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Absentee ballots may not be counted if not signed

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    Waterbury, CT (WFSB) — Preparations for Tuesday’s election are in full swing.

On Friday, towns will be able to start opening envelopes with absentee ballots.

But, there’s a question as to what happens if some off the ballots are not signed.

This has happened with absentee ballots in other elections.

The Secretary of the State’s office is telling towns they can reach out to people and encourage them to go to the polls, so their vote can be counted.

At Waterbury City Hall, absentee ballots are being checked.

“All the absentee envelopes that have come in and which are still sealed, we are going through checking the name off against the official books, so this way on Election Day, someone walks in, we know they have already voted absentee,” said Jason Vanstone, ballot checker.

It’s done the old-fashioned way by hand, so they can catch errors to avoid problems on Election Day. Vanstone was able to convince his daughter to help out.

“It’s important to know that there is still a process, despite what many people have been saying lately, that there is still integrity in our democracy,” Lauren Vanstone said.

Laws were changed to allow people to vote absentee because of the pandemic. Starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, registrars will be able to start separating envelopes to reduce the workload on Election Day.

“We didn’t see it as a time saving issue, we also purchased two electric letter openers,” said Timothy DeCarlo, Registrar of Voters.

When they start opening ballots on Election Day, chances are they are going to find some were not signed.

“Unfortunately, there are always going to be those few that we do have to reject. This has been since we have been doing absentee, these are the same rules,” DeCarlo said.

Registrars are not required to notify voters their absentee ballot is invalid, but they can if they choose to and the Secretary of the State is encouraging that.

“Let them know that it didn’t get filled out properly and you still have another shot to vote because at the end of the day, everybody wants the people of Connecticut to have their say and lets not let a technicality stand in the way of people exercising their right to vote,” said Scott Bates, Deputy Secretary of the State.

The bottom line is if you’re going to vote absentee, you must sign your ballot. If you are notified by your town that you didn’t, you can still vote in person on Election Day.

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