Thursday, April 25, 2024

Ask the Registrar – Stratford, CT

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Your place for answers about voting and local elections in Stratford

This Month’s Topics:

Getting HS students interested in voting?

Stratford voter registration vs other towns?

What if I vote early, then die before Election Day?

By Registrar Of Voters James Simon (D)

Q. Any final decision on Early Voting for 2023?
A: Voters in Stratford and throughout Connecticut will be able to vote early in the November 2023 election and in all elections thereafter. Legislators are still deciding whether there should be 10, 14 or 18 days where you can both register and/or vote early. There will not be EV (Early Voting) in any primary election in September 2023.

If the state’s decision is to mandate 10 days of polling, you might imagine being able to go to one central location (maybe the Baldwin Center) and cast a ballot any day between Friday October 27th and Sunday Nov. 5th. Note that includes two weekends, which is important to legislators.

The state is expected to mandate polling hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for two expanded days when the hours would be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Q. With EV, would I fill out a ballot and stick it in the tabulator, like usual?
A: No, the approach is more likely to be like Absentee Balloting, where you fill out a ballot with a bar code, stick it in a second envelope for privacy, and then place it in a receptacle where it will be held and opened on Election Day.

Q. What if you submit a ballot in Early Voting, then die before Election Day?
A. Under state law, the ballot is not officially “cast” until Election Day, and we would use the bar code to find your ballot and nullify it.

Q. Is the mandate of the Registrar’s Office to encourage voting (early or otherwise) or to encourage registering to vote? If the latter, what registration outreach might be planned by the Registrar? And if the answer to my first question is “both” then with respect I will repeat my second question.”
A: The primary responsibility of the ROV office is to administer all public elections in town. A paramount concern is to keep the voting rolls up to date and prevent anyone from voting who is not eligible.

Our office does encourage both voter registration and casting a ballot on Election Day. A big focus of our registration effort is centered on the high schools. We try to interact with every student three times: by conducting a workshop in every SHS and BHS Civics class in Junior year, then conducting Senior Class Elections using our professional voting machines, and then meeting again with all seniors as they prepare to graduate and getting hundreds of them to register to vote (if they are of age).
In addition, we hired 22 of the most promising students last year for paid poll worker positions.

Q. Doesn’t everybody do this? Is Stratford any different?
A: We recently surveyed the 20 largest municipalities in Connecticut. (Stratford is 17th largest). We found 66.49% of our eligible residents are registered to vote – the second highest percentage in the study (and higher than towns like Greenwich, Westport and West Hartford, which have higher socio-economic-status that is associated with increased voting activity).

If you take our 35,000 registered voters and add in residents who are too young to vote and convicted felons who are not able to vote, the total of town residents who are registered hits the 80%+ mark. We can always do better, but if Stratford has a problem, it may be more election turnout than election registration.

We are always eager to talk about voting to civics groups and set up a Voter Registration table at town events. The Registrars conducted an interactive discussion recently on Early Voting at the Stratford Library and attracted 25+ people. Contact us at Registrars@TownofStratford.com

Q. I always wanted to be a paid poll worker. Is this a good time to sign up?
A. YES! Please do contact us at Registrars@TownofStratford.com . We expect that most of our regular 110 paid poll workers have full-time jobs and will not be able to fill the new Early Voting shifts. So we will be looking for additional people to train, employ, and pay.

QUESTIONS? PLEASE SEND THEM TO STRATFORD REGISTRAR JAMES SIMON; jsimon@townofstratford.com. This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford.

• To register to vote or change your name, address and/or party affiliation: https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR

• Our ROV website for additional information: http://www.townofstratford.com/content/39832/39846/39935/default.aspx

• Want more information on Stratford elections? Search for the FB page Ask the Registrar-Stratford and “like” it

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