‘A vote is a terrible thing to waste’

To the Editor:

Election time’s afoot! That will come as a surprise only to those who have been locked in a dark attic or musty basement over the past few weeks and months.

But now that the time is drawing nigh. Deadlines for registering to vote are coming up, as well. We at the Fairfield League of Women Voters have a saying: Democracy is not a spectator sport. Love your freedom? Vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6!

You must be registered before you can vote. To register in Connecticut you must be a United States citizen, a resident of a Connecticut town, and at least 17 years old turning 18 before Election Day.

If you are a new resident of Fairfield, you must register. If you have changed your address within Fairfield, you should register the change to make sure the correct polling location has your name.

You can get the necessary registration form at the Registrars of Voters Office, Town Hall, 611 Old Post Road. A printable form can be found at fairfieldct.org/Voter/VoterRegistration-ByMail.pdf. You may register in person until Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the Registrars Office. Or you may register by mail. Mailed-in registrations must be postmarked by the 14th day before an election: That’s Oct. 23 this year. Regular office hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 to 4:30. To facilitate registration, the Registrars of Voters Office will have special hours for voter registration on Saturday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will be open Tuesday, Oct. 30 until 8 p.m.

In addition to the deadlines above, a resident who moves into town, turns 18, or becomes a citizen in the seven days before the election, may register in person until Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. at the Registrars of Voters Office. Please be advised: Because the Registrars of Voters Office will be busy preparing for Election Day, it is best to get to there by noon on Nov. 5.

If you have any questions about the registration or voting process, call the Registrars of Voters Office at 203-256-3115.

Absentee voting is permitted for any of the following reasons: physical disability, absence from the town during all of the hours of voting, or religious tenets that forbid secular activity on Election Day. To get an absentee ballot, you must first apply. Applications for absentee ballots may be picked up at the Town Clerk’s Office, Town Hall, 611 Old Post Road. Additionally, an application form may be printed from the Secretary of the State’s website (sots.ct.gov; click on “Elections and Voting,” then on “Absentee Ballot Applications” under “Voter Information” on the left-hand side of the screen.) A signed application must be received by the Town Clerk before an absentee ballot can be issued.

If you are applying for an absentee ballot for yourself, you can apply for, receive and even fill out the ballot in one visit to the Town Clerk’s Office. You can do so until the day before the election.

If you are seeking an application for someone else, you must allow time for the entire process to unfold. The application not only has to get to the applicant by mail but the applicant has to get the application back to the Town Clerk; the Town Clerk’s office has to get an absentee ballot to the applicant; and then the ballot, once filled out, has to get back to the Town Clerk’s office. A mailed-in ballot must be received by the Town Clerk not later than the close of the polls on election day. A ballot returned by the voter in person must be returned by the day before the election. What does all this mean? That time is of the essence!

Caution: It is critical that you sign the absentee ballot application and the envelope that is used to return the absentee ballot, whether you are returning the documents in person or by mail.

If you have any questions about the process, the application, or the absentee ballot, call the Town Clerk’s office at 203-256-3090.

Remember: A vote is a terrible thing to waste!

 

Pat Reilly

Bryce Perry

Co-Presidents

League of Women Voters of Fairfield

 

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