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Ask the Registrar – Stratford, CT

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Your place for answers about voting and local elections in Stratford

By Registrar of Voters James Simon (D)
April 2024

Q. With the April 2 presidential primary election behind us, what are the next big election events in Stratford and all of Connecticut?

A: The Democratic and Republican town committees will meet the week of May 21 and endorse candidates for the state Legislature and for Registrars of Voters. Each party also will hold multi-town meetings or state conventions to endorse candidates for any legislative seats that cover more than one town, plus candidates for the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.

Potential candidates who do not get a party endorsement can gather petition signatures and try to force a party primary election on August 13. 

Q:  I see there is a recount of votes in the April 2 primary in Stratford, but only in District 3 (Stratford Academy/Johnson House). Why a recount; was there a potential error?

A.  The Secretary of State orders a recount in 5% of the polling places in Connecticut after every election, as a way of measuring the accuracy of the voting tabulators and the overall balloting system.  Stratford, with its 10 polling locations, always seems to be picked. This year we were again selected, but only for District 3.

The Registrars’ office will hold the recount Monday, April 29, at 9 a.m., in the Town Council chamber. The recount is open to public viewing.  

Q: You sent me a letter, asking if I still lived in my Stratford house. I have lived there for 20 years! Why did I get the letter?

A: At the start of each year, Stratford and all towns comply with state law which requires a canvass of registered voters to make sure they are still eligible to cast a ballot. We compare our voting rolls to U.S. Postal Service records of people who changed their mailing address, either to leave Stratford or to move to Stratford. We also work with a multi-state group called ERIC to share information on voters who have moved in or out of Connecticut.  We also get an updated list of registered voters who are presumed to have passed away.

We treat the information as a starting point in our effort to keep the voting rolls up to date. If we are told a local voter has moved out of town, we first send a letter to the person’s last known Stratford address, asking if they still live there. (You presumably received such a letter.)  If the Post Office returns it to us, saying “not deliverable,” we reclassify any voter at the address as “Inactive”; if four years go by without any activity, we take them off our voting rolls.

In all, we make 9,000 changes a year involving our 34,000 registered voters. For more information, see our most recent Annual Report: 2023_ann_report_simon.docx.pdf (core-docs.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com)

Q.  I used Early Voting (EV) to cast a ballot in the April 2 presidential primary, and I liked the setup at the Baldwin Center. Is it here to stay?

A.  The Legislature has approved rules to implement EV for all elections. There is likely to be a state Senate primary election among Democrats in parts of Stratford on August 13, 2024, and there would automatically be seven days of Early Voting for such a primary. And there will be a mandated 14 days of Early Voting preceding the November 5th presidential election, when voters also will choose candidates for U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, the state legislature and Registrar of Voters. 

All EV will be held at the Baldwin Center. For all elections, you still can vote via Absentee Ballot or at the 10 regular polling places on Election Day

Q. Does Early Voting increase turnout? What does it cost the town?

A: Connecticut’s initial experience with EV paralleled that of 46 other states that use it: Early Voting provides greater convenience to voters, but there is no evidence of increased overall turnout.

In terms of cost, the Legislature gave each Connecticut town a flat $10,500 to help pay for the implementation of EV in 2024. We estimate EV cost Stratford an extra $14,000 just for the April 2 primary alone, plus a projected $46,000 more for the November election, plus even more for any needed August 13 primary election.

Given the 1,293 Stratford residents who cast an Early Voting ballot in April, that works out to a cost for the town of $10.83 for each EV ballot cast.

MORE QUESTIONS? SEND THEM TO STRATFORD REGISTRAR JAMES SIMON; [email protected]

This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford. (Vol. 4, No. 4; April 2024)

James Simon   

Registrar of Voters (D)   

Town of Stratford2725 Main St.   

Stratford CT 06615   

203 385 4049[email protected]   

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