Many absentee ballots expected for midterm election


Infographic by Matthew Stashower '25

This year, many more people are eligible for an absentee ballot in Westport than ever before. Recent Connecticut legislation has led to an expected increase in absentee ballots for upcoming elections.

More absentee ballots are expected than ever before for this year’s midterm election in Westport. The reason for the uptick in absentee ballots is because of Connecticut legislation that expanded eligibility for absentee ballots.

“We are expecting about 1,000 to 2,000 more applications [for absentee ballots] than we have received in similar elections,” Town Clerk Jeffery Dunkerton said. “We believe this uptake is due to the recent legislative changes regarding absentee ballots.”

The Town Clerk oversees all elections in Westport and is responsible for absentee ballots applications. To apply for an absentee ballot, citizens must either be an active US military member, be out of town on election day, be sick on election day, have religious beliefs prevent them from voting in person, work at a polling place other than their own own on election day, have a disability that prevents them from voting in person and now the people who commute to work and caretakers for those who are sick.

Caretaker Natia Bolkvadze, who now qualifies to vote absentee under the new legislation, says she chooses not to.

“I don’t vote absentee,” Bolkvadze said. “I think it is much safer to vote in person than absentee.”

[Young people] … will be impacted most by the consequences of decisions made today about long term issues like debt and climate change. Their voice needs to be represented strongly in our government.

— English teacher Brian Tippy

According to Ballotpedia, there are many races Westport voters will be voting for; this includes  Democrat incumbent Governor Ned Lamont against Republican Bob Stefanowski, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal against Republican challenger Leora Levy and Democrat incumbent representative Jim Himes against Republican Jamaye Stevenson as well as many other local elections. The latter two elections will help decide the balance of power in Congress.

English teacher Brian Tippy thinks these elections are very important, and he believes it’s especially important that younger people vote in them.

“[Young people]  … will be impacted most by the consequences of decisions made today about long term issues like debt and climate change,” Tippy said. “Their voice needs to be represented strongly in our government.”