absentee ballots

Towns Getting Early Start Verifying Absentee Ballots

Legislation allows towns to begin opening outer envelopes and verify that inner envelopes are signed.

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At the most recent count, 584,232 absentee ballots have been cast in Connecticut. To expedite the steps processing those, many communities are getting a head start.

The Secretary of the State’s office said more than 40 towns are taking advantage of a new statute that allowed them to begin verifying absentee ballots Friday at 5 p.m rather than 6 p.m on Election Day. New Britain is one of them.

“When you have six or seven thousand ballots, anything you can do proceeding the actual count on election day helps,” said Lucian Pawlak, New Britain’s Democratic Registrar of Voters.

With just a few days remaining before Election Day, voting registrars and town clerks are extremely busy, buttoning up some details, trying to prepare for Tuesday.

Towns are not counting votes, they are simply opening the outer envelopes. New Britain officials dove deep into the process on Saturday.

“I think what we’re doing now, trying to get a head start on things, that this will streamline things,” said volunteer Craig DiAngelo.

New Haven officials are doing the same. They’re verifying the ballot by making sure the inner envelope is signed. If ballots are not signed, they will be rejected. This process offers some chance of avoiding that.

Here's a look at what happens to your absentee ballot once it leaves your hand.

“It gives us an opportunity to give them a call and say hey, come on in and sign your envelope,” said New Haven Town Clerk Mike Smart.

Aside from opening envelopes, New Haven officials are making a push for absentee balloting. They are offering same-day service Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

“It was convenient. It was easy. It wasn’t a big line,” said New Haven voter Max Waugaman, who took advantage Saturday.

Within ten minutes, people were able to apply and receive their absentee ballots, then place their votes.

“It has been excellent. About 700 people came out and actually voted,” said Smart.

While absentee ballot applications and are still available at Town Clerks’ offices around the state, officials are stressing urgency. They said if you are voting absentee, ballots need to be received no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, regardless of postdate.

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