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Late Ballots Won't Count

Residents who can't wait to vote in the primaries next Tuesday, or who might legitimately be out of town, can swing by Westport Town Clerk Patricia Strauss's office and grab an absentee ballot. And if the workweek doesn't work for you, stop by on Saturday.

"We are having special Saturday hours, Aug. 7, for the purpose of issuing absentee ballots," said Strauss. In years where voter interest is expected to run high, she opens the office for a few hours on the Saturday before the primary to help get the ballots out. Last year she left the office closed.

Registered voters can come in between 9 a.m. and noon and pick up, fill out and drop off an absentee ballot. The forms are available now and don't have to be returned on Saturday. Strauss hopes for at least a 50 percent turnout of Democratic and Republican voters. Only those affiliated with a party can vote in their party's primary.

Strauss recommends against waiting until the last minute to drop an absentee ballot in the mail. After 8 p.m. on Tuesday, no votes not already received count. She said many people are under the misconception that absentee ballots only have to be postmarked by the deadline. That is not true for Connecticut. Once the polls close, that's it. "So many times, the day after the election we get the mail and, 'Surprise!' " Strauss said of the uncounted votes.

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