Many West Hartford voters will cast their ballots at a different location for the August primaries, and for the November general election. [Updated, July 27, 2022]
By Ronni Newton
At the upcoming Aug. 9, 2022 Republican and Democratic primaries, as well as in the Nov. 8, 2022 general election, some voters will be casting their ballots at different polling places – locations that will be their polling places for the next 10 years.
Pink postcards have recently been mailed to all voters advising them of their polling place. Anyone registered should receive a card even if their polling place hasn’t changed, or even if they are not eligible to vote in the Aug. 9 primary.
“The cards were sent to all overs, regardless of party, regardless of what polling place they go to,” Democratic Registrar of Voters Beth Sweeney said Monday.
The changes in the polling places are the result of redistricting which was required to comply with the 2020 census. The process takes place every 10 years, and is conducted by a bipartisan committee of members of the General Assembly.
The state’s redistricting panel updated the boundaries of legislative districts, and those changes have impacted West Hartford where as of the next statewide election the town will have five – rather than three – state representatives.
Who is running and who can vote in the Aug. 9, 2022 primary?
Only those who are registered with a major party (Democrat or Republican) are eligible to vote on Aug. 9, 2022.
In-person registration can be accepted in-person by noon on Aug. 8, 2022, and those registering to vote through the Department of Motor Vehicles or by mail must have their applications postmarked by Aug. 4, 2022, Sweeney said.
The window for switching party affiliation from one major party to another passed months ago, but those who are unaffiliated and wish to vote in a primary can still affiliate with one of the major parties, Sweeney said. The change can be done in person at Town Hall, by noon on Aug. 8, 2002, as well as by mail, but a change request made by mail must be postmarked by Aug. 4, 2022. [Editor’s note: This section has been updated with the correct information.]
Sweeney said prospective voters should be aware that Election Day Registration is NOT available for the August primaries.
Residents who are currently age 17 but who will be 18 on or before Nov. 8, 2022, are eligible to vote in an Aug. 9, 2022 primary provided they properly register with one of the major parties in advance.
Democratic races with primaries include:
- Secretary of the State – Stephanie Thomas (endorsed), Maritza Bond
- State Treasurer – Erick Russell (endorsed), Dita Bhargava, Karen DuBois-Walton
Republican races with primaries include:
- U.S. Senator – Themis Klarides (endorsed), Lenora Levy, Peter Lumaj
- Secretary of the State – Dominic Rapini (endorse), Terrie Wood
Where are West Hartford’s polling places?
West Hartford previously had nine polling places and nine town districts – three for each state representative.
As a result of the statewide realignment, the town needed to redraw its own districts, and did so with a bipartisan committee of Town Council members. Deputy Mayor Liam Sweeney chaired the committee and the other members were Democrat Adrienne Billings-Smith and Republicans Mark Zydanowicz and Alberto Cortes.
Both parties worked well together throughout the process, Sweeney told the Council, which unanimously approved the plan at its March 22, 2022 meeting.
The new arrangement has eight polling places, but because slivers of West Hartford are now represented by other state representatives, the town’s first and fourth districts are split into 1-1 and 1-2 and 4-1 and 4-2. Both 1-1 and 1-2 will vote at King Philip Middle School, while 4-1 and 4-2 will vote at Charter Oak International Academy, but there will be separate entrances at each site depending on the district in which the voter resides.
While there are no primaries this year for state representative seats, voters whose streets are located in the town’s district 1-1 or 4-1 will have their representatives change as of November.
As of the November election, a slice of the northeast corner of West Hartford (the town’s new district 1-1), which had been part of the 18th State House District represented by Jillian Gilchrest, will become part of the 15th District. That seat currently held by Bobby Gibson, a Democrat who also represents Bloomfield and a portion of Windsor, and who is running unopposed for reelection.
A slice of the southeast corner (the town’s new district 4-1), formerly part of the 20th District represented by Kate Farrar, will become part of the 6th District as of November. That seat is held by Edwin Vargas of Hartford, who is also unopposed.
The realignment resulted in some of the former polling locations being clustered in the same district. For example Braeburn Elementary School – one of the town’s historically busiest polling places – and Sedgwick Middle School ended up in the same district, as did Conard High School and Wolcott Elementary School.
“Wolcott is no longer a polling place, and all those voters will be voting at Conard,” Sweeney said. Braeburn is no longer a polling place either, and those who formerly voted at that location have been reassigned to various other locations depending on their address.
Bugbee Elementary School has been added as a new polling place for a large swath of the town.
The new districts are shown on the map below, and the following is a list of polling places by district.
|1-1||King Philip Middle School||100 King Philip Dr.|
|1-2||King Philip Middle School||100 King Philip Dr.|
|2||Bristow Middle School||34 Highland St.|
|3||Town Hall||50 South Main St.|
|4-1||Charter Oak International Academy||425 Oakwood Ave.|
|4-2||Charter Oak International Academy||425 Oakwood Ave.|
|5||Conard High School||110 Beechwood Rd|
|6||Sedgwick Middle School||128 Sedgwick Rd.|
|7||Bugbee Elementary School||1943 Asylum Ave.|
|8||Hall High School||975 North Main St.|
The Secretary of the State’s “Look Up” site also provides information about voter registration and polling place.
What about voting by absentee ballot?
Absentee ballot applications are available and once completed can be dropped in the Election Drop Boxes that have been placed at the main entrance to Town Hall and the Faxon Branch Library. They may also be mailed to the Town Clerk’s Office at Town Hall, 50 South Main Street, Room 313, West Hartford, CT 06107. All applications must contain the original signature of the applicant.
Click here to obtain an application.
Absentee ballots are now available and can also be returned to the drop boxes or via mail. Ballots must be received at Town Hall by 8 p.m. on the day of the election.
The reasons for voting by absentee ballot include being unable to appear at your assigned polling place due to active military service, as well as absence from the town on election day, illness (the definition of “sickness” was expanded by the legislature this year), religious activities that forbid secular activity on the date of the election, duties as an election official at a polling place other than your assigned location, and physical disability.