This story is part of CT Mirror Explains, an ongoing effort to distill our wide-ranging reporting into a "what you need to know" format and provide practical information to our readers.
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Americans will head to the polls across the nation to elect governors, state legislators and municipal leaders.
Here in Connecticut, it’ll be a hyperlocal affair with dozens of mayors, first selectmen, councilors and alders up for election.
Here’s what you should know.
How do I register to vote, and when is the deadline?
The deadline to register electronically or by mail is seven days before the election which is Oct. 31 this year.
Where can I check if I’m registered to vote?
You can check your voting status on the Secretary of the State’s Voter Registration Lookup.
Can I register to vote on Election Day?
You can but not at your polling location. Towns have designated Election Day Registration locations set up. The 2023 same-day registration sites will be posted here.
Can I vote by absentee or early?
You can vote absentee if you cannot appear for reasons like active military service, sickness, physical disability, you will be out of town on Election Day or religious tenets. To apply, voters can request the ballot online or by completing a paper application and returning it to the clerk. If you are applying within six days of an application, you must submit an emergency application, which is only granted after meeting certain requirements.
Early voting has been authorized by the state legislature and governor after a referendum passed in support of early voting last year, but those changes go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2024, meaning this is the last election in Connecticut that will not have early voting.
How do I find my polling location?
Check on the Secretary of the State’s website. Note, your polling place may have changed so check the website before you vote.
Do I need to do anything if I have moved since the last time I voted?
Yes, you must re-register in your new municipality on the online portal, and if you have moved within your municipality you must still re-register at the new address at the same portal.
You can also mail in or deliver a voter registration form to your local registrar of voters office.
What time are the polls open?
Polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. If you are in line at 8 p.m. you can still vote after polls close.
Do I need to bring an ID to vote?
You will be asked to provide a government-issued ID, a different ID with your name and photo, a credit card with your name and signature, or any document like a utility bill or checkbook that has your name and address. If you can not provide any of these documents, then you will be asked to sign an affidavit instead.
What are the races in Connecticut’s largest cities?
In Hartford, Democrat Arunan Arulampalam, CEO of the Hartford Land Bank, will face off against Republican Mike McGarry and four petitioning candidates: veteran and entrepreneur Giselle Jacobs, city councilman Nick Lebron, pastor Stan McCauley and Every Politically Independent Citizen candidate Mark Greenstein.
Gov. Ned Lamont, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and current Mayor Luke Bronin, who is not running for reelection, have all endorsed Arulampalam in the Democratic stronghold city.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker, a two-term incumbent, is also up for reelection. He is facing off against Republican Tom Goldenberg and petitioning candidate Wendy Hamilton. Goldenberg originally contested the election in the Democratic primary, but after losing that race, he was nominated as the Republican and Independent parties’ candidate for New Haven mayor.
Goldenberg is a former McKinsey & Co. consultant, and he has criticized Elicker for supporting methadone clinics and APT foundation homes. Elicker defeated Mayor Toni Harp in 2019 and is running on a record of leading New Haven through the COVID-19 pandemic and improving the city’s finances. Elicker’s opponents have also accused him of allowing economic inequality in the city, harming middle-class and poor citizens, as well as overseeing a rise in crime.
And in Bridgeport, seven-term incumbent Joe Ganim faces off against John Gomes again after a controversial primary. Also on the ballot are Lamond Daniels, an unaffiliated petitioning candidate, and Republican David Herz.
Ganim has served as Bridgeport’s mayor for seven terms. Between terms five and six, he went to prison for seven years for public corruption. During the Democratic primary on Sept. 12, he faced off against Gomes. Ganim won by 251 votes after an overwhelming number of absentee ballots were counted.
Gomes then released footage showing a supposed Ganim supporter stuffing an absentee ballot drop box with ballots, and Gomes filed a lawsuit to overturn the primary election. The trial is now over and the judge is expected to release a decision soon.
Meanwhile, residents can still request absentee ballots, register to vote, and vote in person on Nov. 7 during the election. The Secretary of the State and other election officials have said absentee ballots remain a safe and secure way to vote in an election.
To see the names on the ballot in your town, visit the Secretary of the State’s website.