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Tell your legislators you support absentee ballots

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To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters of Norwalk (LWV) thanks you for covering the important issue of getting Connecticut (CT) state legislators to act on making “no excuse” absentee ballot applications available to voters for the November election.

Absentee ballots are the only available safe alternative for CT voters of any age who are at risk of illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our legislators need to pass legislation that will protect their constituents in the November 3rd election—no one should have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote.

We need 36 of our state Senators and 151 of our state Representatives to work across the aisle to make this happen for the November 3 election. This work must be completed by July 29 or sooner.

While many legislators have been working hard behind the scenes to bring forward legislation on absentee ballots and police accountability, this should be done in public view. And our media need to keep informing Connecticut voters about how our legislators are fulfilling their duty to protect voters and our democracy.

The LWV of Norwalk urges citizens to reach out to their elected officials and thank them for supporting safe voting in November or urge them to take a stand to protect all voters and poll workers by making absentee ballot applications available to all eligible voters.

Laura Smits and Debra D’Arinzo

Co-Coordinators: League of Women Voters of Norwalk, CT

37 comments

CT-Patriot July 13, 2020 at 8:20 pm

But continue to go to the grocery store, gas station, CVS/Walgreens, Walmart, Target. Home Depot….

I know…too much effort to go to the polls.

Ron, got any facts? I seem to find other party with the most fraud, but you go ahead…you do you…

Bryan Meek July 13, 2020 at 8:21 pm

I support a law that requires the Town Clerk to forward a copy of Death Certificates to the Registrar of Voters upon completion. It numbs my mind as to why this isn’t a state law and why others have moved to block making it one.

JustATaxpayer July 13, 2020 at 11:13 pm

If you can go to Stews, Home Depot, COSTCO or a BLM protest, you can stand 6 feet apart with a mask on and vote. At the school we vote at, the wait times aren’t long at all (2-3minutes). We put a man on the moon and can send a hellfire missle from a drone to a one foot square – we can figure out in person voting.

Sue Haynie July 14, 2020 at 6:16 am

Absentee voting beyond the customary process is unnecessary and a political talking point; it has nothing to do with the reality on the ground.

My bet is that Laura Smits and Debra D’Arinzo of the League of Women’s Voters, and the authors of this post, are Democrats. Everything is political nowadays and their post just dismisses the standing of the League of Women Voters in my eyes.

People are social distancing and/or standing in line for all kinds of things right now, we are used to it. This is an election for the President of the United States. If we can stand in line at Stews, Home Depot, CVS, Community Health Center, we can certainly stand in line for this.

Bill Kutik July 14, 2020 at 6:18 am

I’m with Ron. Republicans have been responsible for ALL voter suppression and this is just one more attempt.

Ursula Caterbone July 14, 2020 at 8:46 am

Points for the absentee ballot naysayers to consider:
I assume those of you who are opposed to absentee balloting for the November election plan to volunteer to work at the polls to fill all the slots left empty this year by the senior volunteers who normally fill those jobs but who won’t be there for this election.
What contingency plan have you considered for your polling place when the school closes due to a case of Covid 19 in that school?
If polling stations have to be placed six feet apart that’s 36 sq ft per station, allowing for fewer stations than normal and creating a longer line outside. Have you considered what the weather could be like when voters are forced to stand in a long socially distanced line outside in chilly November rain?

Elsa Peterson Obuchowski July 14, 2020 at 11:24 am

If you’re concerned that people would try to request multiple ballots, please know that each application has a bar code and serial number.
If you’ve received your application by now, you also know that it’s imprinted with your name and address, and that you must sign and date it under penalty of false statement before you send it in.
When it’s received, it will be checked against the voter rolls before a ballot is sent to you.
If you believe the voter rolls are inaccurate, please talk to the Registrar of Voters and find out how they keep the voter rolls up to date.

Non Partisan July 14, 2020 at 11:24 am

Hmmmmmm

My two grown children have not lived in Norwalk for years.

Both have registered to vote in different states

Both have received mail in ballots

Dems are great community organizers. They will take the roles and go house by house and get the ballots filled out.

So the cake is baked. Just need to take it out of the oven

CT-Patriot July 14, 2020 at 11:47 am

So, Republicans are voter suppressionists if that’s a real word.

You do know that voting locations are governed by the local board of elections right?

And, in most Democratic states it is those who “suppress” the vote by eliminating locations. Fewer locations, harder to cast your ballot.

Republicans want voter ID. You need an ID for countless things in today’s society so claiming enforcement of voter ID is clearly without merit.

Those who are frail or in hospice care have a right to obtain a provisional ballot.

Absentee ballots are used exclusively for those who are out of their area, overseas etc

Mail in voting is rampant with fraud on both sides, but too many examples lean Democrat.

Bottom line, those going to Walmart, Target, Home Depot, grocery stores you certainly can go cast your vote at your assigned location. Provided the Democratic voting boards didn’t eliminate it.

Bob Welsh July 14, 2020 at 1:31 pm

Going to Stews, CVS, and Home Depot is generally done to obtain essential items that can’t be obtained another way. Countless epidemiologists and public health experts have said that if you have the option, it’s much safer to have everything delivered. For this reason I have worked hard to convince my parents, who are in their 80s, to get groceries via delivery or contactless pick-up.

Now Mom and Dad may face a choice between sitting out this election or standing in a long line and risking exposure to the virus to have their vote count. That is not a choice anyone, particularly seniors, should have to make.

Moreover, Republicans might want to think long and hard about whether it even serves them to make voting by mail difficult for seniors, who disproportionately support Republicans. There is no question that a significant number of elderly voters – including one or both of my parents – would stay home rather than risk illness from in-person voting.

In Wisconsin a few months back, state GOP officials proceeded with an in-person election despite the pandemic, thinking they’d gain some advantage. Instead, their candidate lost in an upset landslide. I’d be curious to see what turnout by seniors looked like there.

Here’s a crazy thought: how about we end the partisan gripefest, ask scientists and public health experts what would be safest, and do that? And ask Registrars what added measures could reduce the already-low risk of mail-in ballot fraud, and do that too? Any changes only need to last as long as the pandemic.

John Levin July 14, 2020 at 2:19 pm

Early voting and voting by mail is in use statewide in Arizona. Both are enormously popular with voters regardless of political affiliation. Other states offer similar options. I don’t understand how this is a partisan issue.

CT-Patriot July 14, 2020 at 5:12 pm

It’s just facts that mail in votes are rampant with fraud.

I could list too many sites that show no matter what party affiliation, mail in ballots are not the way to go.

Absentee ballots where you must provide proof and sign an oath that you are who you say you are and are not in the location you normally vote in is a different animal.

Too many ballots are mailed to dead, moved, illegal people. Mailbox poaching is also another issue. Dumping ballots, changing them etc. All issues with mail in.

Again, if you go to get food, or anything outside your home, you can vote so stop whining.

Sick/elderly/hospice care can get a provisional.

Face facts, get off your caboose and go and vote, or stay home since the virus is intelligent enough to wait at polling sites. 🙄

Townie July 14, 2020 at 5:24 pm

Beware of any proposal so heavily demanded by the Democrat party, as this one is. It’s ripe for voter fraud and corruption in large liberal progressive cities, where the democrats have a stranglehold on the hearts & minds. The Democratic Party has been hi-jacked by the progressive left and they have proven over and over that they will stop at nothing to gain control & power of our political system.

CT-Patriot July 14, 2020 at 9:55 pm

Does anyone remember all the phony Superbowl tickets? Olympic tickets? Counterfeit bills?

This election, there will be every attempt to throw a monkey wrench into any mail in ballots. Same papers, printing, exact size, barcodes etc. Multiply that by the 10’s of thousands.

If it wasn’t for the new quicker tabulation of results, I still remember the old mechanical lever voting machines. Once zeroed out and a physical lead seal on the counters, these were the most reliable and accurate way to cast a ballot.

Today, even optical scanners and other electronic devices can be compromised very easily.

There is too much to take risks.

Show up at your polling location with your ID. Obtain a ballot and cast your vote.

