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What is a primary election and who can vote in Connecticut's?

There are several instances of a primary race in Connecticut for this election year.

HARTFORD, Conn. — What is a primary election? It's an election within a political party to determine who will represent the party and go up against an opposing party's candidate for a position of public office.

There are several instances of a primary race in Connecticut for this election year.

For example, Sen. Richard Blumenthal is currently one of two U.S. Senators representing Connecticut. He is a Democrat and will be rerunning, therefore he is an incumbent candidate in the race for U.S. Senate. No other Democrats are running for U.S. Senate, so there is no Democrat primary race and Blumenthal will be representing the Democratic ticket for Election Day in November.

Meanwhile, there are three Republicans that are running for U.S. Senate. The primary election will determine which candidate will get the most votes and will become the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. The winner of the Republican primary will then go against Democrat Blumenthal in November.

It is also a year of midterm elections since it is halfway through President Joe Biden's first term as President of the United States. It also happens to be the same year to vote for a governor for Connecticut, otherwise known as a gubernatorial election.

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Now, the primary elections have some similarities to the November election, but some restrictions as well.

What remains the same is that residents must be registered to vote in Connecticut. To find out whether you are registered to vote in Connecticut, click here.

If registered, head to the registration lookup page to double-check where your polling location is.

The polls opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 8 p.m. Any elector standing in line at the polls at 8 p.m. will still be allowed to cast a vote.

Connecticut has ‘closed primaries’ meaning you must be affiliated with the major parties to vote. That means if you registered as ‘unaffiliated’ with either the Democratic or Republican parties you will be ineligible to vote in the primaries.

RELATED: Connecticut voters decide candidates who will head to the polls in November

Identification requirements

You will need identification but are not required to have a driver’s license or photo ID to vote. When you arrive at your polling place, the worker will request you present ID but if you do not have any then in most cases, you may sign an affidavit. 

Your address does not need to be printed if you have a photo ID. 

If you don’t have a photo ID, you can instead show a credit card with your name and signature, another type of ID with your name and photograph, or any other document with your name and address such as a checkbook or a utility bill. 

Learn more about ID requirements here. 

What if you miss these deadlines?

Connecticut has an Election Day registration (EDR) availability for those who need it! You must meet the eligibility requirements and are not already registered, or you are registered in one town but have since moved. 

Election Day registration is not available at your polling place but at a designated EDR location in each town. Availability begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. 

You will register and vote at the EDR location. The state encourages people to arrive early as there may be long lines. You must be registered by 8 p.m. to vote and will need to provide proof of identity and residency. 

You can also see a sample of your town’s ballots ahead of either primary day or election day. You can see those, town by town, here.  

RELATED: 2022 Connecticut primary voter guide: Everything you need to know before heading to the polls

Voting absentee

It is too late to apply to vote absentee. Absentee voters were asked to postmark their application by the 5th day before a primary, in this case, Aug. 4, or apply in person with a town clerk or registrar by noon the day before a primary.

Those who applied to vote absentee and have a ballot must be received by the municipal clerk no later than the close of the polls on the day of such election or put into an official ballot box.

Applications to vote absentee for the November election begin on the 31st day before an election, and the application must be postmarked or filled out in person by the 7th day before an election.


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