossing their names off on a massive list pinned to the wall. Supporters of the Mayor came and went, trying to secure the election before the end of the night.

Later that night, reporters came into the headquarters, which at that point was packed with both supporters and reporters.

On the night of the election, Rossi addressed supporters, saying that she’s “very excited to be representing the city of West Haven again.”

Although the election could have gone either way, it was clear to me that every vote counted, and if it hadn’t been for the families walking across the Green, or for the volunteers making calls for hours on end, the election could have gone a very different way.

Although political efficacy in this country is on the decline, civic participation is crucial for a functional democracy, and from what I saw on Election Day, everyone can make a difference—especially in local elections.