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State Representative Race gets caught up in latest ballot mix up


(WTNH) — According to the State’s Chief Election Official, more than half a million people requested to vote by absentee ballot this year.

Already, 267,000 voters cast their ballot, which will be counted on Nov. 3. But as News 8 first reported earlier this week, some voters received the wrong ballot in the mail.

RELATED: Election officials reassure public after absentee ballot issues caught in Vernon, Wallingford and New Haven

Some of those people will decide who is the next State Representative in the 103rd General Assembly seat which covers the towns of Cheshire, Southington and parts of Wallingford.

Democratic Incumbent Liz Linehan is being challenged by Republican Pam Salamone.

If you live in voting district 6 in Wallingford and recently voted by absentee, you may not have seen their names on the ballot. “My first instinct was to spring into action and find out how deep the problem went,” according to Candidate Linehan.

Challenger Salamone was just as concerned, “We just want to make sure every vote is counted and nobody is left out of the process.”

The Secretary of the State thinks the mistake stems from the central voter registry system printing the wrong mailing district on labels. “If you check a different field you get the wrong ballot, so it’s kind of unclear to me – what IT problem lead to it,” said Secretary Denise Merrill.

Barbara Thompson, Wallingford’s Town Clerk says “You could end up with someone for instance who lives in the 85th house district getting the 90th House seat ballot by mistake.”

Wallingford’s Town Clerk says other local districts were affected too. In all, 261 voters. But adding to the chaos, Thompson says not every ballot was wrong: “It’s nerve-wracking!”

35 towns around the state, including Vernon, all have ballot issues.

Wallingford’s Town Clerk is concerned, “It does become a short window now as we are going out two and a half weeks [to the election] to contact the voter and get them to vote again for the second time. I’m hoping it’s fixed.”

Secretary Merrill admits, “There may be mistakes here and there as long as it’s rectified with the voters.”

Voters are now being sent a second ballot with a letter notifying them to re-vote. Thompson explains they will void the first ballot and keep the second ballot.

RELATED: Town of Vernon, Secretary of State’s office have different explanations for absentee ballots mix up

Salamone says, “I just want to make sure the voters feel their votes are being counted properly.”

“I do think it is something we should keep our eye on,” added Linehan.

Both candidates say they want the election to be fair. Noting in a local election the margins are often very close, every vote counts.

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