Approximately 659,000 Connecticut voters opted to cast absentee ballots because of the pandemic. So could large scale, no excuses, absentee balloting become the norm like it was during the pandemic?
The Secretary of the State just proposed a constitutional amendment making it a permanent fixture, via a constitutional amendment.
West Hartford had almost 19,000 people, close to half its registered voters, casting absentee ballots in 2020.
For the most part, it went without a hitch - less than 1% had to be rejected.
"I would say the overwhelming reason would be because it was not following the instructions in regard to inner envelopes,"West Hartford Republican Registrar Beth Kyle said.
Kyle credited efforts to educate voters on how to send in an absentee ballot.
“We had done a lot of outreach in advance to the voters, the town clerk put together a video and we had been online to social media, really step by step how to complete an absentee ballot.”
West Hartford Democratic Registrar Patrice Peterson added that absentee balloting did reduce the number of people voting in person, in what is traditionally a high turnout town.
“That helped, because people didn’t want to wait in line on top of the fact that we had COVID.”
The registrars said despite having a large team to process the absentee ballots, they do not believe it impacted their office’s bottom line.
State Sen. Dennis Bradley (D- Bridgeport) has had concerns about no excuses absentee balloting.
He voted against a proposal for it during the general assembly’s recent special session, and said mailing out an absentee ballot application to every registered voter simply invites voter fraud.
“We need to make sure that we have a way of making sure that the people are who they are, making sure that the people who are getting the ballots actually solicited their ballot, that they actually want the ballot," he said.
The Secretary of The State said no-excuse absentee balloting is popular elsewhere. She said 44 states allow either early in-person early voting, no-excuses absentee balloting, or both.