Tag Archives: absentee ballots

Vote! But How?

Alert — and civic-minded — “06880” reader Jeff Seaver wants to vote by mail. But, he says, the state of Connecticut is not making it easy. He writes:

We’re all aware of issues with absentee ballots and voting drop boxes across the US. I assumed Connecticut would be exempt.

But if you choose to vote via absentee ballot from the State of Connecticut, and mail a request, here’s what you see:

1. The paperwork arrives in a fat envelope.

2. Whoever they hired for graphic design, it’s as if they offered a bonus for the least intuitive way humanly possible:

  • Key messages are buried in body text
  • Big headers contain unimportant information
  • There are 5 separate forms
  • English and Spanish versions are crammed side-by-side, and flipped onto both sides of an envelope, with no explanation
  • The paperwork arrives in several different colors (why?).

3. Once you’ve filled out your ballot, you might assume you should put it in the mailing envelope, and lick it shut. Then you figure out that’s the wrong envelope.

4. The ballot must go in a different envelope. (These instructions are buried on the back of a printed pamphlet labeled “General Election Statutes of the State of Connecticut.”)

5. You can’t easily open the mailing envelope, since you just glued shut. So you tear or slice it open. Now, even if you re-seal it with tape, you have a mailing envelope that looks tampered with.

6. After all this, you put the ballot in the smaller (correct) envelope, put that inside the larger (correct) mailing envelope, and seal it for mailing.

7. Then you spot a little purple handout still sitting on your desk that came in the paperwork.

8. The printed handout contains this warning:


To ensure that your ballot is received on time by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, please place your ballot into the secure drop box located in your town. Once deposited in the secure drop box, your ballot is considered received by the town.

Your ballot should be deposited in the secure drop box no later than 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020.

Town Name                     WESTPORT

Drop Box Location          TOWN HALL, 110 MYRTLE AVE.  — REAR ENTRANCE

9. So: which is it? Do you mail this envelope (it Is clearly marked as a piece of US mail), or do you believe this form, which states you need to deliver the envelope to Town Hall if you want to ensure it’s received on time?

Could I figure all this out? I went to high school and everything. I could probably mail it, but my simple solution is: In an age when “In Everything We No Longer Trust” should be printed on our currency, I’m driving it over to the drop box.