A voter fills out a ballot in Enfield in 2021 Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Unaffiliated Connecticut residents seeking to cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary election are facing deadlines today to become members of a political party by mail or online.

Voters must be affiliated with a party in order to participate in that party’s primary election next week. While in-person registration remains an option until Monday, voters planning on making those changes from home were just about out of time on Thursday.

Mail-In Options

Mail-in party registration paperwork for already-registered voters seeking to become members of a party must be postmarked by Thursday, meaning simply dropping the paperwork in a mailbox may risk missing the deadline. 

Meanwhile, unregistered voters who planned to mail in their registration paperwork should already consider visiting their town offices in person instead because their mailed-in applications must be received by today. 

Online Options

Residents can register to vote online and affiliate with a political party up until 11:59 p.m. Thursday. However, they should be aware of special considerations if they do not possess a driver’s license or state-issued identification. 

Without those IDs, voters will be unable to digitally sign their online forms and will be required to print them out and sign them physically, meaning they will probably be required to make a trip to their town offices as the paperwork is unlikely to reach its destination by mail on time.

In-Person Option

Physically reporting to their town registrar of voters to register to vote or become a member of a political party will remain an option for Connecticut residents up until noon on Monday, the day before the primary election. Unlike during the general election, there is no same-day registration option available during the primary.

Other Considerations

Connecticut voters who are already members of a political party but planned to switch affiliation in order to vote in another party’s primary are already out of luck. The deadline to switch from Democrat to Republican or Republican to Democrat was back in May, 90 days before the primary.

Another policy unique to primary elections involves 17-year-old voters. Connecticut allows 17 year-olds to register with a political party and cast ballots in that party’s primary, so long as they will turn 18 on or before Election Day in November.

In a phone interview Thursday, Christopher Prue, the Democratic registrar of voters in Vernon who serves as president of the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut, said he had seen some modest activity in the past week as residents who recently moved to town stopped by to register ahead of next week’s primary. He urged other residents to get involved in the process before Tuesday. 

“There are lots of opportunities. As of today it’s a short time frame but there’s lots of opportunities to register to vote,” Prue said. “Even if you’re unsure you want to vote, I would just get registered if you think there’s a chance. That way you can still vote on Tuesday.”

Prue said anyone confused or concerned about the process of registering or voting in the primary should contact their local registrars. He also urged residents to consider helping their towns staff local polling locations. 

“There are communities in the state that are struggling to fill positions just because it’s still in the summer,” Prue said. “A lot of people are on vacation that registrars would normally hire. Folks are on vacation because it’s August. It’s a little easier in November.”