Let’s Not Throw Away Our Shot!

That now famous line from Hamilton reminds me that citizens in Connecticut have two opportunities to not throw away our shot this in this upcoming election season.

There are two new Connecticut Election Laws that are important in this Presidential election year.Early Voting Earlier Presidential Preference PrimaryWhile November’s general election may seem far away, understanding these new laws and how they affect your voter participation could significantly impact election results as early as two months from now.
Connecticut now joins forty-six other states in allowing Early In-Person Voting. Early In-Person voting is done in your local municipality in one location, typically one’s town hall. The ballot is stored securely until tallying on Election Day.

This spring, Early Voting is allowed four days before the presidential primary election on April 2nd*. So you can begin voting as early March 26th-28th and March 30th. ( March 29th is Good Friday).

* New Date for Presidential Preference Primary – April 2nd

This year the presidential preference primary moves to the first Tuesday in April from the last Tuesday in April. So April 2nd this year, many of us have the opportunity to vote in the presidential primary. Democratic candidates are Joe Biden and Dean Philips, Republican candidates are Ryan Binkley, Nikki Haley, Donald Trump.

This year it’s critically important to participate in one of the primaries. Given the great concern for a variety of reasons for the viability of the two leading candidates, voting in the April primary is essential. There is an opportunity to change direction by voting in the primary.

Understanding Unaffiliated Voters in Connecticut

In Connecticut there are just over one million voters registered as “unaffiliated” – which means they are NOT affiliated with any party. And this group represents the largest voting block in our state! Democrats have the next highest registration at 888,000 registered voters and 500,000 voters are registered Republicans in the state. 

An unaffiliated voter is NOT the same as an Independent voter. An independent voter is registered with the Independent party in Connecticut – – just like the  Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green parties. Minor parties have a combined number of 39,500 voters. 

Unaffiliated Voters and their power to make a difference

Because Connecticut is a state with closed primaries, unaffiliated voters CANNOT vote in either the Republican or Democratic Presidential primary on April 2nd UNLESS they register for one of those parties. 

To take action if you are registered as an unaffiliated voter in Connecticut and wish to vote in either of the presidential primaries you can choose to register as either Republican or Democrat (you can only pick one) no later than March 28th ahead of the April 2 primary election by visiting your local Registrar of Voters.

You may change back to unaffiliated at any point after voting. Note if you are registered to a specific party, state law requires ninety days between switching parties to be eligible to vote in a different party primary. Please check your voter registration here.

This is an accepted process because of the nature of Connecticut’s closed primary system, Other states, such as New Hampshire have open primaries for unaffiliated voters with the voter choosing which primary in which to participate without needing to register ahead of time with a party. 

Why does this matter to you?

With a staggering large percentage of citizens not happy with either of the two presidential candidates that are leading tenuously in the polls – – we have an opportunity to “speak up and be counted” through our vote in the primary process.
There is a chance that in the next four years — the leadership our country deserves — will not be seen in our government if we do not take the responsibility to have our voices heard.

This is the time to be thoughtful, informed, engaged and possibly even strategic in your participation in this year’s election process. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or thoughts you may have: terrie@terriewood.com.



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