After Valentine alleges ‘problems’ on election night, registrars say system prevents double voting

STAMFORD — Around 11 p.m. Tuesday as absentee votes were being counted, Bobby Valentine told supporters gathered at The Village in the South End that there was a “problem.”

“What the problem right now is — those problems. I can’t believe that here in Stamford, Connecticut, we’re dealing with those problems. Oh, someone voted absentee and they also voted in person,” Valentine said, prompting groans from the crowd.

After talking about his decision to run for mayor and praising those who volunteered for his campaign, Valentine returned to absentee ballots.

“I just want to say, seriously, this campaign should be the model, regardless of what I get when they tell me about the 6,000 AB ballots that are being counted or the 400 ballots that are being contested or any of that other stuff that’s going down, going on in town hall right now — which, believe me, it makes my stomach turn to think that in our city that they’re actually telling me now, ‘Oh, someone voted in person and they forgot they voted absentee,’” said Valentine, a former Major League Baseball manager and city native who ran as an unaffiliated candidate.

Stamford’s registrars of voters, Democrat Ron Malloy and Republican Lucy Corelli, on Friday said they didn’t know what Valentine was referring to regarding 400 “contested” ballots.

Valentine’s campaign manager did not return a request for comment.

Malloy and Corelli, however, explained the process for ensuring that no person votes twice.

“(For) any absentee ballots that came in on Tuesday, Election Day, each polling location was called to find out if that person had already voted or not. And if they had voted already, the absentee ballot that was submitted was marked as having voted already,” Malloy said. “If they had not voted already, the books were marked that they have voted by absentee ballot, so if they show up afterwards, they can’t vote because the book is marked (that they) voted already by absentee ballot.”

Absentee ballots were collected from two drop boxes in the city for the last time at 8 p.m., when the polls also closed. That batch of absentee ballots was then checked against the poll books.

“Because the polls had already closed and the moderators are working like heck to get the polls closed, the tapes printed and so on and so forth, we have to wait for the moderators to come back from the polling locations and give us their polling books so that we can go through every polling book to see if the ballots that were received in the last drop off — if those people had already voted at the polls or not,” Malloy said.

The town clerk’s office received more than 5,000 absentee ballots for Tuesday’s election as voters could use the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for seeking one. Four years ago, the office received about 800 absentee ballots, according to the Secretary of the State’s website.

In the mayoral race, Democratic state Rep. Caroline Simmons received a total of 15,565 votes, including 3,227 by absentee ballot, according to results submitted to the Secretary of the State. Valentine received 14,060 votes, including 1,961 by absentee ballot.

Both campaigns sent out absentee ballots applications to voters. Simmons’ campaign sent out 14,056 applications, according to the town clerk. Valentine’s campaign sent out 30,546.

In an email to supporters after his loss, Valentine didn’t reiterate any issues with the votes cast in his race.

“We built an organization from scratch, and I’m confident in saying we outmatched our opponents in every aspect, with the exception of the final vote count,” Valentine said.