(WTNH) — Connecticut’s Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said during a normal primary election 20,000 people may vote absentee. This year, between the pandemic and the tropical storm, she estimates the number of absentee ballots cast could reach more than 300,000.
The polls were light on voter turn out Tuesday. The drop boxes were popular. The U.S. mail flowing like Christmas cards, but instead, they were absentee ballots. The Secretary of the State Denise Merrill told News 8 she considered this a dry-run for November.
Right at 8 p.m. Tuesday, the signs on the ballot boxes in West Hartford said it all: “Closed per Secretary of the State.”
Voters like Clare Rossini said using the absentee ballot was the right way to go in her mind.
“With the pandemic, it seems its the only way to go really.”
She and her husband cast their ballots before the 8 p.m. deadline.
“It was easy very smooth walked in dropped it off,” added Joe Byrne.
Officials reported 285 people voted in person at West Hartford Town Hall, and according to election officials, 10,000 voted absentee.
“We go on, whether it’s paper and a flashlight, like one gentleman said,” remarked Merrill.
Last week’s tropical storm knocked out internet and power to polling places.
Everyone is back up online. In Hartford, the main post office was hit hard. Mail backed up.
On election day, teams processed up to 4,000 absentee ballots.
As long as they are post marked by election day the vote counts.
“We’ll make a run the mail to the post office at 7:30 with the police officially pick up any ballots and transport it back here,” added Noel McGregor, Hartford’s city clerk.
In West Hartford, voters are looking to the November general election.
“I think this is how elections should go really; mail version should be extended even post-pandemic,” said Clare Rossini.
Secretary Merrill said she is going to mail absentee ballot applications to all voters for November too.
Two million voters will be eligable for the general election between Democrats, Republicans and Unaffiliated voters.
“It will be very complicated there will be more ballots and maybe we will do things differently it may be where the clerks take on more of it and we will take on less.”
Ballots and machines will be locked up and moved to the town vault. Local election officials have until midnight Thursday to get all the votes counted.
In some towns, they are going to need teams of workers to help process all the paperwork.