Earlier this week, CT Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced her plan to alter elections and voting processes for the Aug 11, 2020 Presidential Primary and November 5, 2020 General Elections.
State Senator Rob Sampson (R-16) serves as the ranking member of the legislature's Government, Administration and Elections Committee and closely follows Connecticut's election policies, including absentee ballot protocols and the state's protections against voter fraud.
"This sweeping wish list of changes to both the August and November elections is an extreme overreach by the Secretary of State. Secretary Merrill is using a health pandemic to leverage her own political agenda."
The plan proposed by Merrill included a mass mailing of absentee ballot applications including return mail service for both the primary and general elections. It also implements a grant program for towns having to manage the high costs of her proposal and additional funding for cybersecurity – neither of which has been explored or approved by the legislature or Governor's office.
"I am not opposed to a reasonable expansion of absentee balloting for elections. However, it would have to include provisions to strengthen the integrity of the process. I have offered a number of bills and amendments to do so over the years. Unfortunately, the Democrats in the legislature, with the support of the SOTS herself, have blocked my efforts to pass common sense laws to make voting simpler while fighting fraud, mostly via post-election audits. The truth is they don’t want to find the fraud because that would only clue the public in on just how much is going on," said Sen. Sampson.
"The prevalence of absentee voter fraud is known statewide – in fact, absentee voting is the vehicle for the majority of voter fraud. Individuals have been caught completing ballots for entire apartment building complexes and for adult living facilities where seniors never even realize someone has voted in their name," said Sen. Sampson
There are dozens of examples of how absentee ballots are used to commit fraud. A few years ago, even an elected State Representative was charges with 18 counts of absentee voter fraud. Here are some that can be looked up online with ease. Nearly every morning following election day is filled with news of election problems, e.g. bags of ballots in Bridgeport, voters bussed into polling locations minutes before closing time, mass swearing in ceremonies, etc. The record is clear-
2019 Statewide Widely reported cases of AB voter fraud
2016 Middletown Elections officials altering voter forms
2016 Middletown State Reps children living out of state voted in CT for years while living in another state
2015 Stamford Party chairmen forges signatures to cast AB ballots
2014 Bridgeport Numerous reports of campaigns committing absentee ballot fraud, misrepresenting laws etc.
2013 New Haven Voters coached on selection while casting AB ballots
2013 New Haven Candidates, elected officials encouraging voters to subvert election laws
2013 Bridgeport Campaigns misrepresenting elections laws to manipulate AB ballots
2012 New Haven Campaign pressured voters into filling out AB ballots they were not supposed to use. AB
ballots decided the outcome of the race.
2011 New Haven Campaign purposely misrepresented AB voting restrictions
2010 Bridgeport Bag of ballots left unattended, the polls were open 2 extra hours, photocopies were made
of ballots in the mayor's office, election numbers did not add up, sample ballots with democratic names checked off were brought into the polling places
2010 Bridgeport 250 AB ballot returns were listed to an address that was actually a vacant lot
2009 New Haven Campaigns tricking voters and casting their AB ballots
"The current absentee ballot process exists for good reasons. There are indeed people who have no way to get to the polls and they must maintain their right and opportunity to vote. I suggest we make the process easier and more reliable for people in these specific sets of circumstances and shore up our laws so that everyone can be confident in our elections and their accuracy," said Sen. Sampson.
"The Secretary of State and those trying to convince the public to expand absentee ballots are clearly doing it for political purposes, not to help people. The office is very aware of how much fraud is committed and refuse to do anything about it.
The next elections are not until August or November. Almost all sources indicate that the virus will be much less of an issue by then. The Wisconsin State Journal reported no bump in COVID-19 cases from their statewide April 7th election.
“Also, Governor Lamont announced recently that he plans on many business openings in the month of May! If the Governor has decided it is safe for people to shop at the grocery store, or Walmart, or even the liquor stores, then why is it not safe to vote?" asked Sen. Sampson. "Secretary Merrill is attempting to use the pandemic to promote her agenda. She has been holding press conferences, issuing public statements and parading around representatives from interest groups who suggest that standing in line to vote is a life-threatening risk."
"Beyond the policy-based issues I have with the absentee ballot plan, I have a fundamental issue with the incredible price to implement it. The cost of sending ballots to every registered voter is unnecessary and staggering and will be paid by your tax dollars. Is that the best use of your money?" asked Sen. Sampson.
"Also, the unbelievable amount of labor that would be required versus manning typical polling places and voting machines is also unnecessary and expensive. Why put towns and their election staff through that? This is politics in action. This is not good government or an effort to benefit the people. It is to benefit those willing to exploit any weaknesses in our election system," said Sen. Sampson.
"Finally, this August election is unlikely to matter very much. It is a Presidential preference primary where both major party candidates are already locked in. There will be some local legislative primaries but those could be held on their own," said Sen. Sampson. "I completely support expanding voting and making it easier to cast a ballot, but let’s remember the importance of maintain the integrity of the process so everyone trusts the results. Right now Connecticut citizens don’t, and that is a shame. Before making the situation worse, I suggest we fix the current system," concluded Sen. Sampson.