Part 1 – Interesting Facts
Citizens in Darien and across the country will once again have the chance to vote in elections this November to determine a wide range of local, state, and federal contests. Across the country, all of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be contested, as well as 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate. However, not everyone takes advantage of this constitutional right and even those who do, do not vote for all available races. A singular vote can make a difference, as we have seen a few times in history:
- In 1839, Marcus Morton won the Massachusetts gubernatorial race by one vote! This earned him the sardonic nickname of “Landslide”. Perhaps his nickname should have been “Stubborn”, because in addition to serving as the Governor over three non-consecutive terms, Mr. Morton also ran for Governor and lost on 12 different other occasions!
- In 1994, Randall Luthi and Larry Call generated the exact same number of votes in a race for a seat on the Wyoming House of Representatives. A recount didn’t change the tallies, with each receiving 1,941 votes. The solution? PingPong balls were placed into Governor Mike Sullivan’s cowboy hat, with Luthi’s ball being selected as the winner!
Date of Elections
Aside from defining a few basic requirements for presidential and congressional candidates, the U.S. Constitution left it up to individual states to handle the implementation of elections. While any federal election that involved the Electoral College needed to be decided by mid-December, states were still able to determine their own election dates. So why are elections held in November?
- Why vote on a Tuesday? – During the early 19th century, the country was driven by an agricultural economy where producing and maintaining farmland and crops was critical. Most people in the United States worked as farmers and typically lived far away from polling locations and traveled at least a day in order to vote. As a result, lawmakers needed to allot for a two-day period to enable voting, while avoiding church on Sundays and market days on Wednesdays. So, Tuesday was selected as the best day of the week.
- Why November? – Elections held during Spring or early Summer were deemed to interfere with the planting season, while elections held in early Fall would interfere with the harvest. This left November as the ideal month for farmers to be able to participate in elections.
Election day this year is Tuesday, November 8th. Visit the Darien town website at darien.gov/voting to get more information, or call the Registrar’s Office at (203) 656-7317. Your vote just might be a tie-breaker!
And Darien seniors remember, if you need a ride to get to a polling location, do not hesitate to call At Home In Darien. We will pick you up and bring you back home. Call us at (203) 655-2227 to arrange a ride.
Part 2 – Some Notable Voting Items (From AARP Connecticut)
Election rules have changed, and a law that was passed in 2021 now makes it easier to vote with an absentee ballot, by:
- Ensuring accessibility of drop boxes.
- Automatically providing absentee ballots to voters with temporary disabilities or chronic illnesses.
- Enabling people with visual impairment to receive absentee ballots electronically.
Additionally, a new law has recently passed that expands the eligibility for absentee voting, primarily for caretakers, commuters and other voters who are worried about illness.
- Previously, absentee ballots were only available to voters working out of town during polling hours, or, if they had an illness or physical issue that prevented them from voting during voting hours.
- The new law enables voters to potentially qualify for absentee ballots if they are traveling for part of election day, or if they have concerns about COVID-19 for themselves or someone else that they might be taking care of.
A few additional things to note:
Connecticut does not permit early in-person voting; any early voting must be done via absentee ballot.
- Voters must present a Social Security card or another form of ID showing either 1) their name and address, 2) their name and signature, or 3) their name and photograph.
- An affidavit may also be presented in place of the above requirements.
- Any first-time voters who have registered via mail, must show a current form of identification.
Additional info regarding CT voter ID requirements may be found at myvote.ct.gov
Registering to Vote
A few options are available, including:
- Visit myvote.ct.gov and select “Register to Vote”, or “Update Your Registration Online”
- You may also select “Voter Registration Paper Form” and print a copy – then mail to your local registrar’s office or you may bring it to the town clerk’s office.
Note: to be able to vote on Election Day, your form needs to be postmarked or received by November 1st.
And once again, remember Darien seniors . . .
If you need a ride to get to a polling location, do not hesitate to call At Home In Darien. We will pick you up and bring you back home. Call us at (203) 655-2227 to arrange a ride.