Decision 2020

Absentee Ballots Changing Voting Dynamic

Although a lighter in-person turnout is expected due to influx of absentee ballots, officials working to ensure poll location safety.

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Absentee ballots are arriving in record numbers. The Secretary of the State’s office says there have been over 267,0000 cast in Connecticut already. That’s more than double the last presidential election year of 2016.

Registrars in Bristol say if you’re applying for an absentee ballot your request for one must be in by November 2. Thousands though have already taken advantage and have been filling the drop boxes. Bristol officials say they’ve received 9000, which could impact the turnout on November 3.

“I think it will be lower lines because we’re assuming it’s going to be an 80% turnout at the polling location,” said Bristol Republican Registrar of Voters Sharon Krawiecki.

Ensuring absentee ballots are filled out correctly is a priority. Registrars want people to know they need to sign and seal the inner envelope before placing it in the outer envelope. They also warn against placing multiple ballots in one outer envelope.

“Only the ballot that’s named on the outer envelope will be counted,” Krawiecki explained.

While absentee numbers are high, Bristol’s registrars are reassuring people who might not trust the system that those votes will indeed count.

“Everyone of those ballots will be looked at individually,” said Bristol Democratic Registrar of Voters Kevin McCauley.

With the absentee numbers as high as they are, things could take a little longer to process.

“The Wednesday following is going be the follow up day to finish all the ballots that we didn’t process, so it definitely will not be finished until Wednesday,” McCauley said.

In addition to the avalanche of absentee there are those who say they have no worries about in-person voting.

“Except for the virus, I prefer to be standing there putting my vote in. Instead of putting it in the mail,” said Emil Gonzalez.

With more the massive number of absentee ballots ballots already cast in Connecticut, in-person voter turnout could be lighter than most years. Still, keeping the polls safe is a priority.

“In Bristol we won’t be touching anybody’s identification. You bring your own pen to fill out the ovals and enter your own ballot into the tabulator,” explained Krawiecki.

Bristol’s election officials have been planning for months. Careful plans have been created to ensure social distancing.

In nearby towns, some voters say they have no qualms about going to the polls. Including first time voter, Craig Green who explains, he trusts in-person voting more.

“I want to know my vote counts so I like in person stuff ,” said Green.

Gonzalez says he will also vote in-person; a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly.

“A lot of people died. A lot of people risked their lives for (the right to vote). So, that’s why you should be there,” he said.

Regular voter registration closes October 27. However, there is same-day registration, November 3. 

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