ENFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Allegations of illegal ballot box stuffing during Bridgeport’s recent mayoral primary have prompted leaders in other cities and towns in Connecticut to look at ways to increase ballot box security.
In Enfield, town officials want to keep an eye on those boxes. The town installed three cameras, one shooting each of the town’s three ballot drop boxes.
“This camera is specific to this area,” Enfield Town Manager Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said. “It has the ability to zoom, and it can pivot.”
The cameras are located at the town hall on Enfield Street, the drive-thru at the Enfield Express on Enfield Street and the Central Library on Middle Street.
“I think everybody understands that it’s a necessary thing nowadays,” Enfield Town Clerk Sheila Bailey said. “I think the expectation every time you’re in a public parking lot now is that you’re being filmed.”
The three cameras and the system to record and keep the video cost around $8,000. That money came from funds already set aside in the clerk’s budget for use in elections.
“I usually budget for a referendum question every year, and this year, Enfield is not having one,” Bailey said. “So, I had some additional funds available, and I thought the timing was good.”
Good timing because absentee ballot use is still high. While some don’t trust them, others see them as a way to increase voter participation, especially in off-years like this that typically have low turnout.
“It would be great to increase that if people found it easy to vote by absentee based on work schedules and vacations or anything else,” Zoppo-Sassu said.
The boxes are typically used for about 30 days before an election. The video system stores video for 60 days, giving town officials time to go back and look for any irregularities.