Officials decide against 2nd early voting spot

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BY ANDREAS YILMA
NAUGATUCK Borough officials have decided there isn’t a need for a second polling location for early voting in this year’s presidential election.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses unanimously approved at its regular Feb. 6 meeting not to provide a second polling location for early voting for any elections for this year and next year.

The state is joining 46 other states and the District of Columbia in offering early in-person voting to all voters this year. This came after the state legislature and Gov. Ned Lamont approved an early voting law in the 2023 legislative session after voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2022 to allow this voting option in Connecticut.

The first opportunity will come in early April when voters will have four days in advance of the presidential preference primaries to personally cast their ballots.

Alabama, Mississippi and New Hampshire are the only remaining states that do not offer early in-person voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures as of the end of the 2023.

The Connecticut law authorizes 14 days of in-person early voting for general elections, seven days for primary contests, and four days each for special elections and presidential preference primaries. Referendums are excluded.

The new law requires towns and cities to establish at least one early voting location, but they may designate additional locations, all subject to the approval of the secretary of the state’s office. Early voting locations must be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., including weekends, but voting hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday and Thursday before the election.

The only early voting location in the borough will take place at Park and Recreation building, also known as the former Armory building, 607 Rubber Ave.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said any town that has more than 20,000 residents has the right to have a second polling location.

“I’m just going to say that I’m not in favor of it. I’m not against it but I think we have plenty of opportunities to vote by absentee and at our regular voting place,” Hess said. “I don’t really see a need.”

Naugatuck Republican Registrar of Voters Matthew Katra said he and Democratic Registrar of Voters Louise Sheedy don’t think the borough needs a second polling location for early voting.

Katra said their office hasn’t had a single inquiry about early voting.

“The only towns that may do it are the big cities, Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford. I think they could use it. Other than that, I don’t see any other municipality needing it,” Katra said. “For a second location, you’re probably looking at another $80,000 to $90,000 a year, at least this year.”

The Presidential Primary will take place on April 2 with four days of early voting.

A possible state primary for the borough will take place on August 6 with seven days of early voting. The main federal election will take place on Nov. 5 with 14 days of early voting.