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How to vote absentee, safely, for Nov. 3 election

Connecticut voters worried about COVID-19  will be able to avoid going to a polling station in the Nov. 3 general election by using absentee ballots.

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office sent applications for absentee ballots to all eligible voters (meaning active, registered voters) between Sept. 8 and Sept. 11.

All voters are eligible to vote by absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 general election by checking the COVID-19 excuse on the application.

The ballots come with postage-paid envelopes for return. 

An Aug. 25 press release from the secretary of the state’s office stated:

“Given the well-publicized problems with the United States Postal Service, Secretary Merrill is encouraging voters to use the secure ballot drop boxes to return their absentee ballot applications and the ballot themselves, in order to be sure that all critical mailings are received in a timely fashion. The USPS has made clear that they are not a reliable method for delivering election mail; the ballot drop boxes are and should be used to deliver the absentee ballot applications and the absentee ballots themselves back to the towns.”

The office also noted that “although applications will be mailed to voters after Labor Day, voters should be aware that the absentee ballots themselves cannot be distributed prior to Oct. 2, by Connecticut law. The small amount of time between Oct. 2 and Nov. 3 makes it imperative that voters return their applications and their ballots as soon as possible. Returning the applications and the ballots early will make it easier for the town clerks to do the work that is necessary to process all of the applications and the ballots. 

“Connecticut law only allows the counting of ballots that have arrived by the close of polls, 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3, so returning ballots early and not relying on the post office are the best way for voters to ensure that their votes are counted and their voices heard.”

Merrill’s office also sent a statement out to media on Saturday, Sept. 12, saying, “The Trump administration’s attorney general is deliberately trying to discourage voters from exercising their fundamental, democratic right to vote by eroding voters’ faith in elections. His statement is simply false. Connecticut voters who choose to vote by absentee ballot will have their privacy protected and every valid vote cast will be a vote counted, whether Mr. Barr likes it or not. Every Connecticut voter can choose to safely, securely, and privately vote by absentee ballot if they choose to do so because no voter should ever have to choose between their health and their right to vote.”

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