HARTFORD, CT—Connecticut officials certified the state’s election results Wednesday, validating record-breaking turnout—nearly 80% of registered voters—during a health crisis that could have easily disenfranchised residents.
In a Wednesday press release, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Treasurer Shawn Wooden and Comptroller Kevin Lembo certified the results of the Nov. 3 election. More than 1.86 million Connecticut voters cast ballots this year. That’s 79.7% of the state’s 2.33 million registered voters and a larger percentage than 2004, the last record-breaking year, when 78.65% of registered voters turned out.
Gabe Rosenberg, Merrill’s communication director, said this year’s turnout was the highest percentage of registered voters since 1992 when 83.5% of 1.95 million registered voters turned out for the election.
A temporary executive order from Gov. Ned Lamont enabled more than 650,000 voters to cast absentee ballots this year as public health guidelines encouraged residents to observe gathering limitations and social distancing policies aimed at reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Ahead of Election Day, many were concerned that the historic numbers of absentee ballots and an especially contentious presidential race would result in confusion or unrest at the polls. For the most part those fears did not materialize. In a statement, Merrill, the state’s top election official, praised the “smooth, trouble-free election” in Connecticut.
“Despite a once-in-a-century pandemic and a major change to Connecticut’s election administration to allow every voter to vote by absentee ballot if they chose, Connecticut’s local election officials, poll workers, and volunteers came together to conduct an election with more votes cast than any election in Connecticut’s history,” Merrill said.
During a Wednesday press conference, Lamont said he believed Connecticut residents appreciated the ability to vote by absentee ballot during the pandemic.
“I think it kept our long lines down to some degree on what would have been a very, very busy Election Day. I think we ought to learn some lessons about that going forward,” he said.
Allowing no-excuse absentee ballot voting in future elections would require amending the Connecticut constitution. Merrill has signaled she will try to begin that process during next year’s legislative session.
Among the results certified: the re-election of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, a 97-54 Democratic majority in the state House of Representatives, and a 24-12 Democratic majority in the state Senate.
Officials also certified that Connecticut voters picked Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the presidential election. State electors will cast their votes with the rest of the Electoral College on Dec. 14.