With the Secretary of State’s significant changes to the voting process for November 3rd, a group of us as concerned voters in Essex performed a full audit on the voter rolls in Essex, Connecticut. Our volunteer group was apprehensive that with the mass mailing of absentee ballot request forms, there might be an opportunity for either extra ballots distributed or duplicate voting.
We checked every name on the Voter Roll against “People Finder” apps, Town Land Records, and Obituaries ahead of the November 3, 2020 elections. Our findings were disturbing.
There are 6,082 registered voters on the Registered Voter List supplied by the Essex Town Clerk. Based on state figures from 2019 CERC Essex Town Profile, Essex’s population count in 2020 is estimated at 6,260, of which 740 are below the age of 14 (no clear information on less than age of 18). This means the registered voters exceeds the number of eligible voters by at least 600 registrations, over 10% and probably more.
Working from the bottom up, our close analysis of the voter list found that over 17% of the people on the Active Voter Roll have either moved, died, or cannot be verified as a current resident of Essex.
What this means is that the Secretary of State likely sent close to 1,000 requests for absentee ballots to Essex addresses with the wrong addressee, each request of which can be filled out as the incorrect addressee and which would then inappropriately receive a live ballot from the town clerk. This ballot could then be returned under the name of the incorrect addressee who remained on the voter roll because the rolls had not been properly maintained.
Even here in Essex, one of the “Best Small Towns in America”, with poorly maintained voter rolls and the Secretary of State’s impetuous and unchecked revision of functioning absentee ballot rules, there is real opportunity that someone at an address could cast multiple votes— a fraud that can nullify your vote and change the outcome of elections. Such fraud is worse than voter suppression in that legitimate votes are diluted.
We expect that Norm Needleman, our First Selectman and candidate for re-election as our district’s State Senator is equally interested in accurate voter rolls. We were disappointed in how poor the voter records were in what is a relatively small and easy to manage town. We will bechecking the actual vote on November 3rd against our list, and we will share any discrepancies with the public.