Fairfield, CT - State Senator Tony Hwang (28th) and State Representatives Laura Devlin (134th) and Brian Farnen (132nd) expressed concern about the recent notice sent to town clerks that over 20,000 absentee ballot applicants may not be receiving their ballots before the Primary Election to be held this coming Tuesday, August 11.
According to the Connecticut Town Clerks Association, the Secretary of State Denise Merrill’s hand-picked mail vendor cannot fulfill the obligations to process and mail approximately 20,000 absentee ballots to qualified voters including over 400 in Fairfield and Southport.
The Fairfield lawmakers along with their colleagues have called for an immediate investigation of the Secretary of State’s office regarding their absentee ballot process.
“As a supporter of no excuse absentee voting in CT, this gross mismanagement by the Secretary of the State’s office is the worst possible validation of the often cited examples of logistical challenges and potential for error and chaos in denying residents their right to cast a vote because of the Covid-impacted Constitutional change to early voting,” said Senator Hwang. “The possibility of having nearly 20,000 ballots not included in the count for the August 11th primary is an outrage and denial of people's right to cast a legitimate vote. The responsibility for this debacle sits squarely with SOTS Denise Merrill. I want to especially thank our Town Clerks and Registrars of Voters for working so hard to correct this egregious abuse of the public voting trust.”
"I am appalled by both the mismanagement of this process and the expectation that our local town clerks will take over so close to the election. It is an incredible task and many will not have the resources to complete it," said Rep. Devlin. "We intended to increase access to absentee ballots in order to protect every citizens' right to cast their vote amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and following these missteps I am not confident in the Secretary of State's office to carry this out again in November."
“I, along with my legislative colleagues were rightly concerned about an absentee ballot program being managed by state officials instead of our very capable local town clerks. During this time of COVID, many voters this fall plan to vote absentee, in order to stay safe, and we need to reassure these voters that the process to vote is protected and we maintain its integrity,” said Rep. Brian Farnen. “With the potential of thousands voting by absentee in November we need to get it right for the voters of Connecticut."
All three legislators have previously voiced concerns over Secretary Merrill running a state-wide AB program which is normally run by each town in the state.