NORWALK, Conn. Debra Tanno and Melissa Mills had no sooner joked about how fatigued they were Tuesday when Karen Lyons Doyle showed up with a top hat and a bowl of candy to give them an energetic jolt.
"I bring treats and I click my feet," said Doyle. The Republican registrar for the city of Norwalk did a tap dance in the gymnasium at Fox Run Elementary School to thank the poll workers there.
It was a long day for everyone.
Tanno and Mills, "challengers" at the District E poll, were scheduled to work from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., greeting people at the door and challenging anyone who had brought in political pamphlets - which is illegal. "I'm so busy I haven't had time to sleep all day," Tanno said.
"We could fall asleep on the table," Mills said, with a laugh.
Outside, tired politicians greeted voters. David McCarthy, a Republican running for Common Council in District E, said he had slept just 2 ½ hours before getting up at 4:30 a.m. to head to the school. Caitlin Romaniello was there to greet people for her father, Democratic Common Council candidate John Igneri, and said she was tired at 2 p.m. Justin Garfunkel had gotten there at 10 a.m. to support of his father, Andy, the Democratic candidate for mayor.
Barbara Lysobey, moderator at Brookside Elementary School, said she didn't mind the number of hours she was putting in but the starting time was tough. "If it started at 10 it wouldn't bother me," she said. Geoff Kieburtz, Republican candidate for the Board of Education, said he had gotten there at 5:50 a.m. but felt great at 3 p.m. "It's a beautiful day," he said. "Considering we've had a hurricane and a snowstorm already this is pretty good."
"This is great," said Republican David Baldwin. "This is what America is all about."
Lyons said she always visits every poll and does a tap dance. Her husband doesn't like her tap shoes so she hides them in the office and brings them out once a year.
Tanno recommended the long hours. "If you're retired you need to be involved in this," she said. "You need to see what's going on."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.