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Board Sets Softball Referendum

The vote won’t be a doubleheader on primary day, Aug. 10. The Board of Selectmen decided to hold the referendum on building a girls’ softball field two days later, on Aug. 12.  The board polled 2-1, with First Selectman Ken Flatto preferring the earlier date, for the convenience of residents.

The town's registrars, Democrat Matt Waggner and Republican Roger Antuori, suggested the separate votes for legal and cost reasons. By state law, the referendum and primaries can’t occur in the same room. If both votes were held on the same day, voters would have to move from one room to another. That would require more staff and higher costs, not the mention the confusion it might cause at polling places.

Selectman James Walsh said the town will save about $2,600 by holding the votes on separate days. The cost of the referendum should come in at $12,000 on Aug. 12. The price of adding it to primary day would be $14,600.

Opponents of the $350,000 softball-field project on Hoyden's Lane had hoped for votes on the same day, because they thought it would lead to a higher turnout. Also they believe it still could be a money saver.

The registrars say it's not clear that a separate vote will lower the turnout. There are 15,000 unregistered votes in Fairfield. They can't join in the primary but are eligible for the referendum. They wouldn't have planned to come out on Aug. 10 but might be available on Aug. 12.

The selectmen had to set the vote for 21 to 28 days after the signatures requesting a referendum were counted, which was last Friday.

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