Connecticut Voters Test Two Ways of Voting

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Tuesday was a day where voters cast ballots in new and old ways. But however they did it, many voters were voting at the last-minute. 

"I've had it for probably close to a week and I'm a last-minute kind of guy."

That’s what Breck McNab said as he dropped his ballot in the box outside Hartford City Hall. It wasn’t that he didn’t think the polling place would be safe, but he didn’t want to take that chance. 

"I'm guessing the social distancing guidelines would be adhered to but I just didn't want to take that chance," McNab said.  

John Thomas went home after work and remembered the absentee ballot. 

"Everything's last minute, but as long as it gets in ‘hey I've made my goal today,’” Thomas said. 

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin dropped his and his wife’s ballot in the box outside City Hall with two hours to spare.

"I came out and dropped my ballot in the dropbox right here in front of City Hall. Easiest voting I've ever done,” Bronin said.

At Charter Oak School in West Hartford voters preferred to vote in person.

“I always do,” William Barber said. He wasn’t about to change his routine for a pandemic.

“The first thing to do to make a difference is to vote. Is to be there at the polls. and it only takes a couple of minutes to do so,” Jonathan Aguilera said.

He said it was more convenient for him. 

Others voted in person because they forgot to mail in their absentee ballot on time. 

"You know what because I forgot to mail it in. That's why. I'm not going to lie. Because I forgot to mail it in because my vote matters,” Kwan Carter said.

This won’t be the only election where voters get to use absentee ballots. The General Assembly approved no-excuse absentee ballots for November too.

"This is the first time we're going to see absentee balloting or vote by mail on this scale so I think a little extra time for that process to play out makes sense, but I hope that this becomes the norm. I hope we offer a more convenient way of voting not just in these extraordinary times but all the time,” Bronin said.

Local towns have two days to count all the ballots thanks to an executive order from Gov. Ned Lamont that allows any ballot postmarked today to be counted up to Aug. 13. 

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said when all is said and done it might be more than 300,000 absentee ballots

“There were probably still applications coming in today because people didn’t get around to it. This is a whole new process for people and obviously those could not be accommodated,” Merrill said.

Merrill declined to predict what turnout would be for the election because there were too many variables and towns were not reporting the information to the state today. 

“It seems like the polling places are quiet today. I haven’t heard of anywhere there’s a line for example,” Merrill said. “But you know primaries are usually, we get roughly 50% turnout of eligible voters and registered voters in a primary. “

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