West Hartford Registrars: What You Need to Know about Voting in the Presidential Preference Primary

Connecticut’s presidential primary will be held on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, and here’s what residents need to know to be able to vote in West Hartford.

By Ronni Newton

Presidential primaries and caucuses will begin shortly throughout the country, and on April 28, 2020, properly-registered Connecticut voters will have the opportunity to cast a ballot for their choice of candidate to receive the nomination.

Although there are many similarities to voting in a primary and a general election – such as the locations of the polling places and the times the polls are open (6 a.m. through 8 p.m.) – there are some significant differences.

One critical difference is that you must be registered in one of the state’s major parties – as either a Democrat or Republican – in order to vote in any primary, and you may only vote in the primary for the party with which you are registered.

At this point it appears that there will be only a Democratic primary, and while you have until April 23 to register with a party if you are unaffiliated, changes from one major party to the other take three months to become effective.

West Hartford Democratic Registrar of Voters Patrice Peterson and Republican Registrar of Voters Beth Kyle have provided a timeline of the important dates to consider regarding voting in the Presidential Preference Primary:

  • Jan. 28: The deadline for those enrolled in party to transfer enrollment from one party to another if they wish to vote in the “new” party’s primary. This does not apply to unaffiliated voters but does apply to those registered in the Independent party.
  • March 14: Absentee ballots for military or overseas voters become available.
  • April 7: Absentee ballots become available. Applications for absentee ballots are available on the West Hartford website through the link to voter registration.
  • April 23: Deadline for new voters and unaffiliated voters to enroll in a party voting in a primary. For new voters, mail-in applications must be postmarked or received by the Registrar of Voters by this date. For unaffiliated voters, a mail-in application must be received by the Registrar of Voters. The exception is for in-person registration.
  • April 27: Deadline for in-person registration to be done at the office of the Registrar of Voters in Town Hall.
  • April 28: Primary Day. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

One major difference between a primary and the general election is that 17-year-olds can vote in the primary if they will turn 18 before the general election date of Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. You must register to vote in advance and will be allowed to vote only in the primary of the party with which you have enrolled.

All voter registration must be done in advance, because unlike the general election, election day registration is not offered for the Presidential Preference Primary.

There are multiple ways to register to vote, including through an online application through the Secretary of State’s website or on the town website through the link to the Registrar of Voters page. 

Registration can also be done through the Department of Motor Vehicles or in-person at the Office of the Registrar of Voters at West Hartford Town Hall, 50 South Main St., Room 209.  

Anyone who has questions or would like to receive an application through the mail can call the Registrar of Voters office at 860-561-7450.

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