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    Tuesday, November 29, 2022

    Absentee ballots continue to stream in throughout Connecticut

    Both statewide and in New London County towns, an extraordinary number of people are voting by absentee ballot for the 2020 election.

    As of Thursday, Connecticut voters have returned 567,752 absentee ballots, about 81% of the 698,580 sent out, according to the Secretary of the State’s Office, meaning almost 130,000 absentee ballots have yet to be sent in. For comparison, about 125,000 absentee ballots were counted for the 2016 election. 

    Democrats are far outpacing Republicans, returning 278,498 absentee ballots, 83% of the 331,996 processed. By contrast, Republicans have returned 87,232 absentee ballots, almost 80% of 109,303 sent out. Registered unaffiliated voters have turned in 193,440, about 78% of the 246,918 sent out. Voters registered in other parties have returned 8,082 absentee ballots of the 10,363 processed for them, amounting to about 77%.

    The state legislature passed a bill in July expanding absentee ballot provisions to account for the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the November general election.

    An Act Concerning Absentee Voting and Reporting of Results at the 2020 State Election and Election Day Registration received bipartisan support from legislators, though Republicans argued the bill had holes in terms of election security, and some Democrats said it didn’t go quite far enough in broadening voting rights.

    Gov. Ned Lamont already had issued an executive order allowing all registered voters in Connecticut to use absentee ballots in the August primary, and the bill essentially extended that order.

    All active, registered voters have now been mailed absentee ballot applications. Voters can vote by absentee, or go the traditional route of casting a ballot in person on Nov. 3.

    In southeastern Connecticut, among the towns of East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Lyme, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Old Lyme, Preston, Salem, Stonington and Waterford, 37,124 absentee ballots have been returned, or 84% out of the 44,002 processed.

    The breakdown by party affiliation corresponds with state totals. Democrats in the region returned 17,698 absentee ballots, 87% of the 20,251 sent out. Republicans have returned 5,391, or 82% of the 6,550 processed. Unaffiliated voters have returned 13,420, or about 81% of the 16,461 sent out. Voters registered with other parties have returned 615 absentee ballots, 83% of the 740 that were sent out.

    Of the 13 towns in the region, a total of about 16% of absentee ballots have yet to be returned. Among Democrats, 13% of absentee ballots haven’t been returned, compared to 18% for Republicans, 19% for unaffiliated voters and 17% of voters registered to other parties.

    Town clerks are urging people to vote before the weekend, especially if mailing an absentee ballot, in order to account for an efficient vote-counting process. In some towns, absentee ballots that come in on Nov. 3 will not be counted until the day after Election Day. Registrars have 96 business hours, rather than the typical 48, to finalize vote totals, and with a weekend cutting into that timeline, it’s possible some municipalities won’t have full results until Monday, Nov. 9.

    s.spinella@theday.com

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