Updated:Nov. 10, 2012, 1: 58 p.m.
By Ryan Grace and Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writers
The country has spoken. The state has spoken. The city of Hartford has spoken.
Hoping to bring the American Dream closer to an American reality, voters re-elected President Barack Obama on Tuesday for four more years to complete what he started: bolstering healthcare reform, bringing the war dollars home, ensuring college affordability, and improving the economy.
Obama defeated former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by nearly 100 electoral college votes, 332 to 206. The president attained 50.4 percent of the popular vote and won seven of the nine “swing” states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania. Romney received 48.1 percent of the popular vote.
For more than 51 percent of the American electorate, Tuesday was about moving the country forward. Here in Connecticut, a majority of voters echoed that sentiment.
“I believe Obama is not finished,” said Hartford resident Radames Vasquez as he walked out of the polling booth on Pavilion Street on Tuesday.
Hartford City Councilman Kyle Anderson “hopes and prays” that Obama “can complete his goals for moving this nation forward.”
Samuel C. Hamilton, executive director and CEO of Hartford Economic Development Corporation, concurred.
“I am hopeful that the things Hartford has been trying to put into place will become realities,” Hamilton said. “Education and jobs are at the top of Hartford’s agenda, as well as, the Obama Administration’s agenda. This holds well for the city of Hartford.”
In a “thank you” e-mail that President Obama sent out to the voters who supported him he said, “I want you to know that this wasn’t fate, and it wasn’t an accident. You made this happen.” And Hartford helped in delivering that victory, which seemed inevitable to Hartford City Councilman David MacDonald.
That’s because “Obama always led; and even though Romney closed the gap he never took the lead in any battleground state,” McDonald said.
According to the unofficial city of Hartford candidate votes, of the 34,037 men and women who voted on Tuesday, Obama took home 93 percent of the popular votes, defeating Romney, 31,735 to 2,138.
Statewide, Connecticut gave Obama a 51 to 48 win over Romney. Early reports put overall voter turnout in the state at 79 percent.
Connecticut has gained 202,000 new voters since January — and nearly 100,000 over the last several weeks, according to Secretary of State Denise Merrill.
The total number of active registered voters is about 2.1 million. Of that amount, there are 872,243 unaffiliated voters, 767,693 Democrats and 430,439 Republicans.
In a statement released after the elections, Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. said: “Today we saw voters turn out in near record numbers and, while I am not satisfied with all of the results, I believe that speaks to the enduring strength of our American democracy.”
According to the Hartford Registrar of Voters, there was 65.14 percent of eligible voters participated in the 2012 presidential election. This was a record turnout. Voters stood in line at City Hall for three hours after polls closed at 8 p.m. Voter turnout for Hartford exceeded the 2008 presidential election turnout. Residents lined city hall’s on the first floor and in the basement, some registering to vote on site.
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra responded to the long line on his Facebook page, saying:
“After a night to digest and analyze what happened yesterday and last night, I am buoyed by joy and excitement. While I am thrilled that President Barack Obama and VP Biden were re-elected, Chris Murphy is headed to the U.S. Senate and Elizabeth Esty to Congress, what impressed me the most was the patience and understanding that thousands of Hartford residents displayed waiting to vote.”
He urged residents to increase civic participation beyond voting by volunteering to serve on city boards and commissions.
“I hope that those who sacrificed hours to wait in line will begin to pay closer attention to local government. It is here, in the rooms and public meeting spaces of City Hall, where important decisions are made that directly impact you, your neighbors and friends.”
Additional reporting by Fran Wilson, Ann-Marie Mesquita.