We're just one week away from Election Day and there are a record number of registered voters in Connecticut. Election Day is Tuesday, November 3.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said there are nearly 2.3 million registered voters in the state. She said there are 2,295,644 active registered voters in Connecticut, which is an all-time high, and a large number of the new voters are between 18 and 24 years old.
Due to the COVD-19 pandemic, voters are able to vote by absentee ballot this year and there were 673,811 requests for absentee ballots, but the number could get up around 700,000, Merrill added.
"That's almost half the voters in the state will have voted absentee," Merrill said.
Gov. Ned Lamont cautioned voters that it will take some time to get all the votes counted. Ballot processing can begin the Friday before the election. Counting can begin at 6 a.m. on Election Day.
Merrill said she expects most towns will have results by midnight, but some larger cities and towns have their hands full with counting votes.
Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said they have been working hard to make the voting experience as safe as it can be.
She urged people who can to vote mid-day because polling places are busiest when they open and at the end of the day.
Gifford also asked anyone who does not feel well to stay home and not go out to vote.
The state is urging people to wear face masks when they go to the polling location. Merrill said they cannot turn anyone away, but no one will be allowed to endanger anyone's health.
She said there will be limits on the number of people in the polling locations and there will be social distancing.
Sue Larsen, the president of the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut, said the registrars are making sure residents are registered and for the correct polling locations.
Safety precautions include regular cleaning, face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, she said. Most polling locations will be offering masks to people who do not have them and many polling locations are using disposable pens or one-time use pencils, Larsen said.
In Meriden, residents who went to register to vote in person found doors closed and locked and they were told to slip the application under the door.
Meriden’s city clerk said the registrars of voters have been registering hundreds of people every day.
“The election day registration, if you don’t get registered today, is going to be an enormous line and that’s going to take all day. It puts a lot more stress,” Meriden City Clerk Denise Grandy said.
Merrill said it's not acceptable, her office is looking into what happened and they are notifying the registrars to tell them they need to be in the office. It's the one day of year registrars are required by law to be in the office.
You have multiple options to register to vote including online or in person.
How to Register to Vote Online
Scroll down and click Register to Vote.
You can register with your Connecticut driver's license.
Today is also the last day you can register to vote in person.
To do so, you can visit your town hall or a DMV.
Another option is same day registration, but it doesn't happen at your polling place. It happens at your town hall.
“You go to town hall and you go to the registrar’s office. You have to have your ID, identification and proof that you live at that residence at that location and they will register you and you vote right there at town hall. It is kind of a last resort and tends to be a little crowded so we urge people to get registered,” said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.
Hundreds of thousands of people requested an absentee ballot in Connecticut, but a huge portion of them haven't been returned.
Voters are urged to not wait until the last minute.
To fill out your absentee ballot, sign and date the inner envelope before placing it into the outer envelope. Then you can drop it in the mail. You don't need a stamp to mail it.
You can also stop by your town hall and drop it in one of the secure ballot drop boxes that are emptied multiple times per day.
The sooner you get it back, the sooner your town clerk can process it.
“It’s just the volume. Normally in Connecticut, maybe 5-8% vote absentee and we’re looking at more like 50% and a big turnout to boot so it’s a big volume for us," Merrill added.
What's On Your Mind?
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