With the COVID-19 pandemic presenting a public health risk to Connecticut voters, Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order to allow all registered voters to vote by mail-in absentee ballot for the Aug. 11 primary.
Connecticut voters eagerly embraced the option, as unprecedented numbers of residents submitted applications for absentee ballots. Secretary of State Denise Merrill hired a mailing house to handle sending absentee ballots to voters for the primary–a task previously handled by municipal town clerks.
While many ballots were mailed, a significant portion were not–approximately 20,000 CT voters were left out of the process. First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice raised the alert that 195 of those who won’t get a ballot directly from the state are Wilton residents.
“The [mailing house] concept was a good one, but the execution was flawed,” she told GMW in a statement. In typical years, Town Clerks normally would have begun mailing absentee ballots to residents who had requested them on the first day ballots are available–which would have been July 21. The mailing house had originally said ballots would be mailed on July 27, but they were mailed even later with most arriving Aug. 3. That’s when the Town Clerk received late word about the 195 ballots that didn’t get mailed.
Vanderslice says the Town Clerk’s office will begin mailing those ballots today, Tuesday, Aug. 4.
“Extra resources have been deployed to help the Town Clerk with that mailing and the large influx of returned ballots expected this week and next Monday and Tuesday.”
She also said that any Wilton resident who is traveling between now and the primary and concerned about their ability to obtain or return their absentee ballot, should call the Wilton Town Clerk’s office. “They will ensure you have your ballot in time to have your vote count,” she assured.
Vanderslice has fingers crossed that the Secretary of State’s office will have things buttoned up by the general election.
“In November, we will experience an even greater number of absentee ballots. I’m sure the Governor and the Secretary of State have made it a priority to understand what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again in November.”
Voting by Absentee Ballot in the Aug. 11 Primary
Wilton will hold the Democratic and Republican Presidential Preference Primaries on Aug. 11, 2020. In addition, there will also be a Republican primary to select the candidate for the 26th State Senate District.
Only registered Democrats and Republicans are eligible to vote in the primary.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, active registered voters who are eligible to vote in the primaries may vote by absentee ballot.
Before a ballot can be issued to the voter, an application must be completed and returned to the Wilton Town Clerk’s office. The application can be obtained on The Office of the Secretary of the State website or in person or by mail from the Wilton Town Clerk’s office. To request an Application for Absentee Ballot, please visit the Absentee Ballots page on the Town of Wilton website or call Wilton Town Clerk at 203.563.0106.
Once the application is completed, you may return it to the Wilton Town Clerk in person, by mail, or by fax: Wilton Town Clerk, 238 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897, phone (203) 563-0106; Fax (203) 563-0130, or via email.
Absentee ballots must be received by the Wilton Town Clerk by 8 p.m. on Aug. 11 to be counted. Ballots can be submitted in one of two ways:
- Drop at the secure ballot box located outside the Wilton Police Department at 238 Danbury Rd. by 8 p.m. on Aug. 11. Ballots cannot be dropped after 8 p.m.
- Submit by mail to Wilton Town Clerk, Wilton Town Hall, 238 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897. Ballots must be received by the Town Clerk by Aug. 11 (ballots that are postmarked Aug. 11 or earlier but not received by Aug. 11 will not be counted).
Controls have been put in place to ensure voters only vote once. Anyone who returns an absentee ballot will have their name marked with a red letter “A” in the polling place checker books and will not be able to vote at the polls. If two absentee ballots are returned by one voter, the Wilton Town Clerk will count only the last ballot issued to that voter. In the event that a voter receives two ballots, please notify the Wilton Town Clerk by phone at 203.563.0106 and only vote on one ballot.
New voter registration and political party changes
New voter registration deadlines are Aug. 6 by mail or online and Aug. 10 by 12 noon in person. Voters who have been unaffiliated with any political party for three months may enroll in either the Democratic or Republican Party by Aug. 6 by mail or by Aug. 10 by 12 noon in person, if they wish to vote in the primary. The deadline for changing from one major party to the other major party and to be eligible to vote in the new party’s primary has already passed.
A voter registration form can be downloaded on the Register to Vote page on the Town of Wilton website. To confirm a registration in a political party or to check a polling place, visit the Voter Look Up & Voting District Maps page on the Town of Wilton website.
For more information, contact the Wilton Town Clerk at 203.563.0106 or the Registrars of Voters at 203.563.0111.
How to Vote by Absentee Ballot
The Wilton League of Women Voters provided an easy-to-understand graphic to explain instructions for how voters fill out the absentee ballots.
Democratic Ballot: There are four choices for the presidential nomination: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Uncommitted.
Republican Ballot: There are three choices for the presidential nomination: Donald J. Trump, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, and Uncommitted.
Republican Ballot: Kim Healy and William Duff are vying to win the nomination to be the Republican candidate in the race for the 26th District State Senate seat. The winner will face Will Haskell, the Democrat seeking re-election, in the general election on Nov. 3.