I wanted to take a few minutes to review with you the changes in the operations of Litchfield’s polls that are a result of new laws as well as the COVID pandemic. First, I am encouraging everyone to get out and vote for the candidates of your choice. Our polls will be open at Campbell High School from 7AM to 7PM. Second, I strongly encourage all Litchfield voters to take advantage of the changes in the laws for using absentee ballots during the September 8th and November 3rd elections. Overall, using an absentee ballot will be the quickest, easiest and safest means of casting your vote in each of these elections. Using an absentee ballot doesn’t mean that you must mail the ballot into the town hall. The law has changed for these two elections giving everyone the ability to simply drop off your completed absentee ballot and affidavit at the polls before 5PM on election day. If you have an absentee ballot and can’t get it to the polls by 5PM, bring the absentee ballot along with you and we can still get your vote entered by using a normal ballot at the polls. If you have a disability, remember that COVID concerns are now considered a disability, you can come to the polls on election day and either vote from your vehicle using an absentee ballot and affidavit or drop off your already obtained absentee ballot and affidavit. Simply call one of the following three numbers (603) 845-6158, (603) 845-6376 or (603) 845-6219 tell them where you are located and someone will meet you to get things processed. Please stand beside your vehicle if you’re able or watch for a poll worker wearing a fluorescent vest and beep your horn.
For normal voting you will also see some changes. All voters will now first meet with an outside greeter who will review with you the COVID protection measures in use during the elections. If you do not have a mask, a surgical mask will be provided for you by this greeter along with hand disinfectant. If you decide to wear a mask for voting (children under 3 years of age are exempt), you will precede just inside the outer doors where another greeter will provide you with both a disposable pen and a paper place mat. The pen is yours to keep or throw away at the end of voting while the place mat is to be used under your ballot on the shelf of the voting booth for contamination control and will be thrown away when you exit the polling place. The inside greeter will then direct you to the right line for obtaining your ballot. Those of you not wishing to wear a mask, you will be directed by the outside greeter just around the corner of the building to vote at an outside extension of the polling place.
Our ballot clerks will provide you with a ballot and, only for the primary election, if you are an undeclared voter you will also be given a party affiliation card that you can use to revert back to undeclared by filling in the information and depositing it into a separate box located by the voting machines. Everyone except those voting outside, will exit by the back door of the gym rather than return to the entry door. Trash cans to receive your used pens and place mats will be next to the exit doors on your way out..
As usual, any citizens needing to register to vote will have the opportunity to do so by meeting with the Supervisors of the Checklist either inside if wearing a mask or outside if you chose not to wear a mask. Those with disabilities may register to vote in their vehicle by calling the phone numbers listed above and making themselves known to the poll worker wearing the vest.
We recognize that this is a significant change to the way we normally vote in Litchfield but due to the new laws and the COVID pandemic, it was my belief that this is the best means of keeping everyone as safe as possible while providing an opportunity to vote. Please understand that we are all trying to do our best to move everyone through the voting process as rapidly as possible. We are asking everyone for their patience and understanding. As you might imagine, the number of people necessary to make this work is significantly more than we would typically use. I want to personally thank all of the citizens who have volunteered their time to make this effort work.
If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank A. Byron, Town and School Moderator