Just days from Tuesday’s Covid-delayed preference primaries for president including four legislative races in Bridgeport, a modest 937 absentee ballots from Democrats citywide have been returned to the Town Clerk’s Office as of Friday out of roughly 7,500 requests to vote absentee.
Local elections officials are bracing for a last-minute surge of ballots. Why the low returns based on the requests? Campaign operatives assert the mail house hired by the state to issue the absentee ballots failed to mail them on time and in some cases not at all.
This primary cycle is an outlier. Normally the dissemination of applications and ballots are handled by municipal town clerks. This time around, as a result of a health pandemic executive order by Governor Ned Lamont, the office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State mailed absentee ballot applications to eligible electors. Connecticut electors requesting absentee ballots were processed in a centralized state portal and issued by the mail house hired by the state.
Tens of thousands of those absentee ballots went out late or won’t be going out at all as a result of a snafu by the mail house.
In a traditional Bridgeport municipal race, two thirds or so requests for ballots make their way back to the Town Clerk’s office.
This will appear to fall far short of that based on the mail house screw-up. A burst of absentee ballots will likely flow in, however, in the final days to local town clerk offices.
Polling places will be open Tuesday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for walk-in voting. See sample ballots of races below: