The challenges of elections in the age of COVID-19

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has called on Governor Lamont to use emergency posters to expand Absentee Voting.
From CTNewsJunkie  Merrill Calls On Lamont To Allow Absentee Voting For Presidential Primary <read>

This will be complex and expensive. So is operating a safe polling place.

Counting a large number of Absentee Ballots is a huge increase in work for the clerks office and for election day officials.  If the deadlines for counting, recanvassing, and certification are not extended then it could take 5-10 times the number of AB counters, along with lots of supervision and planning. Everything needs to be double-checked by staff of opposing interests, yet now they need to be six feet apart and protected from contaminating ballots, likely with latex or plastic gloves. Expanding staff will mean fewer works will have experience counting ABs and doing the work in the clerk’s office before election day.   CT law gives, at most, two days to complete the count, and then six more days to complete recanvasses, and the certification deadline is ten days. In CA they have three weeks to count ABs after the election. Unless something has changed in the last few days, they are still counting the presidential primary.

Recent repeated failures to staff up and organize to handle Election Day Registration should be a cautionary tale.

I used to think that wipes etc. were the solution for polling places, yet we have learned that they harm the ink on ballots and then gum up optical scanners. (And the surface touch screens as well). Once again, plastic/latex gloves may be the best solution for voters and pollworkers. It will take staff to help voters with gloves. What happens if they refuse?

In addition to gloves, in polling places voters and pollworkers need to keep a six foot distance. A great challenge for checkers, ballot clerks, and for curb-side voting. We should give up on privacy folders as well in this emergency.

Perhaps better ideas will emerge as we think about it and hopefully learn from other states.

I am not opposed to the idea of no-excuse AB in this emergency, yet it would be quite a challenge, as will be safe polling place voting.


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