A Pox on Both Parties?

An August primary … and a November election?
Get ready for Early Voting?

Ask the Registrar

Your place to get questions answered about voting and local elections in Stratford
By James Simon
Democratic Registrar

Q: I read that more people are registering as Unaffiliated because they are unhappy with both major political parties. How about in Stratford?

I looked at town residents who registered to vote between Jan. 1, 2022 and April 19, 2022. Aside from minor parties, 39.5% chose to register as Democrats, 12.5% as Republicans, and 47.9% as Unaffiliated. Those percentages are generally consistent with past party breakdowns in town.

I often hear complaints that the system is rigged in favor of the two major political parties. In Connecticut, we do see some voters registering with the Green Party and Working Families Party … Communist Party USA and Veterans Party of America … Compassionate Conservatives and Labor and Libertarian parties. And of course – I’m not making this up – the Satanist Party.

But not in big numbers.

Q: The Democrats and Republicans are getting ready for their state conventions May 6-7 to pick candidates for the November election. So will there have to also be a primary election?

Primary elections are likely on August 9th. At their conventions, the two major parties will endorse candidates for the Legislature and for state-level offices like Governor. The current state Treasurer, Comptroller, and Secretary of State are not running for reelection, prompting increased interest in those positions. Any candidate who does not win their party’s nomination can collect signatures and try to force a primary in August.

The November 8th ballot also will include the election for U.S. Senate (incumbent Democrat Richard Blumenthal is seeking another term) and town Judge of Probate.

Q: Most states allow Early Voting in elections. Why doesn’t Connecticut?

You will soon have a say in the issue. The November 2022 ballot will include a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would allow the Legislature to introduce early in-person voting. Thirty-nine other states already allow it.

The proposal does not specify any details such as how many days — or weeks — such early voting would be allowed; it leaves that up to the Legislature to decide.

Q: Didn’t Connecticut residents already reject Early Voting?

Connecticut residents in 2014 voted 52%-48% against a constitutional amendment that would have authorized the state legislature to 1) allow early voting in the state, and 2) remove the current restrictions on absentee voting.

The 2022 question would authorize in-person early voting, but not an expansion of absentee voting; the absentee voting issue may be on the 2024 ballot.

At a recent conference of the Connecticut Registrars of Voters, many said they worried about the logistics of early voting. Would a bigger budget be needed to staff the polls for multiple days? Others noted that most states already allow such voting and it has been a major success in states like Oregon and Colorado, which have worked out many of the logistical issues.

Q: Are those white Ballot Drop Boxes going to be used again for absentee ballots?

The Secretary of State’s office sent a memo to Town Clerks and Registrars this week, detailing how the boxes are to be placed and made accessible. The state legislature passed a law mandating that the boxes be made permanent for use in all primaries, general elections, and referenda.

More Questions? Please send them to registrar Jim Simon: jsimon@townofstratford.com. This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford. (Vol. 2, No. 4; April 2022)

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