There are essentially three ways for a name to appear on an official voting ballot in Connecticut:

Major Party Candidates — Individuals affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties, once endorsed by their respective party, have their name placed on the ballot by virtue of that major party endorsement.

Minor Party Candidates — Individuals affiliated with a minor political party (Green Party, Independent, Libertarian, Working Families) have their name placed on the ballot after receiving the party endorsement. A minor party may choose to endorse a candidate affiliated with another party, resulting in a name appearing on the ballot more than once.

Petitioning Candidates — Individuals with no party affiliation (e.g. - Unaffiliated) or who fail to receive the endorsement from their party may choose to petition their way onto the ballot. This is a stringent process, requiring the individual to prove there is sufficient interest among electors in the district by collecting petition signatures. If the required number of signatures is met, their name will appear on the ballot. If not, the individual can still campaign as a write-in candidate, but the odds of success are much more difficult. Any elector may sign the petition, but that signature is NOT a commitment to vote for the Petitioning Candidate, but merely an indicate of their support for the name to be placed on the ballot.

In the example above, Daniel M. Lynch (Dan Lynch) is shown as the PETITIONING CANDIDATE on line 1D as it will appear on the Connecticut State Senate Ballot, District 32, on February 28, 2017. Dan successfully petitioned his way onto the ballot, collecting well more than the required number of signatures in spite of the stringent deadlines for a Special Election

Write-In Votes — In addition to the three categories appearing above which result in a specific name being placed on the ballot for consideration, electors (registered voters in the district) may also write-in the name of an individual for whom they wish to cast their vote.

Year ago, if a registered voter was neither Democrat or Republican, they were considered 'independent.' Someone then had the bright idea to create a minor political party, adopting the name 'Independent Party,' but for someone to be counted as a member of that party, they needed to AFFILIATE with that party by changing their party designation to the Independent Party.

An Unaffiliated Voter is someone who is registered to vote, but chooses to not have a party affiliation. Unaffiliated voters have full and equal rights to participate in general and special elections, but because they are not affiliated with a party, they may not participate in the primary process used to select a party candidate. In Connecticut's 32nd District, 45% of registered voters are registered as UNAFFILIATD. This is, by far, the dominant group of voters. Republicans represent 29%, Democrats 25%, and other minor parties just over 1%.

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