Woodbury Town Clerk Reflects On Hectic Election Season



The 2020 election saw the highest turnout levels in generations for many towns. Woodbury received more than 2,500 absentee ballots, a figure much higher than usual.

Nico Wenis, Reporter

WOODBURY — The 2020 presidential election was no less than historic. Woodbury put a lot of preparation into ensuring that the election went smoothly.

Town clerks oversaw the election for each municipality. Linda Carlson is the town clerk of Woodbury, so she played a crucial role in the town’s voting process.

“We received approximately 2,600 applications for absentee ballots this year with a return of just under 2,500 that actually voted absentee. I had expected to get a lot, but this was a little higher than I anticipated,” she wrote in an email. 

She believes that the large influx of absentee ballots certainly cut down the amount of in-person voting.

Polling stations across the nation have been criticized for their alleged blocking of observers during the process of counting the ballots. Many of these allegations have been shot down in courts, and each state has different procedures for ensuring the accuracy of fairness of vote counting.

“Connecticut does not have ‘observers,'” Carlson noted. “We have in the past had ‘party runners’ who sit next to the checkers and write down every voter’s ID and it would then be brought back to party headquarters where people make calls to remind those who haven’t yet voted that there is an election that day.”

Carlson thinks the uptick in absentee voting seen this year will continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

“I believe we will see more and more of this same type of voting where there will be ‘no excuse’ absentee voting,” Carlson wrote. “I do hope that our state representatives continue to fight NOT to have what is called ‘early voting.’”

According to the state’s website, “no excuse” absentee voting refers to “when a voter applies for and receives a ballot to submit by mail without providing a reason for being absent from his or her polling place on Election Day.”

Despite the possibility of higher turnout, small towns can be disproportionately impacted by the price of expanding early voting.

“It is a process that would be extremely costly to us, and a small town can’t afford nor do we have the staffing for what would go into that type of process,” said Carlson.