Absentee ballots are a rite of passage in city primaries. They’re especially rewarding when poached by an opponent against a rival.
Nothing like purloining ballots on behalf of a candidate when the other thought it was in the bank.
So candidate A, or operative, makes a porch pitch to voter who wants an absentee ballot application. All the voter has to do is check off the part due to illness.
“Can we count on your vote, please?
Absentee ballot arrives in the mail. Candidate B knocks on the door.
“I need your vote primary day.”
“Oh yeah, sure.”
Okay, where does that vote end up?
Who really knows? It’s sorta like jump ball.
Absentee ballot pros who pretty much know their people maintain a solid list of serial voters. Some outliers exist, especially now with the new state law that allows for electors to cite illness as a reason, or fear of exposure voting in person.
More than 2,000 voters citywide for the August 9 primaries have requested absentee ballots, many generated by two key legislative races: Dennis Bradley versus Herron Gaston for state senate and Jack Hennessy versus Marcus Brown for state representative.
The Bradley-Gaston race comes from the 23rd State Senate District that covers approximately two thirds of the city and a section of western Stratford. Incumbent Bradley and party-endorsed Gaston both enjoy operatives seasoned in harnessing absentee ballot voters.
For now Gaston, by virtue of strong backing by the Democratic Party apparatus, appears to have an edge in that department. With two weeks left until primary day a sizeable amount of energy is being expended tracking absentee voters and reminding them to send in their ballots.
Likewise in the contest between incumbent Hennessy and party-endorsed Brown. Hennessy hasn’t experienced a strong primary contest since 2006. His Campaign Manager Maria Pereira is an aggressive campaigner including winning over absentee electors. She’s done this for years from her perch in the Upper East Side 138th District that she represents on the City Council. But the predominately North End 127th State House District is new territory for her to scour. Still, Brown operatives are familiar with her relentlessness so they’re not taking anything for granted.
The latest absentee ballot list compiled by the Town Clerk’s Office shows close to 500 requests for ballots in the district, many of which have not been returned.
Political operatives will unleash a hard push in the next week to coalesce absentee voters that could very well decide the key races.