Town Clerks Oppose Unlimited Absentee Balloting

Hartford Courant story: Connecticut Town Clerks Concerned About Proposals To Expand Absentee Balloting <read>

Town clerks statewide are opposing bills seeking a constitutional change to allow early voting in Connecticut because they fear the proposals lack sufficient safeguards to deter election fraud.

“We’re not against the concept of having more people vote. But we’re concerned about the loss of accountability in any law allowing anyone to use absentee ballots for any reason,” said Joseph Camposea, Manchester town clerk and president of the Connecticut Town Clerks Association. “There’s no reason to rush into this.”…

The expansion is supported by Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, who said she believes that it will allow more people to vote.

“This is an opportunity to expand participation in our electoral process,” she said. “The impetus came during the presidential election, when people saw early voting that was allowed in some states. Thousands of people cast ballots prior to Election Day in those states.”

We understand the attraction of unlimited absentee voting, yet the attraction is accompanied by risks that votes will not be counted.   We we have several concerns beyond the potential for voter fraud expressed by town clerks.  One risk is of votes being lost or fradulently destroyed between the time the voter places the votes in the mail and they are delivered to the counting officials. Ballots pass through the U.S. Mail and then through receipt, storage, and delivery in town hall.  Not a potential, but a real problem, is the significant percentage of absentee ballots disqualified through  innocent mistakes made by voters.  <Example:  Minnesota Senate Race>

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