May is a busy time for potential November candidates to gain party support and campaign funds. In May, each town holds Republican and Democrat caucuses for party members to vote on their party’s nominees for the municipal offices of the Registrar of Voters and the Justices of the Peace.
Delegates chosen in March will attend their state and district party conventions in May as well. At the local caucus and at the conventions, the party candidate endorsement selections are made.
To participate and vote in the May caucuses, you must be a party member. Unaffiliated and unregistered voters can register with a party by noon the day before the caucus to be eligible to participate. Switching parties requires a 90-day waiting period before attaining party privilege. On Jan. 2, the Secretary of State issued nominating petitions for any minor party or unaffiliated candidates to petition for a slot on the Nov. 3 ballot.
All registered Democrats are invited to attend the Democratic municipal caucus on Tuesday, May 19 for the purpose of nominating candidates for town offices for the Nov. 3 election. The caucus will be held in the parking lot outside the Senior Center at 7 p.m., where members will maintain safe social distances.
All registered Republicans are invited to their municipal caucus on Thursday, May 21 for the purpose of nominating candidates for town offices for the Nov. 3 election. The caucus will be held in the Police Community Room at 7 p.m., if available—check the Granby Republican Facebook page for details if a Zoom meeting is needed.
Same-day registration does not apply to the municipal caucus. Registering to vote and enrolling in a party must be done prior to noon the day before the caucus. Voters are encouraged to check their party affiliation online at sots.state.gov, available 24/7. In Connecticut those who are currently 17-years-old but will turn 18 by Nov. 3 can participate in the Aug. 11 primary if they register with a party. (17-year-olds are not eligible for the May caucus.)
State party rules prohibit cross voting in another political party’s primary or caucus. Unaffiliated voters are not allowed to vote in either primary or caucus. In Granby, 38.1 percent of voters are currently unaffiliated, 31.2 percent are Republican, 29.0 percent are Democrats and 1.6 percent are minor party members.
Party membership does not cost anything, nor are party members obligated to vote along party lines. To gain party affiliation, you can go online to fill out a voter registration card and check the box marked “party enrollment change” and be sure to write in a political party. The website is available 24/7 at voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/welcome.do
The Registrar’s office will be closed to the public if the Town Hall is on lock down due to Covid-19. If you prefer to register in person, you may knock on the door and use the cart outside of the building to fill out the form. There is a 90-day waiting period to attain party privilege for those switching political parties. The deadline to switch parties and be eligible to vote in the August primaries is May 11. The 90-day deadline does not apply to unaffiliated and new voters.
August 11 Presidential Preference Primary
The August primary is an opportunity for potential municipal and state candidates to contest their party’s nominee. This year, the Presidential Preference primaries have been postponed until Tuesday, Aug. 11 to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers during the pandemic. As of this writing, both parties still have Presidential candidates contesting the front runners.
Democratic candidates who qualified to have their delegates on the ballot: Joe Biden, Tulsi Gabbard, and Bernie Sanders, (and Uncommitted). The following candidates have all officially withdrawn: Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren.
Republican candidates who qualified to have their delegates on the ballot: Rocky De La Fuente and Donald Trump, (and Uncommitted). Bill Weld has officially withdrawn.
Absentee Ballot applications sent to all Democrats and Republicans?
There is a great deal of controversy over who can vote absentee during a pandemic in Connecticut. Unlike many other states, the Connecticut State Constitution only allows a short list of reasons to vote absentee. While changes to the Constitution have been proposed and debated, no changes have been passed.
In an unprecedented move, the Secretary of State is considering mailing absentee ballot applications to all eligible primary voters to ensure their safety during the pandemic. While the state constitution prohibits absentee voting for all, during the pandemic anyone who is at risk of infecting themselves or others may consider themselves unable to vote in person. If social distancing is still in place in August and you choose to request an absentee ballot for your safety, please do NOT neglect to check one of the reasons listed on the form. There are boxes for “my illness,” and “my physical disability.” Neither of these reasons require a doctor’s note for the Town Clerk.
All applications need to be filled out and mailed to the Town Clerk in order to receive an absentee ballot. The Town Clerk will begin issuing absentee ballots when they become available on July 21 for the August 11 primary. The application form is available online on the SOTS website sots.ct.gov
Look for the English version: ED3-Rev-2019-FILLABLE-APPLICATION-ABSENTEE-BALLOT.pdf
Please note that if you have already applied for an absentee ballot for the primary either for the original April 28, or June 2 dates, there is no need to reapply—your application will be transferred to the new August 11 date.
Pollworkers are urgently needed to be on the frontlines for democracy
The registrar’s office is compiling a list of poll workers, both volunteers and paid. Volunteer poll workers must be at least 16 years old and can choose to volunteer for a few hours, as desired to fit their schedules. If you would like to be added to the list or if you did not receive the poll worker information e-letter, please email the registrars at firstname.lastname@example.org
Online or by-telephone poll worker training will be done in late July and early August for the presidential/state primary, and again in October for the Nov. 3 election. For more information or to apply please contact the registrars at email@example.com
The registrars are available every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. While the Town Hall is closed to the public, you can contact them by phone or email. Voter registration forms are also available online at the Secretary of State’s website, sots.ct.gov There is a link on our town website to check your voter registration and another link available to make changes online.
Questions? Please contact the registrars, Laura Wolfe and Sonja Smith, at 860-844-5322 or firstname.lastname@example.org