Vote 2024: Early Voting starts next week. Here’s what to expect

Early Voting debuts with the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries, which were moved up several weeks this year to coincide with New York.

John Craven

Mar 19, 2024, 9:27 PM

Updated 25 days ago

Share:

One week from today, Connecticut will make history. You’ll finally be able to vote early at the polls.
Here’s what to expect.
EARLY VOTING LAUNCH
Early Voting debuts with the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries, which were moved up several weeks this year to coincide with New York. Although the candidates are already set, Corrine Thompson, of Stamford, plans to vote early.
“It’s just more convenient,” she said. “I think for the most part we’ll be good, but I do think there will be people that will find something. You know, stuff always happens.”
Connecticut’s presidential primary is April 2, but Early Voting runs from March 26-30 – except March 29, when polls will close for the Good Friday holiday.
Early Voting hours are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The biggest change is where you vote. Instead of coming to a school, Early Voting will happen at a town or city hall.
At Norwalk City Hall, voter registrars are transforming a community room into a polling site.
“We’ve been trying to get questions answered and come up with ways to do everything we can – all the new equipment we need,” said Stuart Wells, Norwalk’s Democratic voter registrar. Another big change? For now, each community only has one polling location. Larger cities have the option for extra sites, but a lack of funding and extra staff are getting in the way.
See where to vote here.
IS IT SECURE?
Norwalk voter Daniel Carroll supports Early Voting – if it’s secure.
“If it’s done legally and it’s, you know, state ID – something where you actually come in and actually show proof of identification,” he said. Allegations of absentee ballot abuse in Bridgeport have grabbed national headlines. But Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas said the Early Voting system does not allow people to cast a ballot twice.
“When you check in for Early Voting, you’re not relying on a paper book,” she said. “The person checking you in has access to your data in real-time.”
When someone arrives at a polling location, workers will check the state’s Centralized Voter Registration System to make sure they haven’t already voted. In addition, ballots aren’t counted immediately. To keep them secure, ballots are sealed in an envelope, locked in a safe and not counted until Election Day itself.
NOVEMBER ELECTION
The presidential primary is a test run for the November election, which could attract record turnout. In addition to a re-match between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, all five of Connecticut’s congressional seats, a U.S. Senate seat and the entire General Assembly will be on the ballot.
“Please go out and help your registrars ‘stress test’ the system in your town,” Thomas told reporters on Tuesday. “We want to make sure we resolve any little bumps in the road.”
Even though this round only features 4 days of Early Voting, in November, you’ll get 14 days. And some of those days feature extended hours, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Still, some towns have expressed concerns about having enough staff in place. The state allocated $10,500 to each community -- regardless of size -- to help launch Early Voting, but Thomas is asking for an additional $5 million for local registrars, and $2.5 million for voter outreach.
New voting tabulators are on the way too, but not in time for the April presidential primary. The State Bond Commission authorized $25 million to replace the current decades-old machines, which can lead to long delays counting votes on Election Night.
CT LATE TO EARLY VOTING
Connecticut is one of the last states in the nation to launch Early Voting. In 2022, voters agreed to amend the state constitution to allow it – nearly a decade after a similar question failed. State lawmakers approved the rules for Early Voting last year.
This fall, voters will decide on another ballot question: whether to allow people to vote absentee for any reason. Thomas argues that it will cut down on the kind of abuse alleged in Bridgeport, but Republicans are wary of expanding vote-by-mail.
Click here for more information about Early Voting in Connecticut.


More from News 12