Town Clerk Chasing Down Misdated Ballots
UPDATE: This report was corrected at 5:30 pm on October 23 to reflect that only approximately 75 of more than 6,500 absentee ballots being issued included an incorrect date.
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Town Clerk Debbie Halstead told The Newtown Bee she will exhaust all avenues — including knocking on voters’ doors — to ensure all applicants who received misdated absentee ballots understand they must file those election documents before 8 pm on Tuesday, November 3.
The town clerk said due to a clerical error, about 75 of the as yet uncollected ballots contain a sticker incorrectly indicating those documents are due into her office by November 4.
Halstead explained that the error affected just several dozen the more than 6,500 issued ballots her staff has processed to date, was corrected in electronic files for each affected voter. But stickers on the inner ballot envelopes still reflected the wrong Election Day date.
“This does not disqualify these ballots from being counted,” Halstead said. She went on to say in a notification e-mail, “State statutes are very specific about why a ballot should be disqualified and a wrong date is not one of them. However, in order to be counted the ballot must be returned by 8 pm on Election Day, November 3.”
She said local registrars are also aware of this error and want to assure those voters that this does not affect their vote.
“If I can’t connect with those 70 outstanding applicants by phone and/or mail before the end of the month, I’m willing to knock on doors if necessary,” she said.
The misdated stickers were isolated in one batch of about 300 absentee ballots, but Halstead said more than 225 of the completed ballots have already been returned.
“We are working together to maintain the integrity of the election process in Newtown,” the town clerk said. “Thank you for voting.”