Voting by Absentee Ballot

There are a good many rules about who can and can't vote by absentee and how the ballots are given out.

Did you know you can’t vote by absentee ballot just because you don’t feel like going to the polls on Election Day?

That’s one of the many rules or requirements of voting by absentee ballot as established by the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office.

There are only certain conditions under which a voter can cast an absentee ballot with their town clerk and they are:

  • You’re an active military service member.
  • You’re going to be out of town during polling hours.
  • You’re sick or physically disabled.
  • Your religion forbids secular activity on that day.
  • You work for the town on the election and will be at a polling place other than your own.

For any election, including primaries, absentee ballots must be filed with the municipal clerk before the close of polls on Election Day. They can be filed ahead of time as well. Absentee ballots are available for any election,  primary or referendum, but you have to fill out an application form with your town clerk before he or she can issue you an absentee ballot. Applications are also available at any town clerk’s office.

To cast the ballot, mark the card and return it to the town clerk's office in the town where you live.

If you’re helping someone else, or several other people, with absentee ballots, state elections officials have a host of rules and regulations about that as well.

For instance, you can distribute applications for absentee ballots, but if you try to get five or more applications from your town clerk the state requires that you register with the clerk first. You can, however, pick up five or more applications for absentee ballots for immediate family members without having to register with your town clerk.

You can help people fill out the absentee ballot application, but you can’t be present or help them fill out the actual absentee ballot unless you’re an immediate family member or health care provider and the voter has designated you to do so. You also have to immediately return absentee ballot application forms to the town clerk.

You can’t take possession of a completed absentee ballot filled out by someone else and you can’t deliver it to local election officials on their behalf.

It’s a class D felony to possess an absentee ballot filled out by anyone else and for any politician, candidate or political party committee member to be present when a voter fills out an absentee ballot. It’s also a felony to make a false statement in absentee balloting or to misrepresent to voters the eligibility requirements for absentee ballots. Such violations carry civil fines of up to $2,000 and criminal fines of up to $5,000, under state election laws.

For a fact sheet with more information on absentee balloting click here, or see the PDF above.

Benjamin Dover October 19, 2011 at 04:20 AM
Jim, as far as "fretting over a muddy sentence of no consequence" that's disrespectful. Just because it's your OPINION that it's unimportant, does not change the fact that the author is wrong. When people like her (and you) give false, misleading and inaccurate information it causes problems and leads people to believe things that are simply not true. There is a huge difference between something "established by the Secretary of the State" and what is in the CONSTITUTION of the State of Connecticut. You seem to think you're pretty smart which means someone like you should be very sensitive and mindful of the fact that no executive branch office or official has any power to make laws or regulations let alone write the Constitution of the State of Connecticut. The power to adopt regulations and law rests with the LEGISLATIVE branch of government, just in case you happened to miss that most basic of government concepts in junior high school. As to you complaining about "hijacking" discussion threads Jim, you need to look in mirror. Guys like you crack me up, you whine and moan and complain about something you find objectionable yet engage in the exact behavior you purport to abhor. Re-posted here because Dehner keeps deleting my comments.
Maria Giannuzzi October 19, 2011 at 11:02 AM
This is an issue that is not black or white. It is an issue where people of good will can disagree. Not everyone is an attorney who has an in-depth knowledge of state law and the state consitution. Absentee ballots have they place. It is possible to have safeguards that will help to discourage fraud. But we will never have a perfect voting system. Grown-ups do not expect perfection. It does not help your argument when you make disparaging remarks about individuals who are commenting on this article.
R Eleveld October 19, 2011 at 11:42 AM
I am sorry to disagree. As a person that HAS run for office, and an elected official who depends on honest voting to stay in office, or, not stay in office, an honest election with NO fraud is important. So I EXPECT a perfect election so those who care enough to vote are truly counted. The problem with elections is not the vote its the candidate choices have become more polarized because the wide swath of 'unaffiliated' voters are not involved in the primary process. The Republicans, AND the Democrats that are left become a polarized partisan syrup, which requires more polarized candidates to win their respective primaries. When those candidates go to the general election the unafffiliated do not like the choices so they choose not to show up to vote. If the unaffiliated moved to a party, regardless of which party, the candidates to come out of the primaries would be arguably more electable by a majority of the potential voters. This presumes that people do understand that when you are in the votiong booth you can vote for ANYONE and you do not have to vote only for a Republican or a Democrat. You may think that is logical, however you should walk around, moreso in Connecticut as a Republican, and listen. Some of the comments I have heard are a concern. True Story. A person asked me a few years ago my position on the "war". I was running for Town Council. Town and school issues were not a concern. I have many others. So come run for office.
Jim G. October 19, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Maria, you're absolutely right on all counts. The article is one of the more useful contributions by Patch in the elections coverage, and those having hysterics over language or (as always) using the comments as a political soapbox should be ignored. I admire and value your sparing comments in this venue.
Maria Giannuzzi October 19, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Thanks for your kind words, Jim. And for overlooking my typos. (I wish Patch had a spell check.) Mr. Eleveld, I understand your concern about having an honest election. But I would be much more concerned about mistakes than fraud in the election process. Running out of ballots or having election staff who do not know procedures has become much more of a problem. People are concerned about many issues, including national and state issues. Some individuals feel, often with good reason, that many national issues impact state and local issues. Personally, I am more interested in local issues, because I have an opportunity to perhaps directly influence their outcome. But I respect individuals who may focus on national issues. And elected officials, whether they are local, state or national, have to acclimatize themselves to this reality.


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