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What you need to know about Connecticut’s Aug. 9 primary elections

A volunteer holds a sticker to give to a voter at Domus Kids, Inc. polling place on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Stamford, Connecticut.
Jessica Hill
A volunteer holds a sticker to give to a voter at Domus Kids, Inc. polling place on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Stamford, Connecticut.

Connecticut’s primary elections are just around the corner. These races will determine which candidates will advance to certain general election battles in November. As voters prepare to cast their ballots, we’re answering key questions about participating.

Am I eligible to vote in the primary?

Connecticut’s primaries are closed, meaning only voters registered with the Democratic or Republican parties can vote in each party’s primary. You’ll need to be registered to vote in Connecticut and a member of one of these two parties, and you may only vote in your party’s primaries.

When and where can I vote?

Primary Day is Tuesday, Aug. 9. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and you can find your local polling place here. You will still be allowed to vote after these hours if you are in line at a polling place by 8 p.m.

If I’m not registered to vote, can I still register in time for the primary?

There’s still time left to register. If you’re a U.S. citizen 18 or older and a Connecticut resident, you can submit a form by mail postmarked by Thursday, Aug. 4, or register in person at a local registrar of voters’ office up to 12 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8. You’ll need some form of ID — a driver’s license or any document with your name and address, like a utility bill — in order to register in person. With a valid Connecticut driver’s license or photo ID and a signature on file with the DMV, you can also register online by Thursday, Aug. 4.

If you’ve been previously convicted of a felony, you will need to have completed confinement and parole to have your voting rights restored before you can register.

Can I change parties to vote in the other party’s primary?

The deadline to effectively change party registration has passed, as it is required to be 90 days before the election. However, if you have not been registered with either party within the 90-day window, you can still do so up to the registration deadlines above.

Who’s on the ballot?

Republicans are in a primary contest to run against Democratic incumbent Senator Richard Blumenthal for his seat in the U.S. Senate. Although all U.S. representatives are up for reelection in November, Democratic Rep. Jim Himes’ seat is the only one with a Republican primary. Democrats are in a contest to run for State Treasurer, a seat vacated by Democrat Shawn Wooden. Both parties have primary races for Secretary of the State after former Secretary Denise Merrill stepped down in June. The table below contains all primary contests, including local, district-specific races.

Note: Brock Weber, a Republican candidate for Secretary of the State, dropped out of the race in July, but his name may still appear on ballots. As of Aug. 8, this chart has been updated to include additional local races in the 16th and 116th districts, and remove a race in the 66th.

Can I vote early?

In-person early voting has not yet been implemented in Connecticut, but will be presented as a referendum on the ballot in November’s general election. During this primary, you may only vote early using an absentee ballot.

Can I vote via an absentee ballot?

You can apply to vote absentee if:

  • You are an active member of the armed forces of the United States
  • You will be out of town on Election Day
  • Sickness, or caring for someone who is sick, prevents you from voting in person (this is wide-ranging and includes COVID-19 concerns)
  • Your religious beliefs prevent you from performing secular activities like voting on Election Day
  • You will be performing duties as an election official at a polling place other than your own on Election Day
  • A physical disability prevents you from voting in person

If you haven’t already applied for an absentee ballot and wish to, you will need to fill out an emergency application, which is used only for unforeseen medical conditions and can be found here, and deliver it to your local town clerk’s office. You will be able to mail in your absentee ballot or deliver it to a drop box located outside your town hall until polls close at 8 p.m. on Aug. 9. You can also track the status of your ballot here.

Do I need an ID to vote?

You do not. Unless you are a first-time voter, you will be given the opportunity to sign an affidavit rather than present an ID when checking in at your polling place.

Why is my district different than it has been in previous elections?

Connecticut underwent a regular redistricting process last year to reflect updated 2020 U.S. Census data, so your home may be within the bounds of a different district for this election. You can use Ballotpedia’s sample ballot lookup tool to see your local races.

Is the address that I reported to the Connecticut DMV the same address that I have to vote from?

Unless you have chosen otherwise, this is most likely true. If you have changed your address with the DMV, the address change will also affect your voter registration unless you voluntarily opt out via a check box on the form. Additionally, you are offered opportunities to update your voter registration each time your driver’s license, learner’s permit or other ID card is renewed. If you want to confirm your voter information, you can check it here.

What do I do if my voting rights are violated?

If you believe your rights are being violated at a polling place, you can follow instructions here to file an official complaint with the Office of the Secretary of the State.

I still have questions:

Josh is a freelance reporter working with WSHU to produce explanatory journalism. He also designed graphics for WSHU's Higher Ground podcast. You can find his work at The Stony Brook Press, where he served as executive editor.