Roque De La Fuente for President 2020


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‘Very efficient:’ Process to cast absentee ballot attracts hundreds in New Haven

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Every so often, small groups of people would break into cheers outside the Hall of Records Saturday as a first-time voter slipped their primary ballot into the drop box set up outside the government building.

Among them were Sam Crumlish and his twin brother, Caleb Crumlish, who turned 18 this summer and wanted to participate in one of the defining rituals in the United States: casting a vote.

They were joined by some 450 other residents, who trickled in over the course of the day, to take advantage of the system set up by City Clerk Michael Smart where party members who had not yet received their ballots for Tuesday’s primaries in the mail, or wanted to get an application and cast a ballot, could do so.

Smart, with five staff members and volunteers, checked people’s drivers’ licenses, vetted them against the voter roles and gave instructions explained on how to fill out the necessary paperwork.

In New Haven, appearing on the presidential ballot is Donald J. Trump and Rocque ‘Rocky’ De La Fuente for the Republican primary; Joseph Biden, Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders are on the Democratic side. De La Fuente, Gabbard and Sanders however, have dropped out, but they did so after the ballots were printed.

Unlike other municipalities, New Haven does not have primaries for state House and state Senate seats this year.

Smart will set up the same process outside the Hall of Records from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday to accommodate more voters. His office sent out some 1,500 ballots last week after receiving late applications. He is urging voters to come get a ballot and to put their ballots in the drop box, rather than the mail.

He estimated the voters who showed up Saturday were split 60/40 between those whose ballots had not yet reached their homes and those who opted to both apply and vote in the same day.

Caleb Crumlish participated in the process, but was disappointed that the contests among the Democrats for the party’s nomination for president had wrapped up so quickly, leaving Biden as the presumptive nominee.

“What’s the point of having everyone vote if it is going to be done in this weird staggered format,” leaving only one candidate by the time it gets to Connecticut, Caleb Crumlish said of the nominating system.

He said he cast his ballot for Sanders. “I still did it, but it was more of a symbolic gesture. This entire thing was a symbolic gesture because there is only one candidate,” the Sound School student said.

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