WILTON — The town clerk’s office is taking extra measures to ensure absentee ballot voting goes smoothly for the upcoming presidential election on Nov 3.

Wilton Town Clerk Lori Kaback is expecting a huge number of absentee ballots in the general election. “We’ve already received four to five hundred absentee ballot requests from people who applied for them online,” she said.

Because there is “no-excuse” absentee ballot voting due to COVID-19, most voters in Wilton opted to vote by absentee ballot in the presidential preference primary in August. Kaback is expecting the same type of response for the November election.

The primary, which was limited to registered Democrats and Republicans, and did not include unaffiliated or other voters, had a relatively light voter turnout — with 44.28 percent of Wilton’s registered Democrats voting and 27.7 percent of the town’s Republicans.

In the presidential election in 2016, Wilton had a huge voter turnout, with 84 percent of registered voters casting their ballots. So, Kaback is expecting a voting deluge.

“We are assuming we’ll get up to 8,000 applications for an absentee ballot. Processing 8,000 applications requires the equivalent of one person for 38 weeks. We only have four to five weeks,” she said.

To meet the increased demand, the Kaback’s office is increasing staffing through overtime, utilizing employees from other departments and hiring part-time personnel.

Closer to election time, public hours in the town clerk’s office will be reduced in order to allow workers more time to focus on absentee ballots.

Beginning Sept 28 and running through Nov. 4, the town clerk’s public operational hours will be cut from five days a week to three, open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only. “This will give us two full days to process absentee ballots,” Kaback said.

The conference room in town hall has been newly outfitted with four cubicles to provide additional space for workers to process absentee ballots.

Applications

The first step in the absentee ballot voting process is for voters to submit an application for a ballot.

Beginning this week, Kaback said, absentee ballot applications are being mailed by the state to all residents who were registered voters as of Aug. 26. These applications have a unique ID number, making it easier for the town clerk to scan them when they are returned.

Absentee ballot applications for newly registered voters are being mailed out by Wilton’s registrars of voters.

After they are filled out, the applications must be returned to the town clerk’s office.

Absentee ballot applications are also available online from the secretary of the state’s website/. However, Kaback is asking voters to return the application they get in the mail, if possible, because its unique ID number makes it easier for her office to process it.

Signed applications can be deposited in the ballot box outside police headquarters at 240 Danbury Road, or sent by U.S. mail.

Applications can also be emailed or faxed to the town clerk. However, applications returned by email or fax must also be followed up by sending the original, signed application to the town clerk before Election Day or with their filled-out ballot.

“I am really encouraging people to just put it in the mail, because I don’t want them to forget, email it in, then remember they have to mail the original too,” Kaback said.

Ballots

Absentee ballots will be mailed out to voters who applied for them beginning Oct. 2.

Ballots may be deposited in the ballot box or returned by mail. Ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. Use the ballot box outside police headquarters on Election Day.

pgay@wiltonbulletin.com