How to vote by mail using an absentee ballot in Connecticut

A special ballot box is set up outside New London City Hall in New London, Conn. (AP file photo)

Election Day 2020 is officially Tuesday, Nov. 3. The polls will be open in Connecticut for the general election — which of course includes the presidential contest between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden — but registered voters can avoid the polls if they prefer.

In light of the risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut now allows any registered voter to use an absentee ballot for the upcoming election. This is de facto mail-in voting. 

"Polling places will remain open in Connecticut, for all voters who choose to cast their ballots in person," Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said in a statement. "For the November 2020 Election, the Legislature passed [legislation] allowing all voters to vote by absentee ballot if they choose to because of COVID-19." 

Merrill said elections authorities would be sending all registered voters an application to receive an absentee ballot. You can also download an application in either English language or Spanish language. After filling out the application, you can either mail it to or drop it off at your town clerk's office. 

The clerk's office will process your application and then mail you an absentee ballot.

"Complete the ballot, carefully following the instructions that are included and return it by mail or in person," according to the Office of Secretary of the State. "Only complete absentee ballots received before the close of polls on the day of the election will be counted."

So this is important: Your absentee ballot must be received by Nov. 3 at 8 p.m., which is when the polls close. In recent months, cutbacks, controversy, criticism, and coronavirus have rocked the U.S. Postal Service. So you should apply for an absentee ballot now and then return the completed ballot as soon as possible. However, if you'd rather avoid mailing it, you can instead submit your absentee ballot at:

  • Your town clerk's office
  • Secure drop box (this will likely be located outside of your town hall)

If you haven't registered to vote yet, you can do so online, by mail, or in-person if you meet the eligibility requirements. The deadline for pre-election voter registration is seven days before Election Day but Connecticut also offers Election Day registration. NOTE: Day-of registration is not available at your polling place; it will be available at designated Election Day registration locations. (Continues below)

(FOX 5 NY illustration via AP and images)

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  • Mid-September: Elections officials begin mailing absentee ballot applications to registered voters.
  • Friday, Oct. 2: First day that absentee ballots are available.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27: Last day to register to vote ahead of the election (online, in person, or USPS postmarked application)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 3: ELECTION DAY (polls are open 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.); last day to deliver your absentee ballot in person (no later than 8 p.m.); last day a mailed absentee ballot can be received at a clerk's office to be considered valid (no later than 8 p.m.); same-day voter registration available at designated locations. 

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