SHELTON — Some 7,000 absentee ballots have been returned to the city clerk’s office — and more are coming in every day, according to city Clerk Marge Domorod.
“We’ve never seen anything of this magnitude,” Domorod said about the absentee ballots received through Wednesday morning. “And they keep coming in. It is incredible.”
This year’s election is headlined by the heated contest between Republican President Donald J. Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Locally, the election features a vote on the proposed charter revisions as well as state House contests in the 113th and 122nd districts.
Domorod said her office normally receives between 500 and 550 absentee ballots for a presidential election, some 350 for the regular municipal elections. In last year’s local election, Domorod said the clerk’s office received 548 absentee ballot applications.
When absentee ballots arrive — whether through the mail or picked up at one of the four drop boxes in the city — Domorod said each is scanned into the state system, then they are organized into districts. She said then the ballots are prepared to be picked up by registrar of voters’ personnel at 7 a.m. Monday.
“We are still receiving applications for absentee ballots, too,” Domorod said.
She recommends those who receive ballots to vote immediately and return them in the secure drop-off boxes. She said members of the clerk’s office pick up ballots from the drop boxes several times a day.
The final pick up from drop boxes will be 8 p.m. on Election Day. Domorod said she has requested that a police officer be stationed at each drop off box for the planned pickups on Election Day.
Since the clerk’s office handles so many duties beyond absentee ballots, Domorod said the office has been open five days a week with two staffers working the front desk to aid those needing help with things like land records.
Expecting a heftier price tag for this election, the Board of Aldermen has approved paying the over-expenditure to the city clerk’s printing and advertising budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The board stated it expects much or all of the overage to be reimbursed by the state.
“With this heavier workload, we have had staffing from the tax collector’s office and a college student helping,” Domorod said, “and we are working longer hours to keep up with the workload.”
Domorod, in a letter to the aldermen, stated that her office budgeted $7,500 overall but the office spent $2,431 for the primary and anticipate spending an additional $9,900 for the presidential election.
Domorod said the November cost estimate comes from the postage for 22,000 absentee ballots — 80 percent of the total 26,927 voters registered as of Sept. 1.
Once completed, people are urged to put the absentee ballots in one of the secure drop boxes — one is outside of City Hall; the Shelton Community Center, 41 Church St.; the White Hills Fire House, 2 School St.; and the Pine Rock Fire House, 722 Long Hill Ave. Using the box allows the clerk’s office to process the information faster than waiting for the ballot to come by mail.
On Tuesday, all city polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for in-person voting.
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