In response to disastrous Election Day preparation in Hartford that kept two polling places open late last year, the state House of Representatives on Monday gave final legislative approval to a bill that establishes a training and certification program for Registrars of voters – and creates a process for their removal in cases of extreme negligence of duty. The House voted 126-20 to send the bill to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk. Last fall, Malloy was among the people who tried to cast early-morning votes in Hartford but were told they could not vote when they first arrived at the polling place.
The voter registry lists had not been delivered on time – one of many problems that arose from disorganization, dysfunctional work relationships, and the lack of a chain of command at Hartford’s Registrars of Voters Office, according to a city investigative report released this year.
The bill does not do anything to address perhaps the most serious problem identified in the report: That even months after the Election, an accurate vote count was not available.
“There’s literally nothing we can do to fix that,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill told reporters after the House vote. Merrill explained that the law requires her office to certify the vote as of the third week in November, “and those numbers are the final numbers.”