SEEC to investigate absentee ballot applications mailed to Guilford voters

New Haven

GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The State Elections and Enforcement Committee (SEEC) has voted to investigate absentee ballot applications that were mailed to voters with a pre-signed photocopy signature. The investigation involved a complaint filed in Guilford.

News 8 has learned voters in Stratford received similar pre-signed applications and a complaint has been filed there as well.

RELATED: Former Stratford Democratic Primary Candidates file SEEC complaint stating absentee ballot applications were mailed with pre-signed signatures

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office says a miscommunication from her office led a consulting firm to send out the pre-signed applications. That firm works with municipalities around the state.

On the eve of Election Day, volunteer Kendall Svengalis is making a final push for his candidate for the Guilford Board of Education.

“They failed on multiple counts and it was very cynical,” Svengalis said.

Svengalis welcomes word of a SEEC investigation into how and why potentially thousands of town voters received absentee ballot applications that included a photocopies signature from a campaign rep instead of the real thing, ink to paper.

The mailers were sent out by the Democratic Town Committee and also included filled lines for voter names, birthdates, and addresses.

“It’s not good for the integrity of voting in the Town of Guilford,” said Deborah DeMusis.

Republicans Debbie DeMusis and George Mack filed the original complaint in Guilford.

“They could not have helped to know they were illegal. We knew it as soon as we saw them, and filed,” George Mack said.

The man whose signature appears on the application is Bill Bloss. He says that his John Hancock was reprinted and that it was all ok’d by the Secretary of the State’s Office.

“The Secretary of the State says she’s wrong. The Secretary of the State says that they gave us, they made a miscommunication and our campaigns reasonably relied on it,” Bloss said. “We appreciate they’re stepping up and saying they should have been clear.”

In emails obtained by News 8, a member of Merrill’s office appears to tell the consulting group Blue Edge Strategies that said, ‘Digital is fine,’ when asked about sending out pre-signed ballot applications. In a statement issued last month, the Secretary of State’s office called the issue a ‘miscommunication.’

Any voters who used the applications to receive a mail-in ballot will still have their vote counted. The state elections and enforcement commission investigation could take up to a year.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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