Joe July 14, 2020 at 11:14 pm

That’s right, we’ve all been going places and using common sense and we’re still here.

We’re looking forward to voting in person and using photo ID’s and our ballots will stay securely in the polling place to be counted.

I wish they used finger prints.

In 1971 in Denver you had to use your finger print for all checks everywhere and that’s how they got
crooks and frauds.

Even if you were cashing your own check in your own bank, you had to do a finger print. Same thing for for the grocery store ,the department store and even the music store…finger prints for security and honesty!

Joe July 14, 2020 at 11:28 pm

I hope the all our democrat mayors and our democrat governor and our democrat SOS are planning how to build safe efficient polling stations.

But I bet they’re not. Ask the mayor!

Oh yeah, I forgot.

We’re not doing press conferences anymore.

We’re doing hollywood squares- partridge family tv faces instead.

No press allowed. No direct questions.

The only guy doing press conferences everyday is President Trump.

Joe Ruggerio July 15, 2020 at 1:50 am

Sorry, that’s hard “NO”.

Like everyone reasoned, if you can protest in person in a big group, you can vote in person.

Bryan Meek July 15, 2020 at 12:04 pm

@John Levin, maybe it’s a partisan issue because each one of our last 3 gubernatorial elections had suspicious issues in New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport where the SOS still never certified vote totals after letting the polls stay open a few extra hours where they photocopied ballots, presumably not already filled out, but we’ll never know.

Bryan Meek July 15, 2020 at 12:05 pm

What ever happened to the woman who challenged Ganim, who said he cheated….and she knew exactly how he cheated because it was a tactic of the local party. The press sure isn’t interested in that story anymore….go figure.

Elsa Peterson Obuchowski July 15, 2020 at 1:29 pm

This comment is inaccurate: “My two grown children have not lived in Norwalk for years. / Both have registered to vote in different states / Both have received mail in ballots”
What came in the mail was an absentee ballot *application* — not a ballot. Each application has to be signed by the voter on penalty of false statement. When sent in, it is then double checked against the voter rolls before an actual ballot can be mailed out.

CT-Patriot has posted several statements that are completely inaccurate, particularly regarding “board of elections,” “provisional ballot,” and the criteria for voting absentee. The inaccuracies are too numerous and complex to unpack here.

Basic information on the voting process for the August 11 primary is available here: https://www.cbia.com/news/inside-the-capitol/connecticut-2020-primary-elections/

Non Partisan July 15, 2020 at 4:50 pm

@ Elsa.

Spin it as you’d like. The city sent applications for mail in ballots to non residents.

I would therefore assume that the applications will be verified against the same erroneous list- by the same level of competence.

How many applications were sent to dead people, people who moved, non residents? What’s stopping a group of people from taking the voter registry- going door to door and getting people to fill out this application, then following up and “helping” them vote? It’s called voter harvesting. It’s disgusting- it’s also going to happen on a large scale.

In place voting with voter of cards- will minimize in eligible votes.

Mail in ballots should be reserved for the sick, military and those traveling abroad.

Elsa Peterson Obuchowski July 15, 2020 at 9:43 pm

In response to Non Partisan: If you “assume that the applications will be verified against the same erroneous list- by the same level of competence” you are mistaken.
If you or anyone else would like further details about how the applications are verified, you may call the Town Clerk’s office.

CT-Patriot July 15, 2020 at 10:30 pm

Forget the “mail in ballot” via absentee mailer. Voter harvesting is very real. Do not discredit its effect!

Absentee requests are reserved for those out of state, not by a virus. What next, any ailment now qualifies for obtaining absentee ballots? Please!

If you are healthy, no symptoms, just do what we normally do. Go to your location with ID and vote.

Take that absentee form and destroy it and throw it in the trash.

I will be casting MY vote as I’ve always have, at the polling location I have been assigned to.

Relax people, if you’ve been going about your business, there is nothing to fear. They WANT you scared by sending out absentee forms.

Now, go about your day. It’s like any other day.

JustATaxpayer July 16, 2020 at 12:41 am

As voting goes, I see that a national police organization is supporting the Republican candidate for President vs the presumptive Democrat candidate.

