What snowdrifts? Watch out for the drifting absentee ballots. Can you imagine if we have a day like today in three weeks? Feb. 22 is the special election to fill the state rep seat vacated by Chris Caruso who’s working for the Malloy administration. Connecticut’s 126th State Assembly District includes portions of the North End and Upper East Side.
Break out the sleds, snowshoes and sport utility vehicles. And yes, the absentee ballots. More than 700 absentee ballot applications for the special election have been assigned by the Town Clerk’s Office. The applications are taken out by supporters of the various campaign camps for the eight candidates. The Town Clerk’s Office snail mails an absentee ballot to a registered voter based on the returned applications. As of Tuesday morning, no absentee ballots have returned to the Town Clerk’s Office. But with three weeks to go we could see a lot of last-minute dumping.
Town Clerk Alma Maya reports that a district voter who expects to be out of town on special election day can stop into the office on Lyon Terrace in City Hall, fill out an application, be assigned an absentee ballot and vote on the spot.
Given the time of year, this miserable winter season, pols will be tempted to load up on absentee ballots. The candidate lineup: Democratic endorsed Charlie Stallworth, Republican endorsed James Keyser, and petitioning candidates Joseph Giaquinto, Mark Trojanowski, Carlos Silva, Robert Keeley, Tom Lombard and Verna Kearney.
Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, who’s supporting Rev. Stallworth, a member of the Police Board, is an old pro when it comes to absentee ballots, and Keeley himself ain’t too shabby. Keeley represented the state assembly district when he was first elected to the statehouse in 1982.
Elderly voters will be making friends they never knew existed. “Mrs. Haystacks, how’s your health? Would you like to vote by absentee ballot?” Sign her up! Seniors love to vote, but not in this kind of weather.
Keeley, who doesn’t live in the district, has opened a headquarters on Main Street and has stitched together an interesting configuration of campaign workers that include Charlie Coviello, who’s formed an exploratory committee for mayor, Coviello buddy Barry “Spanky” Piesner and Michael Voytek, an attorney best known for representing The Committee to Ungag the People over zoning matters and Derail the Jail Committee, a coalition force led by Caruso that protested former Governor Jodi Rell’s proposal for a detention center for girls on the Upper East Side. Voytek and Caruso are on opposite sides of this battle. Caruso is supporting Kearney, a city police officer, along with State Senator Ed Gomes, political activist Marilyn Moore, Bob “Troll” Walsh and former City Council President Lisa “Honey” Parziale. Did Voytek sell out the Big Wave?
Every camp will need to flex their AB muscles, and be on the lookout for cheaters. We could definitely see an outcome decided by absentee ballots. A candidate could win the machine count and get croaked on the AB count. And if it’s a day like today a few hundred votes could be enough to win, aided by a bunch of absentee ballots.