[Updated October 14th, 2020 to reflect legislative change regarding the cuttoff for retracting an absentee ballot from the Town Clerk's Office]
September 29, 2020
There is a lot of confusion about how to keep voters safe and secure during the November 3rd election due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since each state administers elections differently, what a voter hears in the national press may not apply to their state.
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To keep voters safe in Connecticut, the state has expanded its use of absentee balloting. Below is a description of the process in Connecticut.
First, it is important to remember these facts about voting in Connecticut:
Connecticut is not a mail-in voting state that sends ballots to every registered voter.
Connecticut does not have early voting or no-excuse absentee ballot voting. There is a special absentee voting excuse allowed this year for the November election only due to COVID-19.
If a voter cannot vote in person on Election Day, they must fill out an application that lists 6 legitimate reasons for why they need an absentee ballot: military service, absence from town during voting hours, illness, religious tenets that forbid secular activity on the day of voting, duties as a poll worker, illness. For this election, there is a seventh reason: Covid-19 which all voters can claim to receive an absentee ballot if they desire.
All registered voters were mailed an application by the Secretary of the State’s office for the November 3rd election.
If a voter wants to vote absentee rather than in person, they must fill out the application and return it to their Town Clerk in the envelope provided or drop their application in the secure drop boxes in their municipality.
Once that application is received and verified by the Town Clerk, they will receive an absentee ballot.
Once that ballot has been completed (and therefore, voted) it can be mailed back to the Town Clerk or dropped in the secure drop boxes.
When the ballot is received by the Town Clerk, the voter’s name is marked with a red letter “A” on the voter check list indicating that they have voted, and they may not vote in person.
If they have already sent back their completed absentee ballot, and find that they will be able to vote in person on Election Day, they must appear at the Town Clerk’s office before 5:00 PM on Friday, October 30th to retract their absentee ballot and vote in person on Election Day.
A voter can either choose to vote by absentee or in person, not both!
The polls will be open on Election Day, November 3rd from 6 am until 8 pm. Safety protocols including plexiglass between voters and poll workers, PPE, hand sanitizer and social distancing will be strictly enforced.
What if I didn’t receive an application and want to vote by absentee ballot?
Visit https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Election-Services/Voter-Information/Voter-Fact-Sheet to find an application in English and Spanish that you can print out and complete. You must mail the completed application back to the Town Clerk’s Office or drop it in the secure drop box located in every municipality. The Town Clerk will then send you ballot to complete and return.
What if I received an application but want to vote in-person?
Ignore the application and vote at the polls on Election Day, November 3, 2020 from 6 am – 8 pm. If you don’t know your polling location you can find it here: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx
What if I already completed and sent back my absentee ballot but want to vote in person instead?
If your ballot has been received and recorded by the Town Clerk, technically you have already voted. In order to vote on Election Day, you must go down to the Town Clerk's office before 5 pm on Friday, Oct 30.
How can I find out that my application or absentee ballot has been received?
You can track your application and absentee ballot at: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx
Rest assured that Connecticut’s elections are administered by professionals whose job it is to make sure that every eligible voter can cast their ballot safely and securely and that every vote is counted.
For more information about voting and why it matters, please explore our website: www.lwvct.org
Other sites for information: Vote411.org/Connecticut