In what may be a first in the city’s election history, a public housing complex P.T. Barnum Apartments will undergo supervised balloting. The high volume of absentee ballot applications from the housing complex has prompted elections officials to conduct supervision of absentee ballots for the September 16 Democratic primary.
State law provides local registrars authority to conduct supervised balloting when 20 absentee ballot applications come from a particular address. It helps to provide a check against campaign operatives trying to manipulate votes by absentee. It also provides an option for electors who filled out an absentee ballot application to vote at their desired designated precinct. The voting precinct for P.T. Barnum residents is the Aquaculture School sandwiched by the apartments and Captain’s Cove Seaport.
Historically, senior citizen housing complexes are most likely to undergo supervised balloting. The large volume of absentee ballot requests from P.T. Barnum, built in 1951 as high rises, decades later converted into townhouses for low-income families, has prompted elections officials to monitor the voting.
Any voter in the P.T. Barnum complex who signed an absentee application and wants to vote by absentee ballot can do so on the date scheduled under the supervision of elections officials. Democratic Registrar Sandi Ayala will schedule supervised balloting for P.T. and a number of other high absentee ballot request areas.
Connecticut is one of a handful of states with excuse-only absentee ballot voting. Away for work? You vote by absentee ballot. Health issues? You vote by absentee ballot. There’s no early voting in Connecticut. A question on last November’s ballot asking voters to approve early voting was rejected.
More than 5,000 absentee ballot applications have been signed out by campaign operatives. So far elections officials have mailed more than 500 actual ballots and they fear a dump of applications returned.
In addition Town Clerk Alma Maya has requested state elections officials with the office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State to supervise and/or monitor the election in light of the high volume of absentee ballot requests. The Town Clerk’s Office issues and receives absentee ballots. The ballots are tabulated, however, by officials in the Registrar’s Office.