New Haven Democratic Registrar of Voters Shannel Evans and Republican Registrar of Voters Marlene Napolitano are in the midst of overseeing the upcoming election, from registering voters to counting the 14,000 absentee ballots sent out by the City Town Clerk.
“There’s a big difference between a municipal year and a federal year and this year it’s extremely busy,” said Napolitano.
The office has hired 15 people to help with election day registration and voting. This year, the process to check new registrations and get signed up is streamlined for voters in one spot.
“Usually we have about ten people checking, this time we’ll have about twenty people searching, checking, and entering,” said Evans, who added the new process eliminates the need for registrants to make multiple stops at different stations.
Early in person registration ends Tuesday at 8 p.m. and online ends at 11:59 p.m. After that, voters in New Haven will have to go through the process in person on election day at City Hall.
The registrars tell us they’re getting ready for a lot of people to show up on election day.
“We do ask that everyone please wear a mask, that is a very big priority, and to keep your six feet distancing,” said Evans. She and Napolitano went on a tour of polling locations Tuesday with the health department to review COVID protocol.
“Usually we do a red folder [for privacy] but this year because of COVID we’re issuing out a sheet [of paper], and they will also be offered their own ballot pen,” said Evans. She says they also have people that will wipe down voting booths and monitor social distancing in lines.
Napolitano says people should prepare for long lines, given the anticipated turn out and social distance requirements.
Before heading to the polls, the registrars say voters should double check their registration. Those who are registered and haven’t cast a ballot in a while may not show up in the system. They’re known as “inactive” voters. They should head to their local polling location to reactivate and vote, skipping the line at City Hall. “You could fill out a voter registration card there and you can vote at that polling place,” said Evans.
And voters should double check polling locations. It may be different.
“The city is broken up differently for a federal election,” said Napolitano.
And this pair will also oversee counting those 14,000 absentee ballots. They’ll start preparing them on Friday and crossing off those names from in-person voting eligibility on Saturday. They’ll start counting them Tuesday, getting through as many as possible. Evans says they have a three-day window to get them all counted.