absentee ballots

Absentee Ballot 101

Here's how to make sure your absentee ballot isn't rejected

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Connecticut has reported 500,000 voters so far have requested absentee ballots, an option open to everyone this year due to the pandemic.

That has amounted to roughly triple the total number of people who voted absentee in 2016.

The key question - did you correctly follow all the steps to complete your absentee ballot, so it doesn’t get disqualified? 

The Connecticut absentee ballot package you received has:

  • the absentee ballot
  • an inner (security) envelope
  • an outer delivery envelope
  • voting instructions

Sue Larsen, the president of the Connecticut Registrars of Voters Association, offered an explainer on what you must do after filling in the ovals next to the candidates you choose on the ballot.

“The next step is to use the inner envelope. You place the ballot in the inner envelope, seal the ballot, and sign and date the envelope.  That is critical.  That is one of the reasons many of the absentee ballots are rejected,” Larsen said.

Next, take the inner envelope, and put it in the outer envelope provide that has pre-paid postage, and the address of the town or city clerk where you live.

“Make sure that you use the outer envelope.  Because again, if you send it into us with just the inner envelope, it’s going to get rejected.  So you use all three pieces.  And send it back to the town clerk.  You can do it by mail, or you can use the ballot,” Larsen said.

Larsen explained there’s another big reason absentee ballots get rejected, often done by people living in the same household. 

“They think that they’re saving the town by putting both ballots in one envelope.  And I’m sorry we have to reject because we cannot match the ballot to the name on the inner envelope.” 

The Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut added most years only a small amount of absentee ballots get rejected, often in the low single digits.  It said it hopes to keep that number low this year, in spite of such a groundswell of people voting absentee. 

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