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News May 12, 2011 - 6:20 PM

Merrill praises election reform legislation

By Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill's office

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Hartford, CT - Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today praised members of the Connecticut State Senate for unanimously passing SB 942, “An Act Concerning the Integrity of Elections.” Secretary Merrill proposed the bill in February as a means of strengthening the integrity of Connecticut’s elections by requiring more communication between local Registrars of Voters, charged with the responsibility of running all elections, and the Secretary of the State’s office. Under the proposed legislation, every municipality in the state would be required to report to the Secretary of the State’s office how many ballots they purchase for upcoming elections, and certify that they have taken into account factors such as tight races that may augment voter turnout. In rare cases the Secretary would be authorized to direct a municipality to order more ballots if an insufficient number was purchased. Every town would also be required to have an emergency plan to address issues such as power outages and ballot shortages on Election Day.

“The State Senate has taken a major step forward towards ensuring the integrity of our elections and I commend lawmakers from both sides of the aisle for doing their part,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official. “The reforms in our election integrity bill are targeted, common-sense changes that will provide more communication and oversight between my office and our partners who administer elections at the local level. We need to know how towns and cities are preparing for Election Day so we can prevent a crisis like we saw on November 2, 2010 before it happens. All of us who are responsible for carrying out elections in Connecticut need to be accountable and the bottom line is: no registered voter who wants to cast a ballot on Election Day should ever be turned away from the polls. I hope the House passes this measure as soon as possible.”

Senate Bill No. 942 also provides for more enhanced training of moderators, who are in charge of running polling precincts and permits representatives of the Secretary of the State’s office to enter a polling place on Election Day and remove a moderator for cause, such as gross negligence or serious misconduct. In addition to the Election Integrity bill, State Senators today also gave final approval to HB 6330, “An Act Concerning Technical and Minor Revisions to Elections Related Statutes,” which removes all references in Connecticut state laws to lever voting machines, that have not been used since 2006.

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