A rapidly increasing number of New Canaan voters are requesting and filing absentee ballots for the municipal election, according to Town Clerk Claudia Weber.
Asked about the activity since absentee voting opened Oct. 1, Weber said, “The first two weeks of the month it was very, very quiet and now all of the sudden it has picked up dramatically and we are swamped.”
As of midday Wednesday, a total of 546 absentee ballots had been issued, and Weber said she expects to issue more than 1,000 overall—a “much greater” number than in a regular local election year, she said.
“In a normal municipal election, pre-COVID, we usually issued less than 200 absentee ballots,” Weber said.
It’s unclear whether the high number is also a measure of overall interest in the election. Weber said it’s likely due to rules that allow for expanded absentee voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has to be because of COVID, I would think, because COVID is still allowed as a reason to request an absentee ballot this year,” Weber said. “So it’s hard to compare that to any other election, except the presidential.”
The Town Clerk’s office is encouraging those seeking to drop off absentee ballots or applications to use the drop box located outside of the northern entrance to Town Hall.
She also said her office is having “some problems with applications.”
“If any person assists a voter in filling out the application, they have to sign the bottom of the application saying that they provided assistance,” Weber said. “Nobody can fill out something for someone else without doing that.”
The major contested race in the Nov. 2 election is for the Board of Education, where 10 candidates are vying for six open seats.
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