Registered Democrats and Republicans across Connecticut head to the polls this Tuesday, Aug. 14, to decide who will represent their party in the race for U.S. Senate.

The seat up for grabs is currently held by Independent Joseph Lieberman, who is not running for re-election.

Running for the Democratic nomination are Chris Murphy and Susan Bysiewicz. Running for the Republican nomination are Linda McMahon and Christopher Shays.

All three of Wilton's polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. District 1 votes at Wilton High School (Clune Center Lobby), District 2 votes at Cider Mill School, and District 3 votes at the Middlebrook School cafeteria.

Only those registered with one of the two major parties may vote in that party's primary; unaffiliated voters may not vote Tuesday.

It is too late for anyone registered with a party to change parties and then vote in the new party's primary. However, anyone registered as unaffiliated or anyone currently unregistered may still register as a Democrat or Republican and vote in the primary.

Those would-be voters must register at the town clerk's office no later than noon on Monday, Aug. 13. Absentee ballots are still available at the town clerk's office for voters who will be out of town or unable to get to the polls due to illness. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Some form of ID is required at the polls, either a driver's license, something with name and photo, name and address or name and signature. Voters who arrive without ID will be asked to sign an affidavit of identity. Voters must be at least 18 years old, or turning 18 on or before the general election Nov. 6.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 7, Wilton had 2,912 registered Democrats, 4,179 registered Republicans, and 3,928 registered unaffiliated voters. Twenty-two voters registered with "other" parties will not be able to vote in the primary. Neither will the unaffiliated voters unless they enroll in a party by Monday.

Registrars of voters Tina Gardner (R) and Carole Young-Kleinfeld (D) said they ordered a quantity of ballots based on previous turnouts. "We look back several years at similar kinds of primaries and make our best estimates on historical turnouts and what we hear around town," Ms. Young-Kleinfeld said. "It is an educated guess."

In the 2010 primaries, turnout was 35% for Republicans and 26% for Democrats.

Voters unsure of their polling place or party affiliation may look them up at wiltonct.org. Click on Departments, the Registrars of Voters.

The ballots

Topping the Republican ballot is party-endorsed Linda McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.

Ms. McMahon has not held political office, but is no stranger to the campaign trail. Two years ago, she ran unsuccessfully for the Senate against Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

Ms. McMahon, who is running as the Washington outsider, says her focus is on creating jobs and helping small businesses.

Challenging Ms. McMahon is Republican Christopher Shays, who represented Wilton as the 4th District congressman for more than two decades. He lost that seat in 2008 to Democrat Jim Himes, and since then co-chaired the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Shays says he will use his experience as a legislator willing to work across party lines to "return sanity to government." He says he will focus on balancing the budget, reducing government spending and federal regulations, simplifying the tax code and replacing the current health care laws.

The Democrats have endorsed Chris Murphy, who currently is the representative for the 5th Congressional District.

Mr. Murphy says he wants to continue to fight for the American Dream through job creation and supporting public/private partnerships.

Mr. Murphy's challenger is Democrat Susan Bysiewicz, former secretary of the state. She stepped down from that post two years ago when she waged an unsuccessful bid for attorney general. Ms. Bysiewicz also served in the state legislature.

Ms. Bysiewicz is running on a platform of Wall Street reform as a way to give the middle class a louder voice in Washington. She says she will focus on job creation and security through a change in energy policies, realigning the military, and immigration reform.

The Bulletin will post Wilton's primary election results online at WiltonBulletin.com as soon as they are available after polls close Tuesday night.