MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — City clerk’s offices across the state been busier this election cycle than during any other presidential election. City clerks in Middletown and Old Lyme tell News 8 they are overwhelmed.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many voters are taking the option to vote absentee. But this is overwhelming town clerk offices across the country.
From Middletown where voters are calling to check to see if their absentee ballots have been received to Old Lyme where almost half of the voters are using absentee ballots, municipal workers are busy.
“We’ve issued over 2,700 ballots [this year]. In 2016 we issued 684,” said Old Lyme Town Clerk Vicki Urbowicz.
“The last presidential election in 2016 we issued about 2,000 absentee ballots,” said Middletown City Clerk Ashley Flynn-Natale. “This year we have almost about 10,000.”
About 7,500 have already been returned and new absentee ballot applications are still coming in which means overtime and weekend work in Middletown. Most of the work now being done is making sure those who returned an absentee ballot are crossed off the voter list.
Their job might be tough these days but they’re making it easy for voters. Middletown has two ballot boxes and they’re drive-through. They are emptied three times a day.
For the first time ever, the state is allowing cities and towns to start processing the ballots this weekend instead of waiting until the morning of Election Day.
Old Lyme was one of the first towns to sign up for that.
“Basically what we’re doing is only opening the outer envelope. But when you’re talking 2,700 envelopes that’s quite a job to do,” said Urbowicz.
Middletown registrars of voters will be doing the same this weekend.
“They’re just going to do the initial opening and then they’re going to hand it back to us and then at 9 a.m. on Election Day we’re going to hand it back to them and that’s when they will start the process to count the ballots,” said Flynn-Natale.
A head start on what will be a busy Election Day. Ballots in both towns are kept under tight security.