With one week left to primary day, thousands of absentee ballots across the state are, well, absent. City political operatives lay blame on the mail house hired by the state, something validated by Windsor Town Clerk Anna Posniak, association president on behalf of town clerks.
Traditionally, the dissemination of absentee ballots is handled by local municipal town clerks. As a result of the public health pandemic and an executive order by Governor Ned Lamont, all eligible Connecticut primary day voters may vote by absentee. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office facilitated both the mailing of applications and ballots to state electors via a mail house. Tens of thousands of those went out late or won’t be going out at all as a result of a snafu by the mail house.
Some local town clerks are scrambling to accommodate electors who want to vote absentee, rather than going to the polls. This late in the process plenty of absentee ballots will likely show up to municipal offices after primary day and not counted.
I must alert all Town Clerks that immediate action is needed.
It was brought to my attention this afternoon that Secretary of the State’s office did not send absentee ballot exports for last week to mail house. In my conversation with Ted (Bromley) at 2:45 p.m. today, he stated that it was clear that SOTS needed to end ties with the mail house as they were not able process the absentee ballots in timely manner.
Late this afternoon, Ted provided us with an Excel spreadsheet that indicates the exact ballots that were not sent to mail house. The Excel spreadsheet contains over 20,000 ballots statewide that were not sent out by SOTS. You will need to isolate the voters from your town. You MUST resend each voter on the Excel spreadsheet an absentee ballot immediately.
To process the applications for a second time, you will look up each voter in the “Absentee Ballot” screen.
You will click on the select button to select the record that was not processed by mail house. You will change the following:
SERIAL NO.–update to the serial number with the serial from the ED-8 envelope
DATE ISSUED–-enter reissuing date
Click “UPDATE” and then generate labels for the ED-8 envelope that you will use to mail the ballot to the voter.
ISSUE TYPE: can remain “MAIL” as SOTS is no longer using the services of the mail house to process the ballots.
The Secretary has created a major problem that Town Clerks are now left to fix with the primary only one week away. Additionally, I am extremely irate that Secretary Merrill, Deputy Secretary Bates and Elections Division Director Ted Bromley, did not mention this during our 10 a.m. conference call today. In a phone call last Thursday, Ted had mentioned this was a possibility. However, Ted assured me that he would get back to me if they decided to send the data back to the Town Clerks for reprocessing. Had this information been given to us on Friday, I know that 169 Town Clerks would have worked over the weekend to get those ballots to their voters. I am extremely concerned for the voters in our large cities as this neglect by SOTS may disenfranchise their vote next Tuesday. If you unable to reprocess all of last week’s volume of applications in addition to this week’s requests, please reach out to me and we will try to get you some assistance from others towns with lower volumes to ensure that voters are not disenfranchised.
Additionally, I have been informed that the sides of some inner envelopes have not been properly glued shut by the manufacturer; as a result, the voter’s ballot could slip out of the inner envelope while the town clerk is processing the returns into CVRS. This issue is not related to the voter accidentally slicing open the envelope. It is due to poor quality control at the mail house. Please be on the lookout for envelopes that are not sealed on the side. Please tape the defective inner envelopes shut.
Stay healthy. Stay CTCA strong.