Poll workers were mostly lonely Tuesday as voters turned out in low numbers across the region for the Republican presidential primary.
Just after 2 p.m. in Waterford, Joan Bendfeldt and Julie Watson Jones were working a table at the town's District 1 polling station inside the Town Hall auditorium.
They arrived for the day's work just after 5 a.m., but a low turnout made it an uneventful day. Jones said about 10 percent of the district's 500 registered Republicans had voted in the first nine hours the polls were open.
"It's coming in spurts, but it's not a lot of people," said Bendfeldt, who said she has worked at the polls for more than 25 years. "I don't think it was advertised that well. Maybe they're saving the big money for November."
Av Harris, spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said he was not expecting a high voter turnout for the primary due to the lack of competitiveness in the race. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the clear favorite.
Harris said that in the last 30 years, the highest turnout in a Connecticut Republican presidential primary had reached only around 40 percent.
As of 4 p.m., only 126 Ledyard residents had cast their votes but Nancy Lozier, the town's registrar of voters, said the turnout was "better than we all anticipated, I think."
Voter turnout had been steady throughout the day with no real morning or midday rush to the polls, she said.
Kristen Venditti, the moderator at the Groton Town Hall Annex, thought there was "more controversy" in the presidential primary four years ago, which made voters enthusiastic about casting their ballots.
Voter Dave Tura said he didn't see any candidate or platform that got him excited this year.
"I was even a political science major but I can't seem to get excited about this," he said. "It's a thin selection, but Romney seems to be the default choice."
At the Stonington Borough firehouse, which serves as the first district polling place, the truck bays where the voting was held were empty late Tuesday afternoon, with the exception of five poll workers. Late afternoon is typically a popular time to vote in most contests.
Although the polls opened at 6 a.m., it wasn't until 90 minutes later that the first voter showed up to cast a ballot, Moderator Gus Pribnow said. By 5 p.m., another 48 had tricked in. There are 495 registered Republicans in the first district.
"The major thing is, I just don't think many people knew about the primary," he said.
Betty Schmidt has been an election worker for about 35 years in Norwich. On Tuesday evening, she declared this Republican presidential primary to be one of the slowest days at the polls she ever experienced.
"The race is over," Schmidt said.
By 5 p.m., the polling place at Kelly Middle School had seen 48 voters. Citywide by 5 p.m., 184 of the city's 2,765 registered Republicans had cast ballots — a 6.5 percent turnout. Republican Registrar Dianne Slopak said Kelly was one of the busiest of the city's five polling places.
By the close of polls, Norwich nearly had reached the 10 percent goal Slopak had hoped for, with 261 voters having cast ballots during the long, slow primary — a 9.4 percent turnout.