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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: Register to Vote
 

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  OCTOBER 3, 2012 --

In November we will be taking time to cast our votes for whomever we wish to lead our country.  In Connecticut we will be selecting a Senator and five Congressmen who will represent the state in Washington, DC as well as a President.  We also will be selecting our state senators and representatives along with many local town officials.  The election process is long with the Presidential selection process starting over a year ago.  For 18 to 21 year olds, this will be their first Presidential election.

Recently I had someone mention that they had taken their grandchild to register to vote.  In their discussion on voting and the process they became aware that there are some who do not understand the whole process.  Questions arose such as to how much it would cost to be able to vote.  They wanted to know if they registered for a party would they have to vote for only that party.  What was the procedure for voting?  How long does it take to vote?  What would happen if they could not get to the polls for that day?  Did that mean they could not vote?  Would they get fined if they did not vote?  Where do I go and when is it open?   Are the ballot secret or would they be tracked?

These are all questions that many long time voters would not think of.  We, first as Americans, then also as Grangers, should see that all new voters are educated in the whole process.  That there is no cost for voting, that voting is a right given to all American citizens.  It is alright to vote for whomever we want to regardless if they are on the ballot or not.  We don’t have to vote for people listed on the party that we are registered for.  It is alright to not vote for an office if we do now know who they are or feel that we don’t want to vote for anyone running for that office.  Just because we have two major parties listed it does not mean that we have to vote for either.  There are many smaller parties that are also on many ballots.  Remember Governor Lowell Weicker ran and won as an independent.

Where we go to vote and when?  Many newspapers publish this information just before Election Day but you can also go to the Secretary or States web site (www.sots.ct.gov) to obtain locations or just call your town hall.  We do need to remember this season that the state just went through a redistricting process.  Some people were moved into different voting districts and that may mean they need to go to different locations to vote.  

Remember, if you are unable to get to the polls on Election Day either due to health, travel, work or other reasons, you can request an absentee ballot be sent to you.  These will be available 31 days prior to an election and can be found on-line at the Secretary of States web site.  You can also go directly to your town hall and pick one up or have a family member pick one up for you.  The application request must be postmarked or received by the 14th day prior to an election or in person at the Registrars of Voters office by the 7th day prior to an election.  They must be returned to the town hall no later than the close of the polls on the day of the election.

We do need to remember to stress that by voting we are deciding who we want to manage our nation and state.   There have been wars fought over the rights to vote.  This is a right given to all citizens regardless of race, religion, age, sex or disability.  For those who say their one vote will not make a difference, remember the primary ballot we just went through.  The selection of the person who will be listed on the ballot for fifth district state representative was decided by ONE VOTE.  An absentee ballot may have been the deciding vote.

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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