Primary Campaigning: Flexing Absentee Ballot Muscle

Connecticut is way behind the times in early voting, something that could change next year when state electors vote on a constitutional amendment to move beyond excuse-only absentee voting. Meanwhile, political operatives will maneuver as many votes as possible via absentee ballot and that starts next week when absentee ballots become available for primaries for Board of Education and City Council.

The flexing of AB muscle is a Bridgeport electoral rite of passage. (Or should we say write of passage?) In the days to come political operatives will begin the process of signing out absentee ballot applications from the Town Clerk’s office to spread around to their peeps. Much of the absentee ballot action will come from the East Side and East End. City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez, former State Rep. Americo Santiago and East End District leader Ralph Ford will be among the campaign dynamos engineering absentee ballot voting. Lydia faces a tough primary fight, Americo’s weighing in on a City Council primary battle involving his candidates and the good Dr. Ford is working on behalf of the school board challenge slate. And that raises a question: can the school board opposition slate Andre Baker, Dave Hennessey and Howard Gardner compete with the endorsed line Simon Castillo, Katie Bukovsky and Brandon Clark for absentee ballot supremacy?

While the candidates are knocking on doors wooing voters, absentee ballot pros will try to bank as many votes as possible going into primary day September 10. Both sides have operatives who know how to work it.

See below the election schedule set forth by the Connecticut Secretary of State’s Office starting with the availability of absentee ballots:

AUGUST 20, 2013 (Tuesday) MUNICIPAL CLERK REGISTRARS ABSENTEE BALLOTS. Absentee ballots for municipal primary become available on this day. (Secs. 9-135 and 9-140(f)) Registrars of voters may direct municipal clerk to mail absentee ballot forms to a qualified elector or applicant for admission as an elector who (1) is living outside the U.S. or (2) is a member of the armed forces or the spouse or dependent of a member of the armed forces living where such member is stationed. Municipal clerk also may so act on his own motion. (Secs. 9-133f, 9-140(f) and 9-153d)

AUGUST 20, 2013 (Tuesday) REGISTRARS CENTRAL COUNTING – ABSENTEE BALLOTS. Last day for registrars to designate in writing to the municipal clerk central location for the counting of absentee ballots for municipal primary. Such location shall be published by the municipal clerk in the notice for the primary. (Sec. 9-147a) (G:\elec-cal\mun\2012-nov.doc)(Rev.11/12)

AUGUST 20, 2013 (Tuesday) REGISTRARS TOWN CLERK CERTIFICATE OF BALLOT ORDER. The registrars of voters and municipal clerk shall jointly certify to the Secretary of the State the number of ballots for each polling place in the municipality that have been ordered for the primary. If the registrars of voters and municipal clerk fail to certify the number of ballots ordered, they shall order a number of ballots equal to the total number of registered voters in their municipality.

AUGUST 20, 2013 to SEPTEMBER 5, 2013 (Tuesday – Thursday) REGISTRARS REGISTRATION BY MAIL–NOTICE OF ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION TO BE SENT ON DAY OF RECEIPT. When an application for registration by mail is received during the period beginning on the 21st day before a primary and ending on the fifth day before a primary, registrar must send by first class mail a notice of acceptance or rejection on day of receipt of application. The privileges as an elector attach immediately upon approval of the application, and the new elector’s name is added to the registry list. If a notice of approval is later returned undelivered, registrars must proceed with confirmation of voting residence notice under Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 9-35 or Sec. 9-43 and may challenge applicant at polls. (Sec. 9-23g(c) and (d))

AUGUST 21, 2013 (Wednesday) TOWN CLERK NOMINATING PETITIONS. Last day for town clerk to file nominating petition pages, received by clerk on August 7th, with Secretary of the State. (Secs. 9-453i and 9-453n)

AUGUST 27, 2013 (Tuesday) REGISTRARS PRIMARY ENROLLMENT SESSION. If primary is to be held, mandatory enrollment session must be held on this date (14th day before primary day) for the purpose of registration and/or enrollment of electors entitled to vote in primary. At least two consecutive hours required, between the hours of 12:00 noon and 9:00 p.m. (Sec. 9-51)

REGISTRARS ENROLLMENT LIST. The registrars shall cause to be printed at least once during the calendar year a complete enrollment list and shall make such list available to the public upon request. (Sec. 9-55)

AUGUST 27, 2013 (Tuesday) REGISTRARS FOURTEENTH DAY BEFORE PRIMARY DAY REGISTRATION SESSION. If municipal primary will be held in your town and if your town’s population is over 25,000, mandatory registration session must be held on this date. Hours: any two hours between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. (Sec. 9-17)



  1. *** The only way to skin an A/B cat once it’s identified is to watch it closely, document and record incidents and have witnesses to the fact. Assign two people to double check every A/B that comes into town clerk’s office and follow up with the actual applicants quietly if need be! *** REPORT ALL VIOLATIONS, BUT KNOW THE RULES! ***


  3. Someone needs to canvass the list of absentee voters. The last few elections I found many voters registered to vote at vacant lots, non-existent addresses and boarded-up buildings. I would not be surprised if many of these “voters” voted absentee. Nobody wants to take the time.

  4. If logic is the guide for running this primary, then everybody should go out and do the things people on this webzine find objectionable. It is how to win, and there are no ill consequences to the behaviors frequently criticized.

    You guys call it cheating, but obviously other people call it winning.

    Since they win, there’s nothing wrong with what they do.

    Am I right?


Leave a Reply