Residents not registered to vote in the Town of Mansfield may do so online in time for the upcoming municipal election on Tuesday, Nov. 7, in which voters will select their next representatives for Town Council and Board of Education.
The last day to register through Connecticut’s online voter registration system at https://voterregistration.ct.gov is Oct. 31, Mansfield Democratic Registrar Jeanne Ahern Mogayzel said.
“You should always be registered to vote, no matter where you are…that’s really the only way we know what the voters in town are thinking or wanting, is if you vote,” Mogayzel said. “That said, an educated voter is always the best voter. Know who the candidates are, know who you’re voting for and make sure that your vote is your vote, that you know why you’re voting for this person.”
As part of the online registration process, residents will enter their name, date of birth, whether they are a US citizen and if they will be 18 on or before election day, according to Mogayzel. Residents will also enter a Connecticut driver’s license number; those without a Connecticut driver’s license can input the last four digits of their social security number, Mogayzel said.
Residents will also enter their address and mailing information, Mogayzel said. UConn students who live on campus in a residence hall will enter “University of Connecticut 1” as their address, according to Mogayzel.
“That establishes your residency in Mansfield so that you’re allowed to vote in Mansfield,” Mogayzel said. “(Your mailing address), if you live on campus, is your room number and your dorm name.”
Mogayzel said residents may also choose whether to enter their phone number or gender identity. Residents will additionally decide if they wish to enroll in a political party.
Residents who have previously registered to vote in Connecticut towns other than Mansfield will also enter those voting addresses, Mogayzel said. UConn students from out of state will not enter prior voting addresses from states outside Connecticut, according to Mogayzel.
“If you’re not sure if you were registered to vote before you came to UConn, just put down your home address (if it is in Connecticut) so that we can check the registrations from other towns and make sure that we don’t have a duplicate registration for you,” Mogayzel said.
Mogayzel said residents will swear or affirm that they are a US citizen, officially live at Mansfield address, are 18 on or before election day, have not been convicted of a disenfranchising felony and have provided truthful information; they may also choose whether to work the polls on election day. Residents will then sign, date and attach an electronic signature to their online registration.
Residents should then be on the lookout for a letter from the town which confirms their registration and includes information about the district in which they will vote on election day, Mogayzel said.
“Now the important thing to remember is, just because you filled this out and submitted it does not mean you’re a registered voter,” Mogayzel said. “When we accept your registration here in Mansfield, we then send you a letter in the mail to your mailing address saying, ‘Your registration is confirmed.’”
According to Mogayzel, residents can confirm on Connecticut’s voter registration lookup website at http://portal.ct.gov/sots that their registration has been accepted; they can also verify the district that they will vote on Election Day. UConn students who live on campus are in district one and vote in the Mansfield Community Center, Mogayzel said.
Students who live off-campus in Mansfield may not vote in District One, but in one of the town’s other three voting districts, Mansfield Town Clerk Sara-Ann Chaine said.
Residents may also complete a mail-in voter registration card to register to vote, Mogayzel said.
“You can get one of these cards from many agencies,” Mogayzel said. “The town hall has them, the DMV has them, the registrar’s office on campus has them.”
Residents who choose to register to vote on election day will go to Mansfield Town Hall to do so, Mogayzel said. A laptop will be set up at which residents can register online, according to Mogayzel.
“You will need to show us proof of residency in Mansfield,” Mogayzel said. “If the student lives on campus, they would show us a copy of their fee bill. And if they want to just pull it up on their phone to show us, that’s fine, too.”
Mogayzel said students who live off campus can bring a piece of mail with their name and address on it as proof of Mansfield residency.
“(In the 2016 election) a lot of kids brought in labels from Amazon packages,” Mogayzel said.
On Election Day, individuals should bring a photo ID with them to the polls.
Absentee ballots are presently available for the municipal election, according to Chaine. Residents complete an application to receive such a ballot, and the application will ask the applicant to choose the applicable circumstance which precludes them from coming to the polls on election day.
“We’ll check…the application against the records, and as long as everything checks out all right then we pack up the ballot along with instructions and special envelopes for mailing back and for keeping that ballot information safe and secure and private,” Chaine said.
The deadline to return absentee ballots to town hall by mail or in-person is 5 p.m. on Election Day, Chaine said.
“We do check with the post office to make sure they don’t have any stragglers over there,” Chaine said.
There are two petitioning candidates for town council this year, according to Chaine. Petitioning candidates are not nominated by the Republican or Democratic parties, and the two petitioning candidates on this year’s ballot for town council are both registered as unaffiliated.
The petitioning candidates qualify as minority party candidates because they are unaffiliated, according to Chaine.
“Mansfield has for their town council…minority representation, which means that three seats on the council are guaranteed to members of a minority party,” Chaine said. “So there’s the majority party, where most people are registered as, or they have the higher number of registered voters in that particular party, whatever that may be, in this town it’s the Democratic party. And then any other party is considered a minority party.”
The three Republican candidates for town council also qualify as minority party candidates, Chaine said. The six Democratic candidates for town council comprise the majority party six seats on the council, according to Chaine.
“So if any of the minority party folks gets more votes than a Democratic party, majority party member, then the majority party member can be essentially unseated, and you could have…more minority party representation on the council than majority party representation, depending on what the vote numbers are,” Chaine said.
Mogayzel said she encourages individuals to register to vote in Mansfield, as well as in any towns to which they may move in the future.
“When you go to the next town, make sure that you’re registered in the next town. And by doing that, you start to build an election history, which is good to know that you voted in every election since you were eligible to vote, or where you voted,” Mogayzel said. “So particularly for seniors who are graduating in the spring, we like to remind them to, wherever they think they’re going, please transfer your voter registration.”
Alexandra Retter is the associate news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.