8:15 a.m. - Good morning everyone. It's a wet, dreary day but I am feeling pretty good about our Democratic chances today. If current voter registration numbers are any indication, Cheshire will surely do its part to support all our Democratic candidates across the board.
Heading into today's Election Day Registration at Town Hall, there are 5,342 registered Democrats in Cheshire, 4,925 Republicans, 8,588 unaffiliated voters and 244 “Other party” registered voters. As a result in the uptick of voter registration overall in recent months, a significant milestone has been reached with the total number of voters reaching the 19,000 plateau at 19,099 in all in Cheshire.
8:15 a.m. There was a steady stream of voters at Doolittle (Elementary School) from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.," said Drew Harris, a CDTC member, "There were 177 votes tallied when I vioted at 7:15."
Stay tuned and come back to this Live Blog post for Election Day updates in Cheshire throughout the day.
8:30 a.m. - Couple of special appearances today at Cheshire High. Senator Chris Murphy is expected to be at Cheshire High at 9:45 a.m. to vote and talk to voters. Jahana Hayes, 5th District Congressional candidate, is scheduled to be at Cheshire High at 2:50 p.m. to greet voters.
9 a.m. - If the voting tally from a live report at Norton School at 8:45 a.m. is any indication, Cheshire - perhaps the nation - is in store for a record turnout in a non-presidential election cycle. As of 8:45 a.m. 674 voters were tallied and the voting line was long. In comparison, in 2016 at 8:30 a.m. at Norton the voting tally was 761. Today's early voting number is close to Presidential numbers!
9:30 a.m - Early voting numbers have been impressive as well at Cheshire High. "The first 15 minutes our doors were open we had 51 votes," said a polling site official. "The voting has been steady all morning." As of 9:30 a.m. there were 881 votes tallied at Cheshire High, an increase from 505 at 7:45 a.m.
9:45 a.m. - 103rd State Representive Liz Linehan, Democratic endorsed candidate seeking re-election, made an appearance at Cheshire High greeting supporters and in-coming voters. She has been impressed with the early turnout.
"I just came from Southington and the lines there are all the way out to the parking lot," Linehan said. "It's been absolutely amazing, even more amazing to me is the steady stream of women voters I have seen.
"The motivation is here. People that stayed home in 2016 are coming out in 2018. I've received a lot of hugs and high fives and that has been encouraging too."
10:20 a.m. - After spending early Tuesday morning making appearances along the Connecticut shoreline, Senator Chris Murphy of Cheshire arrived at Cheshire High to vote and greet supporters, including a large group of Cheshire High Young Democrats. Murphy was cautiously optimistic about the large early turnout of voters.
"I've seen and heard about the large early voter turnout, the early voting numbers are big all around the country," Murphy said. "I've seen big early turnouts before and then it slows down a bit. Hopefully these long lines this morning will continue.
"Along the shoreline it was pretty much the same. The lines were long. This big turnout is similar to the presidential election two years ago. Hopefully we'll see these big numbers continue throughout the day."
11:15 a.m. - The steady stream of voters continues at Doolittle with 562 votes at 11:15
11:30 a.m. - The voting number keeps climbing at Norton Elementary School CDTC Chairperson Judy Villa reports 1,264 votes tallied. "There has been a steady stream of voters with big lines at Norton," Villa said.
11:30 a.m. - At Highland Elementary School, 830 votes were tallied.
12:30 p.m. - If you need a ride to get out and vote, Kathleen Maloney is offering a ride throughout the day. Call her at 203-213-9198 if you need a ride to get to your voting site.
12:45 p.m. - CDTC member Pat McKinley voted at Cheshire High and the voting number at 12:35 was at an impressive 1,670.
"I just voted at the high school and checked right in with no line or wait at all," she said. "Workers told me I'd timed it just right, as they've been mobbed. (CDTC) HQ is jammed with GOV callers."
1:30 p.m. - Steady stream of voters at Norton when I voted there. Voter count tabulated was 1,580 at that point.
1:45 p.m. - The voting has also been steady at Chapman Elementary School and was at 926. "That is a huge number for us," one polling official said. "The lines started forming early this morning."
2 p.m. - The voting tabulated at Highland was also impressive for a non-presidential election year with 1,053 votes in.
"It's lightened up the past few minutes but up until this point the voting crowd has been steady," a voting site official at Highland School said. "Over 1,000 at this point is huge, very good news.
"We expect it to pick up again with a big crowd expected around dinner time."
2:15 p.m. - CDTC Deputy Chairman Jim Jinks reports 1,082 voted at Highland School.
2:55 p.m. - 1,807 have voted at Norton School compared to 2,410 who voted at 4:40 p.m. at Norton in 2016.
3 p.m. - From Bill Tanner, CDTC treasurer: "I voted at Cheshire High at 8:40 a.m. and the total number of people voting at that time was 472. During the Primary I voted at Cheshire High at the same time (8:40) and the total number of people at that time was 39."
3 p.m. - Voting numbers are still steady with 2,052 tallied. This represents almost half the voters in District 1 (Cheshire High). There are 4,556 registered voters in District 1. Most voting sites in Cheshire had to add voting booths today to accommodate the number of voters.
"We normally have nine voting booths set up for an election day at Cheshire High, sometimes it's even a little less," a polling official said. "We added six more booths today for 15 and that helped the lines go quicker. We expect another big crowd around dinner time."
3:30 p.m. - 5th District U.S. Representative candidate Jahana Hayes appeared at Cheshire to greet and thank supporters and voters and to thank the Cheshire High Young Democrats for their hard work this election cycle. She is upbeat when it comes to the large voter turnout but believes more work needs to be done.
"I feel very excited because so many people are voting and that's amazing," Hayes said. "Everyone has been working so hard in our campaign.
"The large voter turnout speaks to people being energized in our democracy. They understand the need to be an active participant. I've seen that energy everywhere I've been today. I feel good right now, but there is still a lot of work to do between now and when the polls close."
6:30 p.m. - Numbers continue to rise at Cheshire High with 2,720 voters tallied representing over 50 percent of voters turning out in District 1. As mentioned above, there are 4,556 voters registered in District 1.
6:45 p.m. - Voters continue to come out in impressive numbers at Highland School with 1,608 coming out so far and counting. That represents an additional 555 voters since 2 p.m. when the count was at 1,053.
7 p.m. - Voting at Dodd Middle School isn't usually on the huge side but that has changed today. With an hour to go for voting there is nearly 65 percent voter turnout with 888 votes tallied. As a comparison, there was just over 600 total for the recent Primary Day election.
7:15 p.m. - The voter turnout continues to impress polling officials at Norton School (District 4) with 2,589 votes registered on the tabulator machine. "This is a huge number for Norton, especially in a non-presidential election," one polling official said. "I've been doing this for many years and today I've been seeing a lot of new faces voting. That is encouraging."
Dan Nowak is chairman of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee's Communication Relations/IT Committee, a volunteer position. He is a Cheshire Parks and Recreation Commissioner and has been a sportswriter at the New Haven Register for 36 years.