By Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer
As the Nov. 3 election gets closer, 455,861 absentee ballots have been returned, accounting for roughly 20 percent of Connecticut’s registered voters.
A total of 659,894 absentee ballots have been processed in the state for the November election, meaning they have been sent out to voters, but have not yet been returned to municipal registrars. There are about 2.28 million registered voters in Connecticut.
“There’s no frame of reference for this, because it’s the first general election in Connecticut history that anyone, who wanted an absentee ballot could get one,” Gabe Rosenberg, spokesperson for Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said. “In 2016, there were about 125,000 absentee ballots counted, and we’re still 10 days away from the election, and we’re at 455,000 returned with 10 days to go and at least another 200 ,000 outstanding and there’s time still for more to get requested. Clearly, this is unprecedented.”
By the numbers, most of returned ballots are from registered Democrats (233,214). Registered Republicans have accounted for 67,707 ballots, and another 148,563 of the returned ballots are from unaffiliated voters.
“I just think it’s the enthusiasm of people to participate in the electoral process,” said Rosenberg. “And a little bit of fear of COVID that’s caused people to want to vote from absentee. Anecdotally, some voters have found that voting by absentee and dropping it in the drop box to be very convenient, and that they like voting that way.”
Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order early in the pandemic to mail absentee ballot applications to all 1.2 million registered Democrats and Republicans. Because there is nothing historically to compare this wave of absentee ballots, Rosenberg said there is no expectation for how many total absentee ballots will be cast by the end of the election.