New state legislation, which kicked in this year, allows the permanently disabled to have "permanent absentee balloting status" for elections-but those individuals need to know that they must complete an application process in order to get the status.
Towns are working now to spread the word with press releases and other forms of communication and contact to reach as many eligible individuals on the voting rolls as possible.
"Other towns are doing it differently. Some towns are calling everyone," said Branford Town Clerk Marianne Kelly.
Last week, North Branford voters who checked off the "physically disabled" box on the last Presidential Election ballot were mailed letters explaining the new legislation and the application process, according to a representative of the North Branford town clerk's office. Branford is finalizing plans for how the news will be communicated directly the Branford voters who checked off the box, with likely a letter coming to them soon, said Kelly.
Individuals seeking the new status need to complete an absentee ballot application, together with a doctor's note (on the doctor's letterhead) stating the individual has a permanent disability, and file both with the town clerk in the town in which they are registered to vote.
"For this election, they'll turn in the application, but ongoing from here we would have a list that the registrar would check every year," explained Kelly.
In January of each year, the registrars of voters will send a written notice to electors with permanent absentee ballot status to determine if he or she continues to reside at the address on the permanent absentee ballot application. If the elector fails to respond to the notice, the permanent absentee ballot status will be removed, but the elector will remain on the town's voter registration list.
Once an individual is given permanent absentee ballot status, it enables the elector to receive an absentee ballot for each election, primary, and referendum in his or her voting municipality. Absentee ballots are available 21 days before a primary and 31 days before an election.
The new legislation, Public Act 12-57, "An Act Concerning Permanent Absentee Ballot Status for the Permanently Disabled" created permanent absentee balloting status for certain individuals and became effective
Jan. 1, 2013.
Branford voters seeking more instructions and an absentee ballot application will find assistance by going to the Branford Town Clerk page on the town website, www.branford-ct.gov or calling the town clerk's office at 203-315-0678. North Branford residents can receive assistance at the town clerk page on the town website at www.townofnorthbranfordct.com or call the town clerk's office at