Minor candidate for governor could make absentee ballots late

October 2, 2018

A minor party candidate for governor could cost the towns and cities a collective $250,000, delay absentee ballots and cause some ballots to be counted by hand despite multiple warnings from the Secretary of the State’s office.

Mark Stewart Greenstein, a petitioning candidate on the AMiGo Constitution party line, has yet to find a running mate, which, by Connecticut law, prohibits him from appearing on the ballot. He technically has until Oct. 16 to find a lieutenant governor candidate, but the state only has until Oct. 5 to make absentee ballots available.

So, the absentee ballots have been sent to the printer sans-Greenstein. If he finds a running mate, the ballots will have to be re-printed, which is expensive and time-consuming, said Gabe Rosenberg, spokesman for the Secretary of the State’s office.

“This has been a bit of a slow-moving disaster,” Rosenberg said. “His lieutenant governor candidate officially withdrew, and we said OK great, just give us a new person. But he has had some trouble finding a new person, and we, by law, can’t put him on the ballot without a lieutenant governor candidate.”

Rosenberg said the AMiGo party line still appears on the ballot even though there is no candidate, which will not affect the scanner system. The bigger problem, he said, is that only two shops are capable of printing the ballots for the entire state, which require specific features in order to be read by the scanners. So, by Oct. 16 the printers will have moved on to printing the Election Day ballots and may not have time to reprint the absentee ballots with Stewart Greenstein.

Rosenberg said the Secretary of the State’s office is working with local registrars to prevent a delay in absentee ballots, but it may require some ballots to be printed locally and hand-counted. That’s an emergency-only solution if Stewart Greenstein finds a running mate in the next week, Rosenberg said.

“We’ve explained to him the situation and the consequences as clearly as we can,” Rosenberg said. “But this is a problem that only one person in the entire state can solve. We explained he was going to cost every town collectively about $250,000 to have the ballots reprinted. He acknowledged that and wasn’t able to get a lieutenant governor in time.”

kkrasselt@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2563; @kaitlynkrasselt

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