Absentee Ballot Processing Restored To Local Town Clerks

The mail house the state used to issue absentee ballots for the primary might as well have been an outhouse. Either way, it is out, flushed by the state.

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill decided to take on something new for the primary–after an executive order from Governor Ned Lamont allowed mail-in voting as an option during the health pandemic–her office navigating the mailing of absentee ballots to voters, a system customarily handled by local town clerks.

The state mail-house process was fraught with delays, with tens of thousands of electors not receiving ballots while an avalanche of ballots arrived in the finals days of the primary, placing added pressure on local election officials.

Merrill, Connecticut’s chief election official, has decided to return the process to town clerks with one exception: mailing absentee ballot applications to all eligible voters.

For the primary, the applications were mailed or dropped off to local town clerks which entered the requests into a centralized portal for the state’s mail house to send out the ballots.

For the general election local town clerks will handle the entire process in-house after the state mails applications.

Still, a heavy burden will be placed on local officials processing absentee ballots. More than 50 percent of Connecticut voters chose that process over in-person voting for the primary.


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