April 12, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 1:50 pm

CT's GOP primary open to 17-year-olds

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says 2,200 resident 17-year-olds for the first time are eligible to vote in the upcoming Republican presidential primary because they will be 18 on Election Day.

Merrill said state lawmakers in 2008 amended the state constitution to allow underage primary balloting with the proviso that those voters must be 18 by the day of the presidential election, which this year is Nov. 6.

To cast GOP primary ballots on April 24, eligible voters must enroll or register with the Republican party by noon on April 23.

Unaffiliated voters also have that same deadline to enroll with the Republican party if they wish to participate in the primary.

So far, Merrill said, more than 2,200 17 year-olds have registered to vote in Connecticut, including 465 who have registered as Democrats, 543 new who have enrolled with the Republican party, and 1,123 new 17 year-old unaffiliated voters.

The four candidates to appear on the Republican Presidential Preference Primary ballot are: Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum, who has withdrawn from the race.

Polls will be open on April 24 from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

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