State Reps. calling for immediate investigation

With the primary election only days away, State Reps. Dave Rutigliano (R-123), Laura Devlin (R-134) and Ben McGorty (R-123) are calling for an immediate investigation of the Connecticut’s Secretary of the State’s Office (SOTS) after they notified town clerks across the state, that people who requested an absentee ballot (AB) for the Aug. 11 primary may not get one.

According to the Connecticut Town Clerks Association, the Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s handpicked mail vendor cannot fulfill the obligations to process and mail approximately 20,000 absentee ballots to qualified voters, including 770 in Trumbull.

Trumbull has both a Democratic State Senate primary and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries, which is why the town’s absentee ballot applications are greater than many surrounding towns.

“This is inexcusable. These missteps could result in many voters of both parties, Republican and Democrat being disenfranchised for the August 11 state primaries. We must make certain our laws, processes and procedures truly protect the integrity of all of our elections,” said Rep. Rutigliano. “This does not bode well for November, instead of spending funds on drop boxes and bumper stickers, the Secretary of the State should have given that money to local town clerks to add staff to help with the effort of box issuing ballots and the doing the necessary security checks when the ballots are received. Election security should be a top priority.”

“The whole point of expanding access to absentee ballots for reasons of COVID-19 is to make sure every eligible voter can cast their vote without worry. I am astounded that this close to the election, the ball has been dropped and now our town clerks are expected to pick up the pieces. This is absolutely unreasonable and will likely impact some peoples’ ability to vote on August 11,” said Rep. Devlin. “We voiced our concerns about exactly these kinds of problems in the special session, and I am disheartened to see them come to fruition. We must do everything we can to ensure that this does not happen again when we vote in November.”

“An investigation into this debacle and the decisions that caused it is the only way that we can ensure we don’t have these problems in November,” Rep. McGorty said. “The mismanagement of this process could easily keep people from voting in the upcoming primary, and it would be a shame to repeat our mistakes and risk further disenfranchising Connecticut voters.”

All three legislators have previously voiced concerns over Secretary Merrill running a statewide absentee ballot program, which is normally run by each town in the state.