LETTER: Republican Resistance to Absentee Ballots is Troubling

Submitted by Gina Gladstein, MD, Old Greenwich

In the past 3 months we have seen the pandemic upend our lives, nearly overwhelm our medical system and kill several dozen Greenwich residents.

At the peak, Greenwich Hospital had to convert virtually all of its resources to COVID19 patients. Routine care was suspended. Overall, the Greenwich community has behaved nobly. People have volunteered, contributed, and displayed a singular determination to protect ourselves and our most vulnerable residents by behaving in a socially responsible way. As a result, Greenwich Hospital has resumed routine care and the number of active cases can be counted- on the fingers of one hand. We can be proud that as a community we have come together and continue to do the job that needs to be done.

So, to read the article in the GTs that CT Republican representatives and candidates are opposed to a judicious increase in absentee balloting in the coming election is a grave disappointment. In the last legislative session, CT Republicans were instrumental in blocking a referendum to overhaul our archaic voting laws that currently require a voter to sign a declaration certifying poor health or travel in order to vote by absentee ballot.

Their stated rationale; the supposed threat of voter fraud. This is not a new concern for Republicans but it is one that lacks credibility. Election experts of all political stripes have unequivocally stated that individual voter fraud is a straw man. This position is particularly upsetting because it puts our most vulnerable residents at risk.

The elderly, the immunocompromised, those with pre-existing conditions all deserve to exercise their constitutional right to vote. And let’s not forget poll workers who tend to be elderly themselves.

Why voting rights has become a political issue is beyond the scope of this letter. Politics is a dirty business that we are all too familiar with. But as a physician in town who has lost patients to Covid19, I cannot accept this irresponsible position based on a theoretical risk. There is nothing theoretical about the Coronavirus.

Gina Gladstein, MD
Old Greenwich