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Ballot order for the 2020 presidential preference primaries (ctnewsjunkie photo)

HARTFORD, CT —President Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be at the top of their respective primary ballots on Aug. 11.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill randomly selected the presidential candidates to decide the order for the ballots, which can now be printed. 

On the Republican Party ballot Trump will appear on the top line and Rocky De La Fuente will be on the second followed by “uncommitted.” Biden will be followed by Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard and “uncommitted.”

“What you’re choosing as a voter, when you’re voting as either a Democrat or Republican, in the presidential primary is your preference for delegates to the national convention,” Merrill said.

This year the Democratic National Convention will hold a scaled-down convention, which will include virtual components, in mid-August. The Republican National Convention was moved to Jacksonville, Florida in late August. It’s still unclear how much of both conventions will be held in person or virtually.

“It’s an unconventional year all the way around,” Merrill said.

The names of the candidates were chosen in February.

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Secretary of the State Denise Merrill picking the names for the Republican primary ballot (ctnewsjunkie photo)

Merrill said the “uncommitted” line is for people who don’t want to vote for the other candidates who are named on the ballot but may want to have their delegate go uncommitted to the convention.

There are 18 other primaries, three for Registrar of Voters, three for state Senate and 10 for state Representative. There are two Republican primaries for the First and Second Congressional Districts.

This year, for the first time, Merrill plans to send absentee ballot applications to every voter registered with a party in the state of Connecticut.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order allowing anyone concerned about their health to vote by absentee ballot.

Lamont said he’s telling people over the age of 65 and those with pre-existing health conditions to “stay home.” But he said staying home doesn’t mean they should give up their right to vote.

The General Assembly is expected to address the issue for the Nov. 3 election when they convene for a special session in July.

Merrill said even though the presidential primaries seem “settled” she thinks it’s still “very important for people to come out and express themselves.”

She said she thinks many people will decide to vote by absentee and her office will mail the applications out next week so that people have enough time to apply for an absentee ballot.

She said if there is a large number of people who choose to vote by absentee, it could take longer to tally the vote because there are many more protections for absentee ballots. She they will be providing additional funding to towns for extra help to count the absentee ballots.

Merrill said if any absentee ballots applications get returned because a person no longer lives at an address, then her office will make sure the Registrar of Voters gets that information. Merrill said the Registrar of Voters will then contact that person and verify whether the voter still lives at the location before removing them from the voter rolls. She said if they can’t reach a voter, the person could be moved to the inactive voter rolls.