OLD LYME, CT — It was one of the most hotly-contested local elections in the state, but not everyone’s ballot was counted.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy voted by absentee ballot in the Nov. 5 election, but his vote was not counted because – unbeknownst to the senator – his name had been moved to the inactive voter list.
Shortly after his election to the U.S. Senate, Murphy, and his wife, Cathy Holahan, and their two young sons purchased a home in Washington. Murphy has said the second residence was prompted by a desire to spend as much time as possible with his family.
After selling his home in Cheshire more quickly than anticipated in September, Murphy registered to vote in Old Lyme where his parents own a home. When they are in Connecticut, Murphy and his family have been temporarily living between Old Lyme and Wethersfield, but spend most of their time in Old Lyme, which is where he is registered to vote, according to Murphy’s spokesman.
Cathy Carter, the Republican Registrar of Voters in Old Lyme, said Monday that they sent Murphy a notice asking him to confirm his voter application after he registered to vote in September. But the notice was returned by the U.S. Postal Service and there was no forwarding phone number or contact information on the card.
There is a space on the voter registration card to indicate you want communications from the registrars to be sent to another address.
Carter held up a folder at least three inches thick of voters who were moved to the inactive voter list this year for failing to respond to the notice.
“We’re a mostly seasonal community,” Carter said. “And there was a lot of interest in this election.”
Voter turnout was 56% and Republicans swept all the seats on the council and the Board of Education.
“It’s discouraging my vote didn’t end up counting,” Murphy said in a phone interview Monday, the same day his registration was moved back to the active voter list.
“I’ve learned a lot about active and inactive voters,” Murphy said.
He said his mistake underscores the importance of being vigilant about voter registration.
Meanwhile, Murphy said he’s still looking for a home in the greater Hartford area. He attended Wethersfield High School as a teenager.
When he does find a new home, he said he’ll know how to properly register to vote to make sure his vote counts.
Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Wyman said Tuesday that “there’s no question that Chris Murphy is a Connecticut resident and is qualified to represent our state in the U.S. Senate.”
She continued: “The Senator has a young, growing family and they are moving to be closer to family here in Connecticut. At the same time, he has been working nonstop on vital issues in Washington. Sometimes things fall through the cracks and I am sure he will straighten this out.”