2,386 absentee ballots processed in Norwalk
NORWALK, Conn. – A photo provided Wednesday by Norwalk resident Paul Cantor proves his contention that COVID-19 is not listed as a possible reason to vote via absentee ballot, on the ballot he received.
It also did not include a postage paid notification, making it one of the approximately 1,000 pre-COVID envelopes that Town Clerk Rick McQuaid said were used, of the nearly 14,000 ballots that went out.
“The legislature, in the July special session, mandated that the COVID-19 excuse be added to the inner envelopes, and that was communicated to the town clerks. Only the new inner envelopes should be used,” Gabe Rosenberg, Communications Director for Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said in a Wednesday email.
The demand for absentee ballots is unprecedented: Rosenberg’s Wednesday stats show 14,419 requests have been processed in Norwalk.
“These are humans doing this, we’re not using machines and everything,” McQuaid said Monday. “So, you know, you do have errors over the years. I’m not saying these are things that (don’t) happen here. You know, somebody may get a wrong ballot, an address may be different, somebody may get a ballot in one envelope, a spouse may get in different envelopes, they go to the same place.”
The 1,000 ballots with old envelopes went out because “we were waiting for supplies from the state,” and the decision was made to make sure voters got their ballots, he said.
“The new materials were received by Norwalk on 9/11/20,” Rosenberg said. “Towns were instructed to either use the new outer envelopes or put postage on the old envelopes (the instruction is pasted below). (It is worth noting that the post office will deliver election mail even if it does not have the proper postage).”
Voters must sign their envelopes to make their ballots legal. By signing, you swear that you are using the absentee ballot for one of the reasons given.
Cantor’s ballot does not list COVID-19 as a potential reason.
Given the pandemic “and the fact the President is challenging absentee balloting this is a serious problem that should have been addressed yesterday,” Cantor wrote. “What a time we are living in. I am more than a little upset and think others should be as well. We need clarity and straightforwardness more than even in these fraught times.”
The application to get an absentee ballot, which also needed to be signed, listed COVID-19 as a reason.
“I am standing by ballots need to get out, the state informed us if envelopes are not covid they can write covid on it and it will be fine,” McQuaid said Wednesday. “When the voter sent in their absentee application from the state they needed to give reason for voting absentee and sign application. Did Mr. Cantor do this? If so we can match his application to his envelope.”
More than 15 percent of the ballots have come back and been processed, “so we are getting word out and will continue to move forward,” McQuaid said.
“Intent to vote is not voter fraud,” McQuaid said. “Intent to commit fraud is fraud.”
“Of course, a voter should not be penalized if they were given the wrong materials,” Rosenberg said.
The state’s latest figures show
- 14,419 absentee ballot requests have been received and processed in Norwalk
- 1,499 registered Norwalk Democrats have returned filled out ballots
- 616 unaffiliated Norwalk voters have returned filled out ballots
- 223 registered Norwalk Republicans have returned filled out ballots
- 48 Norwalkers registered in other parties have returned filled out ballots
So a total 2,386 Norwalk absentee ballots have been processed.
Statewide, 536,435 absentee ballots have been requested and process, and 82,627 filled out ballots have been returned.