Two power company trucks made their way up Fan Hill Road before turning onto Knorr Road late Tuesday morning and a worker directed traffic for a tree crew on Cutlers Farm Road in the afternoon. Monroe's municipal election is being held under a clear blue sky on a warm, spring-like November day, but remnants of last weekend's snowstorm and townwide power outages still linger.
Outside a polling place at Fawn Hollow Elementary School, candidates and supporters held up signs and greeted voters, who trickled in several minutes apart.
Karen Burnaska, head moderator at the polls, believes the aftermath of the storm is behind the low voter turnout.
"I think they are coming off a very difficult week," said Burnaska, the former first selectman. "We have people coming here who still don't have cable."
Most homeowners and some businesses were left without electricity, water and phone service for a week or longer. As of Tuesday morning, Connecticut Light & Power's outage map showed 12 Monroe customers still waiting to get their power back.
As of noon, 1,458 people voted, accounting for 11.4 percent of the total electorate, according to Burnaska, who added at the same time two years ago turnout was 15.6 percent and that 13.6 percent had voted by noon in 2007.
"I think it's the storm," said Susan Koneff, Democratic Registrar of Voters.
"I think so too," Jeannette Benson, the Republican Registrar, agreed.
Koneff said, "I think people are too busy getting their lives back to normal. Hopefully they'll come later in the day — and that could possibly happen."
She also wondered whether people who missed a significant amount of work hours from the storm aftermath may not have been able to get to the polls before work Tuesday morning.
"We can only guess," Koneff said of the low turnout.
According to the Registrars Office, Monroe has 12,833 registered voters, including 6,962 unaffiliated, 3,284 Republicans, 2,553 Democrats and 34 classified as "other."
First Selectman Candidates in Good Spirits
First Selectman Steve Vavrek greeted voters in the Fawn Hollow Elementary School parking lot. He believes there is "a little apathy" from the storm and said some people told him they were upset over a negative tone during the campaign.
"Some people told me they voted for me because they're tired of the negativity out there," Vavrek said. "And some believe the hype."
Despite talk of negativity, the first selectman expressed a positive outlook on Election Day. "We are moving the town forward and I'm fairly confident with the responses I've gotten that people see that," he said. "But I am not resting on my laurels. Heck no. I'm here 24/7. I'm happy with the town. I feel we're moving in the right direction."
His challenger, Democrat, Phyllis Kansky also had high hopes.
"I'm feeling very up actually. I'm feeling good," she said, while standing outside the polls at Masuk High School. "I feel very confident that I will take this. I've worked hard and the Democratic Town Committee worked hard. I look forward to a victory tonight."
This election season has seemed quiet, but Kansky said the reason for her optimism stems from a phone campaign, which included 1,000 calls to the third district alone. Most of the people who answered their phone were open minded and positive, according to Kansky.
What about many of the calls made her feel confident?
"People said that they'll vote for me," Kansky said with a smile.