First time ever. If I were Democrat, I would cheat as much as possible to win

Elsa Peterson Obuchowski July 16, 2020 at 8:54 am

This statement by CT-Patriot is false: “Absentee requests are reserved for those out of state, not by a virus.” CT-Patriot may wish this was the case, but it isn’t.

Connecticut’s criteria for absentee voting have been listed in the state constitution for many years:
– Are you an active member of the armed forces of the United States?
– Will you be out of town during all the hours of voting on Election Day?
– Does illness prevent you from voting in person on Election Day?
– Do your religious beliefs prevent you from performing secular activities like voting on Election Day?
– Will you be performing duties as an election official at a polling place other than your own during all the hours of voting on Election Day?
– Do you have a physical disability that prevents you from voting in person on Election Day?

For the August 11, 2020 primary, one more criterion is added:
– For the August 2020 Presidential and State Primary, all voters can vote by absentee due to the COVID-19 virus, pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order No. 7QQ. Just check the COVID-19 box on the application.

Source: https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Election-Services/Voter-Information/Absentee-Voting

NiZ July 16, 2020 at 10:58 am

So many different perspectives in the comments, I intend to vote in person, as I am physically able. I would like to note we ought to take steps towards Ranked Choice Voting since the topic of Voting and fairness is all in it.

Babar Sheikh July 17, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Republicans have Leslie McRae Dowless. Please remind us of someone equivalent to him on the Democratic side?

Why are so many republicans assuming that everyone goes to Costco/Stop and Shop. I know a few people who haven’t left their house in months due to health issues, young and old. Most republicans assume so much and understand very little. Sad.

Shari Brennan July 17, 2020 at 8:49 pm

At the meeting for those helping out at the polls during the primaries it was told by Chris
( think that is the name of the person who is now stepping in for Karen Lyons) that the people checking off names would be protected by being behind plastic shields. It was also told that those coming into vote would not be required to wear a mask. Everyone will be using the same pencils (no gloves). Will the booths be wiped down and disinfected after each use? Now how does all make it safe to vote in person? This is all a sure way to keep those at risk from going out to vote. Most states allow voting by mail. Actually has been proven that there is very little voter fraud when voting by mail.
Let’s support voting by absentee ballot.

CT-Patriot July 18, 2020 at 4:36 am

Once again, it is a proven fact that “vote by mail” is rampant with fraud.

Let’s face facts.

You go to the grocery store, you handle some vegetables or fruit, what about other items people have touched? What about the workers IN the store?

Masks at this point are mandatory to be worn when in public locations where there is a congregation of people. So far, I do not see people in groups without them.

The virus is not intelligent and not waiting at voting booths for someone.

If you have not contracted Covid-19 by now, there is such a slim chance contracting it when you vote.

I’m an “at risk” individual but I use common sense and use all forms of PPE.

Use common sense and keep up with what your doing and you will be fine.

CT-Patriot July 18, 2020 at 5:19 am

Babar Sheikh July 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm

CT-Patriot, this is from an article you just posted.

Despite ongoing accusations about mail-in voter fraud, including those by President Trump, cases have been minimal — and Trump himself has voted absentee. State leaders from both parties have granted more absentee ballots to residents during the coronavirus pandemic

Thanks for helping prove my point.

Townie July 20, 2020 at 12:28 am

The right to vote is provided for every legal aged citizen. Some would say it is also a privilege. Others an obligation. It is sad that so many of our eligible citizens don’t bother to even register to vote and even more disappointing with the high percentage of those registered who actually don’t vote at all. Even minimal voter fraud is too much and to think that providing more and more absentee ballot voting to take place will not significantly increase the level of potential fraud is absurd. Just another attempt by the Democrat Party to provide more vote harvesting opportunities in their large urban strongholds. Add this to their failed attempt to change Florida’s voting laws, that would have forced the state to permit convicted felons to vote (maybe with absentee ballots) , along with their battle to eliminate the Electoral College, and you have a very clear agenda on what they are trying to do. Just say NO to more absentee ballots!

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