New Canaan to see two local competitive races, fewer registered voters

New Canaan residents voice their choices for town leaders on Election Day.

New Canaan residents voice their choices for town leaders on Election Day.

Grace Duffield / Hearst Connecticut Media

NEW CANAAN — Residents only need to drop off their recyclables at the transfer station to be reminded a local election is rapidly approaching on Nov. 2. School board candidates, in particular, have been handing out their voter materials.

The Board of Education is the one major contested race with nine candidates running for six seats for the nine-person board. Three Republicans and five Democrats are competing for the five open four-year seats, and one candidate from each party is running for the two-year seat.

Incumbents school board members Dionna Carlson, Sheri West and Pat O’Connell are not running. Chairman Katrina Parkhill and Secretary Jennifer Richardson lost their seats at the Republican caucus earlier this year. Penny Rashin is running for her own seat.

The Republican caucus chose Dan Bennett, Julie Toal and Philip Hogan for the school board for the four-year term seats and Hugo Alves for the two-year seat.

The six Democratic candidates include Janet Leung Fonss, Jennifer Hladlick, Erica Shwedel, Fatou Niang and incumbent Penny Rashin and for the four-year term. Karen Willet was endorsed for the two-year term.

Separately, the board is considering options to fill Carl Gardiner’s seat after Parkhill announced recently he had left. His seat will be filled in the 2023 election, the chairman said.

To be on the ballot next month, Gardiner’s replacement would have had to petitioned to be a candidate by Sept. 1, according to Town Clerk Claudia Weber, but a petition was not filed in time.

Most other races are uncontested, including Town Clerk Claudia Weber, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, Selectman Kathleen Corbet and Teasurer Andrew Brooks.

There are eight candidates running for seven constable seats. Republicans are putting forward Arvind Bajaj, Jill Guzzetti, Mary Anne Mercogliaino and Gregory Pepe. The Democrates have endorsed Edward Vollmer, Nicholas Mitrakis, Jordan Cerbone and Susan Edmands.

The Town Council has six candidates for six seats. Incumbents Sven Englund, Liz Donovan, Chairman John Engel and Secretary Rich Townsend are stepping down and incumbents Penny Young and Tom Butterworth are seeking their present seats. The newcomers chosen at the Republican caucus are Luke Kaufman and Kimberly Norton and the Democrats endorsed Rita Bettino and Hilary Ormond.

Registration

Even though the overall population of the town has had an uptick by 4.5 percent in the last decade, there are 2.5 percent fewer registered voters as of Oct. 1 compared to Oct. 5 of last year. The town’s population increased by 884 residents according to the 2020 census, from 19,738 to 20,622, since 2010.

This year, there were 13,798 registered voters on Oct.1 as opposed to 14,159 on Oct. 5, 2020, down 361.

Last year there were 5,688 Republicans, or 40.2 percent of the electorate, 3,601 Democrats or 25.4 percent, 4,675 unaffiliated or 33.1 percent and 195 other, or 1.4 percent.

There are now 5,274 registered republicans, or 38.2 percent, of electorate, 3,633 Democrats, or 26.3 percent, 4,725 unaffiliated, or 34.2 percent, and 166 other, or 1.2 percent.

Residents can register to vote on Election Day at Town Hall, or, if by mail, it should be received by Oct. 26. Voters need to provide proof of identity and residency in order to register.