Monday, May 27, 2024

Ask the Registrar- Stratford, CT

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? Getting paid to be a poll worker?
? Automatic Absentee Ballot?
? Preview your Nov. 7 ballot?

Your place for answers about voting and local elections in Stratford.

By Registrar of Voters James Simon (D)

Q: Do you still need poll workers for this November’s election?

A: We hire 110+ people for paid positions at the 10 polling stations, and we think we have enough coverage for the November 7th municipal election. But if interested, please do send your contact information now to registrars@townofstratford.com .   We are already thinking about the April 2nd, 2024 presidential primary in Connecticut where, due to the start of Early Voting, we will need considerably more paid workers than in the past.

A reminder that in the November 7th election, you will be choosing among candidates for Town Council, Board of Education, the land use boards (Planning Commission, Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals), and Constable.  The mayor’s office is NOT on the ballot until 2025.

Q: Why can’t I get an Absentee Ballot mailed to me automatically for every election?

A: You can. The Town Clerk manages ABs, and she maintains a Permanent Absentee Ballot list.  If you qualify, contact the Town Clerk:  spawluk@townofstratford.com; (203) 385-4020

Q: Is it true that you kick me off the voting list if I don’t vote often enough?

A: State law mandates that a voter be switched from Active to Inactive status if they fail to vote for four consecutive years and do not respond when we send them a letter. Inactive voters can vote if they go to their polling place and fill out a New Voter Registration application. If an Inactive voter changes their party, address, name, or modifies their registration in any other way, it reinstates their Active status.

If four additional years pass without the voter casting a vote, the voter is changed to Off status.

Q: Can I see ahead of time what the ballot will look like so I know what I am doing November 7th?

A: Go to 2023 Sample Ballots – Town of Stratford, CT (stratfordct.gov)  and examine the ballot for your district; they are different in each of the 10 districts. For a list of districts and school voting locations, go to https://www.stratfordct.gov/…/39846/39935/123686.aspx

The sample ballots also are available for public viewing outside our office, Room 117, Town Hall, 2725 Main St.

Q: How can I see if my voting location was changed due to redistricting?

A: Look yourself up: Voter Registration Lookup (ct.gov)  Most Stratford residents stayed in the same district, but 1,754 of the 35,000 voters were moved to another district this year.

Q: What happens to our printed ballots after Election Day?

A: State law mandates we have to hold completed ballots for a specified period of time, often 22 months. Then we can apply for permission to dispose of completed ballots; the Town Clerk, Mayor, and State Library all have to sign off before we are allowed to dispose of them.

Q: Why do you keep using those golf pencils to mark a ballot?

A: Actually, we are switching back to dark ink marking pens this November. It was mandated by the company that prints the ballots.

Q: “How dare you change my political party without my permission?”

A: We often get one or two such complaints a week in the Registrar’s office from people saying their political party had been changed without their approval. We always ask: Have you been to the state Department of Motor Vehicles recently?

Nationwide, more people register to vote at a DMV than through any other method. But in Connecticut during a DMV visit, if you make a change (such as updating your voting address) and if you leave the party line blank, you will be changed from your preferred party to “unaffiliated.”

Registrars met online recently with a top DMV official to try to reverse the policy:  we argued your party should stay the same unless you consciously seek to change it. We were told DMV is “working on it.”

Again, if you are registered to vote and none of your information has changed, you do NOT have to re-register at DMH or elsewhere. To check your current information for accuracy, go to: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx

More Questions? Send them to Stratford Registrar James Simon; jsimon@townofstratford.com.

This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford. (Vol. 3, No. 10; October 2023)

James Simon
Registrar of Voters (D)
Town of Stratford
2725 Main St.
Stratford CT 06615
203 385 4049
jsimon@townofstratford.com

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