ENFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8 is your Election Headquarters. It’s a story we first broke back in September. Our political team investigated why more than 200 -absentee ballot addressed to Connecticut residents, mainly in Enfield, arrived weeks after the August Primary.
“There does appear to be some kind of issue to suggest it lands right at the doorstep of the postal service, specifically the Enfield Station,” according to Attorney Kevin Ahern from the State Elections Enforcement Law Enforcement Unit. “A number of these ballots appeared to have been dropped in the mail and appeared to take a very long time to make their way back to the town clerks office.”
State Election Enforcement investigators are now asking the Office of Inspector General of United States Postal Service to figure out what happened to these absentee ballots in the weeks leading up to the August Primary.
News 8 first learned of the ballot controversy when State Representative Candidate MaryAnn Turner grew concerned after election officials reported batches of ballots were delivered 3-weeks after the Primary.
3,778 ballots were sent out to voters. 6% of them, or 234, were returned late. Those votes DID NOT count. The Secretary of State’s Office referred the case to Elections Enforcement.
Turner said, “Something went awry and we can’t have it happen. This is a very important election.”
During the course of the state investigation, staff uncovered a majority of ballots had been signed and mailed by voters 10 days before the Aug. 11 primary.
But 66% didn’t get postmarked until Aug. 27; Sixteen days after the polls closed.
A map put together by the Elections Law Enforcement Unit show late ballots came from all over Enfield.
Elections enforcement says the town clerk and registrars did everything by the book.
Turner says the Town Clerk has already received 8,000 absentees for the upcoming Presidential election.
“And they’re being dropped in the [ballot] box because the public at large are afraid their ballots are not going to count,” Turner said.
Enfield brothers John and Mike Hayes are voting the old fashioned way.
John Hayes said, “The information we are getting about the mail-in ballots, I’m not confident that they’ll be received properly or counted properly. At least I know my vote will be counted if I show up and do it in person.”
Mike Hayes admits, “I feel more confident doing it in person.”
State Election Enforcement officials have been in contact with special agents from the Office of Inspector General, and they say they will fully cooperate.
WEB EXTRA: Read the State Elections Enforcement Commission memo