|VOTING: PRIVILEGE AND RESPONSIBILITY|
Voting is both a privilege and a civic responsibility. You must register to vote here in Town if you want to participate fully in the public issues facing Washington and elect the officials who will decide them.
The Washington Democratic Town Committee (WDTC) offers the following voter guide, complete with useful computer links, so that you easily take every step in the process.
Where to Vote
In general elections (for municipal, state, and national offices), the Town of Washington has just one polling place for all of its five villages—that is, Washington Depot, Washington Green, New Preston, Woodville, and Marbledale. It is in Bryan Memorial Town Hall, which is located on Bryan Plaza, across the parking lot from the Washington Food Market. The telephone number of the Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall is: (860) 868-2786.
Voting also occurs at Town Hall during Town Meetings. Washington is among the small number of Connecticut towns that are governed by town meetings, where Washington taxpayers form the Town’s legislative body. At these Town Hall meetings, many key issues are debated and voted on, such as adoption of new Town ordinances; amendments to existing ones; and special funding appropriations for items not included in the budget. Town Meetings are announced in Voices, the local twice-weekly newspaper, at least five days beforehand.
Voting on various Town referendums also occurs in Town Hall on issues such as the adoption of a proposed Region 12 school budget.
Voting at Democratic Party caucuses is often held in Town Hall. If a different location is chosen, it will be announced in advance in Voices.
Who Can VoteIn General Elections
To vote here in an election (for municipal, state or national office), you must be registered to vote in the Town of Washington. To vote as a Democrat in a primary or election, you must register at least two weeks before Election Day.
To register you must:
(1) be a United States citizen;
(2) a bone fide resident of the Town of Washington;
(3) at least 18 years old (17-year-olds who will turn 18 by Election Day may register up to 180 days before Election Day); and
(4) if previously convicted of a felony, have completed confinement and parole.
Election Day Photo I.D.
On Election Day, voters will be asked to provide a photo I.D. to confirm their identity. A driver’s license with photo on it will suffice. If a valid license is unavailable, voters can fill in a form that will be given to them at the check-in desk at Town Hall. A United State passport or Social Security card may be substituted for a driver’s license.
To vote at a referendum, one must be either (1) registered to vote in the Town of Washington or (2) a United States citizen, who is at least 18 years old, and owns property in Town assessed at $1,000 or more in the most recent grand tax assessment list (Grand List). One may be a registered voter elsewhere but still vote at a referendum if one owns the necessary level of property here. One may also apply for an absentee ballot, for a referendum. Referendums are announced in Voices, the local, twice-weekly newspaper.
Voters at referendums must provide the same form(s) of identification required at general elections (see above).
At Town Meetings
The qualifications for voting at Town Meetings are the same as for referendums (see above). Unlike referendums, however, there are no absentee ballots; one may only vote in person.
At Democratic Caucus
To vote at a Democratic caucus, you must be registered to vote as a Democrat in the Town of Washington. Candidates for Washington elective office (such as Board of Selectmen and various boards and commissions) are selected at a July caucus held in odd-numbered years. Democratic Town Committee members are elected at a January caucus held in even-numbered years. Convention delegates are selected at a spring caucus held in even-numbered years.
How to Register to VoteFour Alternatives
Citizens can register to vote in the Town of Washington in one of four ways:
(1) in person at Bryan Memorial Town Hall, from Monday through Friday, between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, in the Town Clerk’s Office (860-868-2786);
(2) in person at any other town hall in Connecticut;
(3) by mail (see Voter Registration forms, below); or
(4) at special voter registration sessions that are announced in the local newspapers and held prior to primaries and elections by the Secretary of State.
Complete a voter registration form and submit it to the Registrar of Voters fourteen days before the election. Proof of residence is required. Remember to notify the Registrar if you later change your name or move within the Town.
Registrar of Voters Town of Washington Online
Voter Registration forms
Voter registration application forms are available at Town Hall for in-person registration. Forms are also available online for registration by mail from Connecticut's Secretary of State.
How to VoteNew Ballot Technology
The Town of Washington uses an optical-scan ballot, which requires voters to complete paper ballots and scan them for verification and tabulation. The technology provides a paper trail for every vote.
Voters may also vote at the polls using the Vote-by-Phone system, which combines a telephone-fax interaction. Designed for the visually impaired, it may be used by any voter instead of the optical scanner.
For information about using either technology, download one of the instructional items below.
How to Use the New Optical Scan Ballot
Download a Sample Optical Scan Ballot, PDF Format
Download a Pocket Instruction Guide (2 pages), PDF Format
Download a 90-second Video
How to Use the Vote-by-Phone System
Download a Pocket Instruction Guide, PDF Format
Download a 1-minute Video
Absentee ballots may be requested for any of the following reasons:
· illness or physical disability;
· absence from Washington during voting hours;
· religious belief forbidding secular activity on Election Day;
· active military service; or
· the need to serve as an election official at another polling place during all the hours of voting.
You must apply for an absentee ballot. Application forms are available at the Town Clerk’s office in Bryan Memorial Town Hall, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 AM through 4:30 PM (860-868-2786). You can also request forms by telephone from the office of the Connecticut Secretary of State (860-509-6200).
Forms can also be downloaded online from Secretary of State.
Voters need not apply in person. Parents may request applications for children who are away at school; adult children may request applications for elderly parents. If someone, such as a nursing home staff member, requests over ten applications, a list of voters to whom the forms will be given is required.
When using the mail for any part of the process, leave sufficient time before Election Day for the application to be received by you; the completed ballot to be mailed out by you; and the mailed ballot to be delivered to the Town Clerk no later than Election Day. For ballots being mailed overseas, express mail postage should be included with the application. Express mail postage should also be included if timing is an issue.
As soon as they are available in October, absentee ballots for an election will be given or mailed to those who submit a completed application form, signed by a qualified voter. Absentee ballots for a referendum will be available at Town Hall two days after the Town Meeting that established the referendum date.