Republican registrar of voters will retire after nearly 20 years

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, Wilton resident Tina Gardner will say good-bye to a position she’s held for nearly 20 years — Wilton’s Republican registrar of voters — and hello to retirement.

While she won’t miss working from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Election Day, Gardner said, she will miss the people she’s had the chance to work with.

“I’ve been very lucky to have worked with two wonderful registrars during my time here,” said Gardner.

Gardner became registrar in 1998 and worked alongside Democratic Registrar Peggy Reeves. When Reeves left in 2008 to become a state representative, Carole Young-Kleinfeld became the town’s new Democratic registrar, and she and Gardner have worked together since.

“I’ve really enjoyed the people and I was very lucky to work with some wonderful people who were committed to working as a team to get the job done,” said Gardner.

Gardner said it’s “very important” to have two registrars who can work together.

In Wilton, she said, “we have one goal, and that’s to make sure we have good elections and that we’re serving the community in a non-partisan manner.”

During retirement, Gardner said, she plans to stay involved in various local organizations, including the Wilton League of Women Voters and the Wilton unit of the Salvation Army, which she chairs.

“I’ve been a member of the Wilton League of Women Voters for many years, and I’m on their steering committee,” said Gardner, who has also worked with the Connecticut League of Women Voters for about a year and a half and currently serves as a voter registration specialist on its board.

“I’ve also had a long-term relationship as the Wilton unit of the Salvation Army chairperson,” said Gardner, who hopes to also volunteer at the Wilton Library.

Gardner said there are other things she would like to do once she retires, but first, she said, “I just need some time to decompress” — especially after the recent election season.

For the last three or four months, Gardner said, she and Young-Kleinfeld have been busy working full-time — “even on Saturdays before the election” — and she looks forward to unwinding come Jan. 3.

Gardner said she looks forward to spending more time with family in the area and possibly doing some traveling with her husband, Chris. But whatever they decide to do in retirement, she said, “we’re going to take it one day at a time.”