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Absentee ballots received before Thursday to be counted

Gov. Ned Lamont has issued another executive order pertaining to absentee ballots, this time to count all ballots postmarked by Tuesday.

In a time unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic or Tropical Storm Isaias, absentee ballots would need to be received before or on the primary election date, not after. According to Lamont's order, which was issued Monday, absentee ballots postmarked by Aug. 11 and in possession of registrars by Thursday will be counted.

Lamont's action came shortly after Secretary of the State Denise Merrill urged the governor to respond to widespread power outages and to ensure people affected by the storm are able to vote.

"Given the devastating aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, this proposed executive order has become critical to ensure that every voter can exercise their right to vote," Merrill said in a statement released Monday. "Many post offices lost power potentially delaying ballots that remain in the post office chain. Roads and bridges were closed for several days and access to town halls still remain a problem, as does power and connectivity at some town halls."

But Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, and other Republican lawmakers said Merrill is trying to save face after her office failed to send 20,000 ballots to registered Democrats and Republicans ahead of the Aug. 11 primary election.

"This is an admission by Secretary Merrill that her system failed," Fasano said in a statement Monday. "She's trying to blame everyone, including the weather, for her errors. This is not the fault of a storm, it's not the fault of the postal service, and it's not the fault of town clerks. Secretary Merrill's third-party mail house missed multiple deadlines and delayed sending ballots. Instead of recognizing the issues early on, she dismissed and ignored warnings several times and spent more time pointing her finger at others than on fixing the problems."

The state, and municipal election officials, are viewing Tuesday's primary as a test run before the upcoming general election in November.


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