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Voter guide: What to know ahead of CT's November election

STONINGTON, CT - Thaler Hefel inserts his ballot into the ballot box with his child, Heia, on his shoulders at the Stonington Borough Fire House. All five of the Connecticut’s congressional districts are on the ballot, along with high-profile contests for governor, U.S. Senate, statewide candidates for constitutional office and dozens of General Assembly seats. Photograph by Greg Miller/Connecticut Public
Greg Miller
/
Connecticut Public
Thaler Hefel inserts his ballot into the ballot box with his child, Heia, on his shoulders at the Stonington Borough Fire House on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.

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Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7, and voters across Connecticut will cast ballots in a number of municipal elections, including contests for mayor in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven.

Ballots will vary depending on where you live. Registered voters should double-check their polling location before voting. Connecticut also allows Election Day voter registration.

Here’s what you need to know for Election Day.

When are polls open?

Polls in Connecticut are open Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Any elector still standing in line at the polls at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Where do I vote?

Registered voters can look up their polling place here.

I would like to register to vote. What should I do?

The cut off for voters to register to vote is Oct. 31. “All mail-in voter registration applications must be received by the Registrar, or postmarked by this date. Online applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on this date,” according to the office of the Secretary of the State.

Does CT allow Election Day voter registration?

Yes. People may register and vote in person on Election Day, provided they meet eligibility requirements for voting in Connecticut and are not already registered. People registered in one town who moved can also register on Election Day to vote in their new town.

Election Day registration is not available at your polling place, but at a designated location in each town. That’s usually Town Hall, but check with your local registrars’ office.

Do you need to show photo identification in order to vote?

No. Instead of presenting ID, voters can, in most cases, sign an affidavit when poll workers ask for ID. The identification does not need to be a driver’s license. It also does not need to have a photo. Here is a detailed list of Connecticut’s in-person voter ID requirements.

Can I vote by absentee ballot?

Yes. Absentee ballots are allowed for Election Day. People can apply in-person at the local Town Clerk’s office or online. Mail-in applications are also available in English and Spanish.

There is no cutoff for applying for an absentee ballot, provided it is returned on time. Ballots are subject to different deadlines depending on how they are returned.

  • In-person by voter to the Town Clerk – Monday, Nov. 6
  • In-person by a qualified designee of an ill or physically disabled applicant – Tuesday, Nov. 7, by 8 p.m.
  • To a drop box – Tuesday, Nov. 7, by 8 p.m.
  • By mail – must be received by Tuesday, Nov. 7, by 8 p.m.

Connecticut law allows for absentee voting due to illness, physical disability, religious reasons, active military service and other qualifying reasons.

What are some of the major races?

The most high-profile race is the mayoral seat in Bridgeport, which has been the subject of an ongoing court battle dating back to the Sept. 12 primary. But a number of other cities and towns are holding elections for mayor and local governing boards.

View the ballot for your town. Here are some town-by-town highlights:

Bridgeport

In Bridgeport, two-term incumbent mayor Joe Ganim, who was sent to federal prison for corruption charges following his first stint as mayor in the ‘90s and early 2000s, narrowly won the city’s Democratic primary in September by 251 votes.

But the primary results were quickly contested in state court by John Gomes, Ganim’s challenger and former aide. Gomes filed a complaint after video emerged of a person making what appeared to be multiple early morning trips to stuff stacks of papers into a ballot drop box.

Gomes is requesting a state judge certify him the winner of the September primary or order a new election. On Nov. 1, Superior Court Judge William Clark overturned the primary results and ordered a new election.

A Ganim victory on Nov. 7 would likely set the stage for another primary, according to lawyers for both Ganim and Gomes. But if Gomes wins in the general election, that could bring the litigation to a close.

Gomes is listed as the Independent Party’s candidate for the November election. Ganim and Gomes will face Republican challenger David Herz and petitioning candidate Lamond Daniels.

Danbury

Danbury’s mayoral ballot features a rematch of the 2021 election when Republican Dean Esposito narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Roberto Alves.

A major sticking point in the election is education. Despite state approval in 2018 of a new charter school in Danbury, a new academy in the city hasn’t sprouted up yet.

Speaking on Connecticut Public’s “The Wheelhouse,” Esposito supported building the school because it could reduce class sizes at the state’s largest high school, Danbury High.

“The goal has been simple: to move forward with the charter school. But, unfortunately, our state senator and a few of our state representatives threw up a roadblock there,” Esposito said.

A majority of state lawmakers — including Democrats representing Danbury — aren’t in favor of funding the project with state money.

Alves doesn’t support the school because he thinks more money should go into the city’s existing public schools.

“I think we can address the challenges within the confines of our Danbury Public Schools systems,” Alves said.

Republicans have held the city’s top seat for more than two decades.

