Sec. Merrill urges absentee voters to use ballot boxes amid USPS issues


CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — A presidential election is just months away, and with respect to the virus, several states are trying to ease voting by mail.

Across 23 states, more than 500,000 mail ballots were rejected during the primary elections.

The reasons include missed delivery deadlines or inadvertent mistakes.

So, how exactly does this all work?

Between Sept. 8-11, the office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State will send out applications for absentee ballots to all eligible voters. All voters are eligible to vote by absentee ballot for this year’s election by checking the COVID-19 excuse on the application.

Tuesday, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill outlined the process and timelines.

“This is a new process for so many people,” she said. “The big thing is make sure you sign the inner envelope. You fill it out, vote for your choice. You fold it up, and you put it in the inner envelope, which will have a lot of writing on the front but it’ll tell you exactly how to check off, why you’re voting absentee, and then you sign it.”

With the ongoing issues with the postal service, Merrill suggested using a ballot box, which will be in front of every town hall in the state.

“We all know the questions about the postal service. I’m encouraging everyone to use ballot boxes. There is now a ballot box, very secure, in front of every town hall in the state.”

By Connecticut law, the ballots cannot be distributed prior to Oct. 2, and Election Day is November 3 — give the state a small window to work with.

Could they get the ballots out earlier?

“In Connecticut, it’s a very complicated system. We have over 500 different kinds of ballots.”

Every town has a different ballot. Sometimes, districts within the town have different ballots.

“There are still minor parties to be considered,” Merrill said.

Because of that, Merrill said the ballots really can’t be ready until about four weeks before the election.

“That’s probably always going to be the case unless we made a big change in the way we do business around here.”

Of course, there’s always the option to vote in person. Secretary Merrill said they are doing everything they can at the polling places to be within the CDC guidelines.

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