Connecticut is one of five states holding a presidential primary election on April, Tuesday 26, and while it may not be Super Tuesday, it’s looking like the Nutmeg state is going to play a key role for some of the candidates as well as perhaps demonstrate increased voter interest and turnout to the polls statewide.
Does Everyone Get to Vote Tuesday?
Connecticut’s presidential primaries are “closed” primaries—voters have to be registered as a Republican or a Democrat to vote. Voters are also only able to vote for the party with which they’re registered. While the deadline has passed for unaffiliated voters or new voters to register online or by mail, there is still a chance for anyone in those categories to register to vote—it must be done in person, on Monday, April 25 by noon at the Town Hall offices of the registrar of voters or town clerk (238 Danbury Rd.). Anyone with questions can call the registrars’ office for more details at 203.563.0111.
As of Thursday, April 21, there are 3,208 registered Democrats and 4,209 registered Republicans in Wilton. There are 4,139 unaffiliated voters and 61 “other.”
According to registrar of voters Carole Young-Kleinfeld, in the last 10 days there have been 109 new voters who registered and 118 voters who changed party affiliation (mostly unaffiliated voters joining parties). Anyone who wanted to switch from one party to another and still vote would have had to have made that switch by January to be able to cast a ballot.
Who Am I Voting For?
While we can’t tell you which candidate you should cast a ballot for, we can tell you a little bit about who’s on the ballots and what it means to cast a vote in the CT presidential primary.
The Connecticut ballot has been set by the secretary of state’s office since February 2016.
- Democrats will see the following candidates on the ballot, in an order determined by lottery: Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Uncommitted.
- Republican candidates on the ballot, in the lottery-determined order in which they will appear, are: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Donald J. Trump, John R. Katich, and Uncommitted.
Carson is still on the Republican ballot because he did not officially withdraw as a candidate before CT’s deadline. De La Fuente is a businessman from California who petitioned to get onto the Democratic ballot in Connecticut. “Uncommitted” votes determines the number of uncommitted delegates to the party’s convention.
What Does My Vote Mean?
CT Democrats select their delegates in a proportional manner, according to BallotPedia:
“Connecticut is expected to have 71 delegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Of this total, 55 will be ‘pledged delegates.’ National party rules stipulate how Democratic delegates in all states are allocated. Pledged delegates are allocated to a candidate in proportion to the votes he or she receives in a state’s primary or caucus. A candidate is eligible to receive a share of the state’s pledged delegates if he or she wins at least 15 percent of the votes cast in the primary or caucus.
“Sixteen party leaders and elected officials will serve as unpledged delegates. These delegates are not required to adhere to the results of a state’s primary or caucus.”
In contrast, the Republican primary voters select delegates in more of a “winner take all” measure:
“Connecticut is expected to have 28 delegates at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Of this total, 15 will be district-level delegates (three for each of the state’s five congressional districts). Connecticut’s district delegates will be allocated on a winner-take-all basis; the candidate who wins a plurality of the vote in a district will receive all of that district’s delegates. If a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the statewide primary vote, he or she will receive all of the state’s district delegates.
“Of the remaining 13 delegates, 10 will serve at-large. At-large delegates will be allocated on a proportional basis; a candidate must win at least 20 percent of the statewide primary vote in order to be eligible to receive any of the state’s at-large delegates. If a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the statewide vote, he or she will receive all of the state’s at-large delegates. In addition, three national party leaders (identified on the chart below as RNC delegates) will serve as bound delegates to the Republican National Convention. The RNC delegates will be required to pledge their support to the winner of the state’s primary.
Where do I go to vote?
Wilton is divided into three different voting districts, each with its own distinct polling place. All three of Wilton’s polling places will be open from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. on Primary Day. Both Democrats and Republicans vote in the same polling place.
- District 1 votes at Wilton High School (Clune Center)
- District 2 at Cider Mill School (Main Gym)
- District 3 at Middlebrook School (Gym)
If you are not sure of which district you’re in, visit the registrars’ webpage on the town’s website to input your street address, or to view a voting district map.
Because school will be in session that day, registrars are cautioning voters to be mindful that it’s an active school day—school bus lanes will be busy at arrival and dismissal times, and anyone entering needs to bring identification when to come to vote.
The different town entities are working together to try and make things as smooth as possible, says Young-Kleinfeld.
“What’s been consuming a lot of our attention for the last couple days is trying to work out plans with the Wilton Police Department, the superintendent of schools, and school principals for voter parking and access to the polling places because school is in session. They’ve been wonderful ….and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to balance the safety and convenience of our voters with that of our students, staff, and parents,” she says.