Six thousand and rising.
That’s the number of requests for absentee ballots in this outlier of a presidential preference primary August 11 that also includes races for state legislative seats.
How does this number compare to a traditional primary season? Miles above that. It’s record-breaking for a city primary.
Why? Governor Ned Lamont’s Covid-related executive order allows all Connecticut primary electors to vote by absentee ballot in lieu of going to the polls primary day. The office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State mailed absentee ballot applications to all eligible voters in Connecticut.
So far in Bridgeport, the Town Clerk’s Office has received more than 6,000 of those applications seeking ballots. This comes about two weeks from the vote. Roughly 400 of the requests are from Republicans. Election workers are in overdrive processing the requests. The absentee ballots are then mailed back to the Town Clerk’s Office.
Both major parties have presidential preference primaries as well as primaries for state legislative seats. See sample ballots below. On the Democratic side, if the turnout tracks along the presidential primary percentage (26) of 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders it’s possible more electors will cast a vote by absentee. More than 11,000 Democrats voted in that 2016 primary.
Connecticut is one of the few states with excuse-only early voting. If a voter cannot make it to the polls one of six reasons must be checked off.
— Are you an active member of the armed forces of the United States?
— Will you be out of town during all the hours of voting on Election Day?
— Does illness prevent you from voting in person on Election Day?
— Do your religious beliefs prevent you from performing secular activities like voting on Election Day?
— Will you be performing duties as an election official at a polling place other than your own during all the hours of voting on Election Day?
— Do you have a physical disability that prevents you from voting in person on Election Day?
For August 11, Lamont added a seventh reason that anyone can check because of the public health pandemic. All they need to do is check the Covid box on the application.