Sen. Fasano Responds to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Senator Blumenthal Downplaying Absentee Ballot Application Issues

July 14, 2020

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) released the following statement in response to comments made by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Senator Richard Blumenthal yesterday downplaying concerns about out of date voter rolls and absentee ballot applications being sent to people who are deceased or do not live at the address on file:


“I have no problem with expanding absentee voting excuses to include the COVID-19 pandemic, and I know many Republicans agree with me that this is a prudent step that we hope to accomplish in a way that respects the state constitution. But we also need to do everything we can as a state to eliminate the potential for fraud, not deny its existence. Mailing ballot applications to every address on an outdated voter list, instead of allowing voters to seek an absentee ballot through already established methods, leaves us vulnerable to fraud and should be addressed head on, not dismissed as a non-issue.


“Sen. Blumenthal, who never misses an opportunity for self-promotion even at the risk of being wrong, is denying legitimate concerns as ‘myths and hobgoblins’ to play politics. Have Senator Blumenthal and Secretary Merrill conveniently forgotten about cases like the allegations against Stamford Democrat Party Chief John Mallozzi, Former State Representative Ayala, and what a Hearst CT Media investigation found in Bridgeport less than a year ago? It was just last year that a mayoral primary occurred in Bridgeport in which residents said they felt pressured into voting for a certain candidate on their absentee ballots, dozens of errors in city records were found, ballots were received from people not eligible to vote, and at least one person may have voted twice – by absentee and in person according the Hearst investigation. We need to make sure these problems are not repeated.  Secretary Merrill and Senator Blumenthal’s statements that there is no fraud in absentee balloting refuses to accept reality in order to score political points.  Sadly, their sworn obligation to serve the people of this state is taking a back seat.


“While Secretary Merrill makes the point that the 8% of undeliverable absentee ballot applications she is receiving back can be used to clean up the voter rolls, she fails to take into account two major issues. First, many people who receive an absentee ballot application for someone who is deceased or does not live at the address are not sending the application back to the Secretary of the State, they are simply disposing of the mail and we have no way of tracking and cleaning the list in those cases. Second, absentee ballot applications for the primary are only going to registered Democrats and Republicans, leaving the 43% of state voter rolls representing unaffiliated and minor party voters unchecked. If Secretary Merrill believes ‘purging’ the list is necessary to remove fraud then how does she account for these 43%? Or is that an acceptable risk for political points?


“I support allowing people to go through the proper absentee ballot process during the general election in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. But mailing applications to every single voter using outdated and inaccurate lists, and then dismissing the potential for fraud is irresponsible and disrespectful to everyone’s right to vote.”