Early voting in Connecticut? Early lawn signs? Penalty for not voting?

Ask The Registrar

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

By Registrar of Voters James Simon (D)

Q. I read there is a ballot question in November that would allow early voting in Connecticut, as they have in so many other states. How early? How would it work?

46 of the 50 states allow in-person voting before Election Day. If the question is approved, the Legislature would then decide on the details. One system used in some states calls for a single, central polling location that is open for several days before the official election date. If approved, a revised system might be in place in Connecticut for the November 2024 presidential election.

In addition to the ballot question, voters in November will decide on candidates for Governor, all the state constitutional offices like Secretary of State, U.S. Senate, state legislature, and the town’s Judge of Probate.

Q. Why are the political lawn signs up so early this year in Stratford?

Stratford has non-binding guidelines — not a law – that limits such signs to 30 days before an election. This year, candidates from both parties had lawn signs up by Labor Day, which is more than 60 days out.

Political scientists are skeptical that the signs make much of a difference in the outcome of an election. But, candidates and their campaign workers love the increased visibility the signs can bring, and the signs can do a good job of alerting voters about a low-profile primary or general election.

Q. I changed my last name after getting married, and now I am afraid I am registered to vote under two names. What should I do?

You can call our office (number below) or check for yourself at https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx?fbclid=IwAR1yUL06V2ci3TmhQDbOL-b0tv4nOnowc38XOINlE6L33A3aJ5ifObNeX3k

We routinely discover and remove dozens of maiden names, avoiding duplication.

It’s not against the law to be registered twice; it’s only a crime if you try to vote twice in the same election. But we try to keep records as up to date as possible.

Q. You sent me a letter saying you changed my street address. Why? I didn’t tell you to change it.

More than a dozen Stratford registered voters signed petitions recently to help minor party candidates get on the ballot, and the voters provided a different address than their legal voting address. By doing so, they legally changed their voting address. After making the change, we do send out a letter and ask the voter to contact us if there is any problem with the new address.

In most cases, people have moved across town and forgotten to tell us. It can make a big difference if you have moved to a new neighborhood with a different polling place, different Town Council member, or different state legislator.

Q. What happens if I don’t vote?

That is your choice. But under state law, we reclassify you from being an Active voter to Inactive if you fail to vote in two consecutive federal elections (over four years). You would then have to fill out a form at your polling place to reactivate yourself if you want to cast a ballot.

After eight years of no voting, you are moved to “Off” status; you can reregister at any time.

More Questions? Please Send Them To Registrar Jim Simon; jsimon@townofstratford.com. Telephone contact: 203-385-4049

This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford.
• Register to Vote; change your name, address and/or Party affiliation: https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR
• Look up and see if you are already registered: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx?fbclid=IwAR1yUL06V2ci3TmhQDbOL-b0tv4nOnowc38XOINlE6L33A3aJ5ifObNeX3k
• Our ROV website for additional information: http://www.townofstratford.com/content/39832/39846/39935/default.aspx

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