Before the Election: Voter Registration
If you’re not sure if you’re registered to vote, you can check your registration status in Connecticut by using the state’s Voter Registration Lookup tool.
Input your town, last name, first name, and date of birth. The tool notes:
- If you are registered to vote.
- What party you’re registered as a part of.
- The address for your polling location.
If you are not registered to vote or need to change parties:
Your voter registration will be approved by the Registrar of Voters. If you are submitting your application by mail, please find your local Registrar of Voters here. You will receive confirmation from the Registrar of Voters that your application has been processed within three weeks of submitting an online or paper application.
You can register to vote:
- In a primary up to noon the day before.
- In a regular election up to seven days before.
- With a new party for up to three months before the election.
Before the Election: Absentee Ballot Q&A
Can I vote in New Haven if I live on campus?
Any student that lives on campus at a Connecticut university can declare their dorm their primary residency and then vote in New Haven.
Alternatively, you vote absentee for your respective town and/or state. Different states have different absentee guidelines and requirements.
When can I request an absentee ballot?
- If you will be out-of-town for the entirety of the polling period.
- This is especially helpful to commuter students that do not have the time to vote between commuting to-and-from campus, and for resident CT students who cannot drive back home on a Tuesday before or after classes.
- If you are sick.
- Have a physical disability that prevents voting in person.
- Have conflicting duties as an election official.
- Have religious beliefs that conflict with voting on Election Day.
- Are an active member of the armed forces in the United States.
What’s the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot?
The regular deadline is one day before the election, but it is best to request it as soon as possible to ensure you receive yours and can submit it at the right time.
If you are requesting an absentee ballot due to a sudden illness, you can submit an emergency absentee ballot within six days of an election.
Where can I find absentee ballot request forms?
Both the regular and emergency absentee ballots can be found in English and Spanish here. After downloading, printing, and filling out the applicable PDF, submit your ballot request to your town clerk, who can be found here.
Once I receive my absentee ballot and fill it out, where do I submit it?
You can mail your absentee ballot directly to your town clerk, but your town may also have secure dropoff boxes where you can submit your absentee ballot instead.
As long as your ballot is received by Election Day, your vote will be counted.
What if I decide to vote in person after submitting an absentee ballot?
If you ultimately decide you want to vote in person, you can withdraw your ballot from the town clerk’s office up to 5 PM the Friday before Election Day.
On the Day of the Election: ID Laws
You do not need a driver's license and/or photo ID to vote in CT. If you don’t have either one when you go to vote, you will likely be able to sign an affidavit instead. However, having some form of identification on you may make the voting process faster and less stressful.
The rules for what identification is needed vary depending on if it is your first time voting or not.
If you are a first time voter who registered by mail after January 1st, 2003, are voting for the first time in a primary or election with federal candidates (ex. a presidential election), and have a mark next to your name on the official registry list, then you need to bring:
- A copy of a current ID card that has your name and address.
- A copy of a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows your name and address.
If you don’t bring either one of these, you can cast a provisional ballot using an affidavit. Because the poll workers can’t verify your identity at the polling station, additional verification is needed after you vote for your ballot to “count”.
If you aren’t a first time voter or are voting for the first time in an election that isn’t federal, you can present one item from the list down below if you don’t want to sign an affidavit:
- A social security card.
- A previously printed form of identification that shows:
- name and address
- name and signature
- or name and photograph.
Because your HootLoot card is a formal ID card that shows your name and a photograph of you, you can use it to vote at the polls.
On the Day of the Election: At The Polls
Connecticut has strict rules on what clothes are and aren’t allowed at the polls. When voting, you are not allowed to wear any political gear that has a candidate’s name or physical likeness on them.
- If you wear that kind of clothing, you will not be able to enter the polling place until you remove it.
- However, you can wear clothing with political messages or statements on them.
There may be a line when you get to the polling place. Once you are finally inside, you may be asked to go to a table based on your address and/or last name. You will be asked to sign an affidavit or show your ID. You will then be directed to one of two kinds of machines.
The first is an optical scan. If your polling place uses this kind of polling machine, you will be given a paper ballot to fill out with a provided pen or pencil. Follow the directions by filling in a box, circle, or the space between two different arrows. When you finish filling out your ballot, you will either put your card in a box or directly into the device that counts your vote.
The second is a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE). DREs vary depending on the polling location, but will usually involve receiving a card from the poll workers after signing in and sliding that card into the DRE. The DRE will either show you all candidates on a single digital page or one candidate per page. The DRE may also have a keyboard to write in candidates. Once you are finished voting on all of the measures or candidates, you can click a button on the DRE’s screen to submit your digital ballot.
Once your physical or digital ballot has been submitted, you have finished voting and are free to leave the polling site.
The CT state government also provides numerous helpful fact sheets for voters of various backgrounds on this page.
Ones that might be especially helpful to Southern students are the ones for:
If you are from out-of-state and need to find your state’s absentee and in-person voting requirements, the Campus Vote Project has a helpful interactive map that provides updated information.
This guide was compiled using information from the Elections & Voting section of CT Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill’s website, CT Post’s guide to Election Day clothing, and Vote411’s Connecticut Voting Machines.