Derby

In Derby, a man who faces federal charges for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is looking to become the city’s next mayor.

Gino DiGiovanni, Jr., an alderman, narrowly defeated incumbent Republican mayor Richard Dziekan during a September primary which was so close the race went to a recount.

While DiGiovanni has acknowledged being at the Capitol on Jan. 6, he’s denied any wrongdoing. He was photographed in the Capitol Rotunda. DiGiovanni was elected as an alderman 10 months after the attack.

The Republican nominee faces a challenge from Democrat Joe DiMartino, who previously ran for mayor in 2021. Dziekan is also on the ballot as a petitioning candidate, which has sparked concerns among the city’s Republican Town Committee, which endorsed DiGiovanni, that the GOP vote could be split.

Sharlene McEvoy, a retired law professor, is also running as a petitioning candidate.

Hartford

The departure of Mayor Luke Bronin left an open seat in this heavily Democratic city with political newcomer Arunan Arulampalam winning the city’s Democratic primary in September.

Arulampalam, CEO of the Hartford Land Bank, will face a challenge in November from former state Sen. Eric Coleman, a retired Superior Court judge who is running as a write-in candidate.

The pair will face Republican challenger Mike McGarry, who served on the city council in the 1990s. Several people are listed as petitioning candidates on the ballot – Giselle Gigi Jacobs, Councilman Nick Lebron, J. Stan McCauley and Mark Stewart Greenstein.

New Haven

Incumbent Mayor Justin Elicker easily won the city’s Democratic primary in September, defeating challenger Liam Brennan, a legal aid attorney and former federal prosecutor who took on ex-Gov. John Rowland in a 2014 corruption trial that led to Rowland’s second stint in federal prison.

Elicker, who defeated former Mayor Toni Harp in 2019, cites his accomplishments leading the city through the COVID-19 pandemic and his work in housing and youth services.

He is running for a third term and will face Republican challenger Thomas Goldenberg and petitioning candidate Wendy Hamilton.

Waterbury

Four candidates are vying to become Waterbury’s next mayor. Neil O’Leary, who’s been mayor of the city for nearly 12 years, is not running for reelection.

Speaking on Connecticut Public’s “The Wheelhouse,” Board of Aldermen President Paul Pernerewski, the Democrat on the ballot, said the city needs to do better on education.

“We’ve built brand new schools. We’ve got some terrific programs out there,” he said. “But we have a lot of kids who still aren’t making the grade. They’re falling through the cracks. They have a lot of issues. I don’t think we’ve focused enough on how we can get that improved.”

Karen Jackson, an independent petitioning candidate, said if elected, she’d work to tackle homelessness.

“Homelessness is one of the main things that I will help eradicate in Waterbury by building transitional tiny villages where people can be there for two years and then, thereafter, build permanent housing,” Jackson said.

Democrat Keisha Gilliams, a petitioning candidate, said she wants to focus on jobs and cut the city’s taxes, which she said are some of the highest in the state.

“When I hear people speak highly and say they want to hold on to what Neil O’Leary has done, I have a problem with that,” Gilliams said. “My main concern is going to be the taxes.”

Republican Dawn Maiorano declined an invitation to appear on the program, but has also cited issues with the city’s high tax rate and said she’ll work to reduce Waterbury’s spending.

West Haven

West Haven voters will pick a new mayor in November after three-term mayor Nancy Rossi announced she wouldn’t run again. Democrat Dorinda Borer and Republican Barry Lee Cohen are running in the race, which comes during a time of dire finances for the city.

A state board is monitoring West Haven’s finances and a staff member in Rossi’s administration was arrested and sentenced to prison for using COVID-19 relief dollars to fund his gambling addiction.

Speaking on Connecticut Public’s “The Wheelhouse,” Cohen said, if elected, he’d try to save the city money through stricter budgeting. He also wants to rehab the city’s image in a marketing campaign.

“We don’t showcase ourselves,” Cohen said. “There is such unbelievable potential in West Haven, and right now, we are a city of missed opportunity. We’re hard to do business with. We don’t pick up the phone. We don’t return emails.”

Cohen lost the last mayoral election to Rossi by just 29 votes.

For six years, West Haven has been monitored by the State Municipal Accountability Review Board.

Borer said if she’s elected, she’d install a new team that would work with the board.

“We all know what a great city we have, but it’s time the rest of the world knows,” Borer said. “We’ve been certainly overshadowed by negativity and it’s time to turn that around.”

The team would include a new finance director, city attorney and grants writer, Borer said. She’d also move to train financial personnel.

This story will be updated. Connecticut Public’s Frankie Graziano, Eddy Martinez, Cassandra Basler, John Henry Smith, Matt Dwyer, Kate Seltzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Note: Arunan Arulampalam's father-in-law is Gregory B. Butler, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Connecticut Public.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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