Your place to get Questions Answered about Voting and Local Elections in Stratford CT
By James Simon
Q: I heard a few people refused to wear masks when entering a polling place in Stratford last November. Were they allowed to vote?
Stratford had a supply of free masks at every polling location, available to any voter who needed one. If a voter refused to wear one, they were still allowed to vote; the Secretary of State’s office ruled a local resident could not be kept out of a polling location despite the governor’s executive order mandating masks. Republican Registrar Lou DeCilio estimated two or three people in Stratford may have voted without masks.
Q: What’s the difference between being an Independent voter and an Unaffiliated voter?
In Connecticut, there is an official Independent Party. So if you specify you are an Independent when you register to vote, that means you want to be listed as a member of the Independent Party. Unaffiliated means you do not identify with any of the major parties (Democrat, Republican) or minor parties (which also include the Working Families Party and the Green Party).
Q: I read that in Georgia, it is now illegal to even give a bottle of water to a person standing in line on a hot day. What about Stratford?
In Stratford and throughout Connecticut, you cannot approach a voter – for whatever reason — within 75 feet of a polling place. In Georgia, where voters sometimes have to wait two hours in line, a new law prohibits anyone from approaching a voter within 150 feet of a poll. In addition, it also prevents any type of assistance “within 25 feet of any voter standing in line to vote at any polling place.”
Q: I don’t have a driver’s license or any picture ID. Does that mean I can’t vote?
In Connecticut, you must present some form of pre-printed identification, either when you first register or when you show up to vote. We have accepted a pre-printed bank statement or utility bill with the name and address specified.
Q: Can homeless people vote?
Yes. Homeless people have the same right to vote as any citizen. It is a challenge for voting officials to get a formal identification from a homeless person or even decide in which town district they should vote. The Secretary of State’s office notes that “courts have said that an individual is a resident of a town if they have some nexus to that particular town, and there is an intention to return to the town when absent from it. This could be some town that (they) have spent time in, slept in, and intend to go back to even if (they) are not presently there.”
More Questions? Please send them to Registrar Jim Simon; firstname.lastname@example.org. This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford. (Vol. 1, No. 4; April 2021)