Sunday, May 26, 2024

No Early Voting in 2023


Registrar Road Trip: Running elections at OV (Oronoque Village) And at SHS, BHS

Your place for answers about voting and local elections in Stratford

By Registrar Of Voters James Simon (D).  May 2023

Q: Any final decision on Early Voting for 2023?

A: The Legislature has approved an Early Voting law, which implements the ballot question approved by voters in 2023. The final language calls for 14 days of early voting, and less for primary elections, but delays the start of the program until 2024. So the expected presidential primary election in Connecticut in April 2024 is expected to be the first time the new program will be implemented.

The new law calls for the state to fully fund the program, but town officials continue to worry that not enough money was included in the bill to make good on the promise.

Q: I recently saw someone in Stratford wearing an “I voted” sticker. Did I miss a town election in May?

A: There are no town elections in May. The next election in Stratford is likely to be party primary elections in September, if there are contested seats for Town Council, Board of Education, and other municipal offices on the ballot in November.

But our office lends its expertise to private organizations within Stratford that hold elections.

For example, on Tuesday May 23rd, we set up the election for Oronoque Village, which has its own tax district and needs to hold elections to pick officers to oversee the district. OV pays for the printing of ballots, the needed computer programming, and other related expenses, and we bring our professional voting tabulators to the North Trail office of OV and conduct a three-hour election. And yes, voters get an “I Voted” sticker.

Q:  I like the fact that you teach our Stratford high schoolers about civics and elections, then help conduct their senior class elections. Did you do that again this year?

A: Every year, the Registrars try to interact with all high school students in three ways. First, we conduct interactive workshops, in each separate Civics class, on the importance and value of voting and elections. Connecticut mandates that every student takes a civics class, and we held about 16 separate workshops this year.

In late May, we help conduct the Senior Class elections. Again we bring in our voting tabulators, train students in the various Poll Worker roles, then, let the juniors elect their student leaders for senior year. Stratford Rotary pays for the needed expenses. And yes, the student voters get an “I Voted” sticker.

Finally, we have separate meetings at SHS and BHS with all graduating seniors on the day when they get their caps and gowns. We again remind them of the importance of voting, show them how easy it is to fill out the registration form, then distribute the forms and ask that they immediately fill them out. We gain at least 300 new registered voters.

Q: What’s the biggest problem with the high school registration program?

A: Student handwriting! We think that with cell phones, cursive writing and even printing is becoming a lost art : )

Q: I hate standing in line at an election, waiting to vote. Why are the lines so long in Stratford?

A: Our Moderators at each polling location tell us that on average, each voter spends less than 10 minutes at the polls. The shortest lines are often at 7:30 p.m.

To avoid any line, you also can use Absentee Voting if you qualify through a sickness or other approved reason. Some 10,000 Stratford voters (!) in the 2020 presidential election did so.

And again, starting in 2024, Connecticut becomes the 47th state to offer Early Voting. The experience in other states shows a substantial turnout on the first day, then almost no voting in subsequent days, then a final slow buildup as the deadline for Early Voting approaches.

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

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



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