FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — High voter turnout is expected across Connecticut -- particularly among young Democrats -- in Tuesday’s highly contested presidential primary, which has been described as a "nail-biter" and a political "playoff."
Registered Democrats and Republicans in Connecticut can head to the polls anytime between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Any voter standing in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to cast a vote, according to the secretary of the state’s office.
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Rocky de la Fuente, who petitioned his way onto the ballot and randomly drew the top spot, face off for the Democratic nomination. Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Donald Trump and Ben Carson will vie for the Republican nomination. Carson never notified Connecticut that he was dropping out of the race.
Can't decide who to vote for? "Uncommitted" is also offered as a choice by both the Democratic Party and Republican Party.
Three of the candidates have held get-out-the-vote events recently in Fairfield County. Clinton held a campaign rally in Bridgeport on Sunday following Trump’s rally in the Park City on Saturday.
Earlier in April, Kasich held a town hall-style rally at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. While Sanders hasn't appeared in person at an event in Fairfield County, he held campaign events in New Haven on Sunday and Hartford on Monday.
Clinton and Trump were expected to win the popular vote in Connecticut, according to several polls, but more recent reports suggest the race may be closer than previously expected.
Sacred Heart political science professor Gary Rose said voters, who sense that the election this year has higher stakes than in past years, will be driven to go to the polls. “I think the towns and the cities better get ready because I think turnout is going to be high,” he said.
The numbers back him up: More than 87,000 new voters have registered in Connecticut since Jan. 1, a record-setting pace, according to Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.
In a statement Monday, Merrill said the number of registered voters in Connecticut has hit 1,970,098.
"We are expecting a big turnout, which all of us must be prepared for including my office and the towns," she said. "This is an exciting moment for our state and for our democracy."
Merrill emphasized that voters will not be able to register on the day of the primary, and voters can cast a ballot only for candidates on their party's roster.
Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are also holding primaries on Tuesday. New York held its primary on April 19.
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