Absentee Ballots Can Be Decisive – yet Unaudited

Story in ConnPost, Primary loser declines to challenge absentees, <read>

Before the absentee ballots were counted last week, Valle led with 266 votes tallied on the voting machines, and Martinez was second with 248 votes. In third place was Valle’s partner Christina Ayala with 245 votes and Manuel Ayala, who was running with Martinez, trailed with 223 votes.

But after the absentee ballots were counted, Martinez emerged as the victor with 356 votes and Manuel Ayala, who received 106 absentee votes, leapt to second place slot.

Valle, the only City Council candidate endorsed by the Working Families Party, said this week that she finds it unusual that so many absentee ballots were filed, but does not plan to challenge the primary results. “I’m not going to go there. November 3rd is another election. November 3rd is around the corner,” she said.

“I won at the polls,” Valle said of the voting machine totals. “For me, it says a lot. In regard to the ABs, time will tell,” she added, cryptically.

Still, Valle admitted she was concerned that voters might be confused by the third slate of candidates on the ballot and not realize that they can vote for her — regardless of what political party they belong to.

We point out several issues that this situation brings up:

  • Absentee ballots can be decisive.
  • Ballot layout is important.  Perhaps the location of the candidate or organization by party on ballots in Connecticut was the critical item.
  • Perhaps the Democratic Party or the endorsed candidates did a lot of work getting out the absentee vote.
  • As we and others have pointed out, there are many issues and risks with any type of mail-in voting, including absentee voting.
  • Finally, also as we have pointed out before, most absentee ballots are not subject  to the Connecticut Post-Election Audit Law – an opening for errors to go undetected and an opportunity for fraud.  And as we have learned from the Minnesota recount, just recounting absentee ballots is half the  job – the other half is reviewing and perhaps correcting the rejection and acceptance of absentee ballots.
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