Printing error causes voting confusion in Naugatuck

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NAUGATUCK — Reading the fluorescent green postcards sent to borough voters last weekend, one would think every resident’s legislative district had changed and everyone is now required to vote at the farthest-away polling places in the borough for the next decade.

Louise Sheedy, one of the borough’s registrars of voters, said her phone had been ringing all day Tuesday for a simple reason.

“I want to say 99 percent are wrong, but I really don’t know,” Sheedy said.

The printing company, Copy Cats of New London, made an error that caused inaccuracies in many, if not all, of the cards, Sheedy said.

Names and addresses were correct, but the cards assigned many voters to the wrong state legislative districts and borough polling places for this month’s Republican presidential primary and subsequent elections.

Sheedy said she and Copy Cats worked to determine the error was on the company’s end. The company will send out new, different colored cards that will arrive by the end of the week to the nearly 19,000 registered voters in the borough, Sheedy said. The new cards will contain the correct information and explain that the green cards were inaccurate.

Company representatives did not return a call Tuesday seeking comment.

The redistricting earlier this year, necessitated by data from the newly released 2010 census, changed comparatively little in the borough. The district represented by state Rep. David Labriola (R-131) grew slightly, and the district of state Sen. Joan Hartley (D-15) shrank slightly.

The biggest change was made in polling places, caused by heavy population growth in the borough’s third ward, on the west side, Sheedy said. Many who lived in the third ward are now in the first ward and vote at Andrew Avenue Elementary School, Sheedy said. The Senior Center was eliminated as a polling place, and residents who used to vote there will now be sent to Western Elementary School or the Oak Terrace senior housing complex.

“With all of that going on, we thought it would be best to notify all voters with a postcard,” Sheedy said.

The borough spent roughly $4,000 on the cards, which list the recipient’s legislative district and polling place based on address. The money for the cards was available because the registrars’ office has not employed a clerk since June. Copy Cats will send out the corrected cards free of charge, Sheedy said.

Borough departments have long ordered mailers from the company, which Sheedy said she still considers to be reputable, noting they quickly owned up to their mistake.

“They always gave us the best price,” Sheedy said. “We’re lucky that it’s early enough to get another postcard out and no damage has been done.”