Primary elections - primaries - are the process by which voters can indicate their preference for a party's candidate in an upcoming election.
In Connecticut you must be a registered member of a political party to vote in that party's primaries. Unaffiliated voters do not participate.
States in which only party members may vote in political primaries are said to have "closed primaries." States in which unaffiliated voters may also participate have "open primaries." Connecticut, by state law, is a "closed primary" state. While unaffiliated voters are ineligible to vote in party primaries, they are eligible to vote in all general elections.
If an unaffiliated voter decides that he or she wishes to register with a party in order to vote in an upcoming primary, registering is a quick and easy process. There may be a deadline involved:
- When an unaffiliated voter registers with a party, that voter's party privileges take effect immediately.
- If a voter switches from one political party to another, however, there is a three-month waiting period before the right to vote in primaries takes effect. For example, someone wishing to switch parties and vote in the April 28, 2020 presidential preference primary would have to change prior to January 28.
If you are unsure of your current party affiliation, call our office at (203) 271-6680. We can check your records quickly and tell you whether or not you are eligible to vote in an upcoming primary election.