Impressive showing on Election Day
Bridgewater leads the way as area voters turn out in large numbers at the polls
The Shepaug Valley towns of Bridgewater, Washington and Roxbury did themselves proud, as they always do on Election Day, with strong voter turnout on Nov. 6.
Nearly 95 percent of Bridgewater's registered voters cast ballots in the presidential election, which ranked the town first in the state in voter turnout and earned it a second state Democracy Cup in four years.
That is an impressive showing and certainly justifies First Selectman Bill Stuart's description of Bridgewater as "a very patriotic town."
Bridgewater's neighboring towns of Washington and Roxbury also displayed strong voter participation, with Washington ranking fourth in Connecticut with more than 88 percent turnout and Roxbury having the eighth best showing at nearly 86 percent.
Those three towns, which comprise the Region 12 school district, have now won the Democracy Cup six times in the past dozen years, as Washington earned the crown in 2001, 2003 and 2004 and Roxbury had the best turnout in the state in 2010.
We applaud the voters in those three towns for their ongoing recognition of the precious right to vote and for their consistently strong turnout at the polls.
We also take our hats off to the voters in Ridgefield, whose nearly 90 percent turnout ranked the town third in Connecticut.
In fact, most of the municipalities in this part of the state voted in heavy numbers.
Kent, Newtown, Warren and Brookfield all boasted voter turnout percentages in the mid-80s, while Southbury and Bethel both came in around 80 percent.
Danbury, meanwhile, ranked first in the state among cities, with its 79 percent turnout far outdistancing municipalities like Bridgeport (52 percent), Waterbury (56 percent) and New London (58 percent).
In the entire area, only two towns -- New Milford at 70 percent and Sherman at 67 percent -- fell below the state average turnout of 74 percent, according to statistics released by the Connecticut Secretary of the State's office.
The New Milford and Sherman turnouts aren't terrible, but they are disappointing in such an important election year and in towns that pride themselves on active community involvement.
Overall, though, leaders and residents of towns in this part of Connecticut can justifiably be proud of their voter participation, especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which struck just a week before the election and left tens of thousands without power and many with property damage.
We hope the voters in Bridgewater, Washington, Roxbury and Ridgefield -- and most of the other towns in the area -- will continue to turn out in large numbers in future elections.
We hope, too, that the impressive participation figures of those high-ranked municipalities will serve as an inspiration to voters in communities with lower turnouts this year to step it up in the coming years.
And we hope that such outstanding voter turnout at the polls on Nov. 6 will spur greater public participation in other aspects of the democratic process -- like local referendums, primaries, town meetings and public hearings.
The sanctity of the right to vote cannot be exaggerated.
Countless Americans over the decades have given up their lives to help preserve that right, and we are hopeful that voters in this part of the state -- as well as across the country -- will cherish and take advantage of that privilege and responsibility in increasing numbers in the future.