Absentee Ballots: Voting Away from Home

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29: An absentee ballot is shown October 29, 2004 in Brooklyn, New York. Thousands of New Yorkers are casting their votes early this year. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Rebekah Brancato   News Editor

Election day on Nov. 6 is fast approaching, but many students living on campus are left wondering: how do I vote? Since many students are registered to vote in their hometown, they cannot vote here in Willimantic. However, with elections taking place on Tuesday, it can be difficult to get back home to vote. The solution to this is the absentee ballot.

Absentee ballots are a way for citizens to vote if they will not be in their registered town on the day of elections. In order to fill out an absentee ballot for Connecticut, a citizen must meet one of the following criteria: be an active member of the armed forces of the United States; be out of town during all hours of voting on Election Day; have an illness or physical disability that prevents voting on Election Day; have religious beliefs that prevent performing secular activities on Election Day; or be performing duties as an election official at a polling place other than your own during all hours of voting on Election Day.

In order to obtain and fill out absentee ballots, one must first fill out an application, which are available in both English and Spanish. This can be found on Connecticut’s Secretary of State website and are also available at Town Clerk’s offices in person or on their website. The applications must be signed and mailed to the Town Clerk of the town you are registered to vote in.

Afterward, the Town Clerk will process your application and an absentee ballot will be mailed to you, beginning 31 days before a general election or as soon as your application is processed. Your ballot can then be filled out and returned to the Town Clerk either by mail or in person. While there are no deadlines for applications, voters must be registered by Oct. 30, and the ballot must be received by 8 pm on Nov. 6 in order to be counted.

The elections on Nov. 6 are for the positions of Connecticut’s Governor, Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, State Senator, State Representative, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Comptroller, Attorney General, Judge of Probate, and Registrar of Voters.

Absentee ballots offer a way for students to have their voice heard without having to skip classes or miss work in order to travel home and vote. If you need to fill out your general election absentee ballot application, you can print one from the Secretary of State website.

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