Hundreds and hundreds of ballots arrived early: some were delivered by mail, others were dropped off at Town Hall, and literally thousands more ballots were cast in person at the Center Building, when voters turned out on Election Day. All told, more than 5,900 ballots – from 87.9 percent of the town’s registered voters – were cast before the polls closed at 8:00 p.m.
And after all those ballots were counted it was confirmed: Woodbridge voters generated a plurality for each candidate running on the Democratic slate, thereby contributing to winning campaigns for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Rosa DeLauro, Jorge Cabrera, Mary Welander, and James Maroney.
For me, the prospect of having these hard-working public servants advocating on behalf of Woodbridge and all its residents – in Hartford, Washington, and on the world stage – is positively inspiring.
All credit for the safe, smooth, and reliable Election Day operation, through which each ballot was counted – and accounted for – is due to the hard work and conscientious efforts of Town Clerk Stephanie Ciarleglio and her staff, Registrars of Voters Pennell Hamilton and Anna Dickerson and their staff, other town employees in the police, building, and public works departments, and volunteer firefighters and election workers.
All these people have one thing in common: a commitment to being helpful, and to making government services and procedures work as intended. Those who would discredit or dismantle government offer no substitute, no alternative, and no other framework for continuation of these services, upon which so many rely and so much depends.
It’s easy for me to envision comparable crews at polling sites across the country that day, Republicans and Democrats alike, sharing that same commitment to a complete and accurate count, no matter the results, simply because it’s the right thing to do, and because it’s how they honor and follow through on what they said they would do.
With elections now decided, the result of extraordinary efforts and participation both in Woodbridge and nationwide, the rest of government’s essential work resumes, with abundant opportunity for people to stay involved.
In Woodbridge, examples of selfless dedication to the deliberative process of government operations are evident every week. For example, residents who voluntarily serve on the boards and commissions that advise town departments make budget and policy decisions year ‘round; the consequences of those decisions impact every town resident.
Each board and commission is set up for a two-year term, but mid-term vacancies are filled with some frequency. Woodbridge residents are invited to follow an easy path to involvement by sending an expression of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling Town Hall.
In my opinion, the Democratic candidates on the ballot in Woodbridge this year were elected in part because of their record of prior government service, and their demonstrated, documented commitment to advance the best interests of the community – and constituents – through a deliberative, collaborative process. That process is most effective with a comparable measure of voter engagement after Election Day. The collective decision to put these people in office only starts the cycle: there is now the opportunity – some would say responsibility – to continue participating throughout their respective terms.
Laurence Grotheer is the current chairman of the Woodbridge Democratic Town Committee. His experience includes more than 20 years in state and municipal government working professionally, in appointed positions, and in elected office.