Fresh off an election marked by polling places that opened late and long wait times, both Democrats and Republicans appear willing to consider changes to Connecticut’s elections system when lawmakers return to the state Capitol in January. Members of both parties agree the state needs to do something to professionalize a bifurcated system in which locally elected registrars of voters run the elections and the Secretary of the State’s Office interprets state election law. “For the entirety of time, the election has been on the same day. And yet, inevitably we get to Election Day and it’s ‘Who doesn’t have any ballots?’ and ‘There are ballots from four years ago.’ These seems like basic things to me,” said Rep. Themis Klarides, R-Derby, the incoming House minority leader. “I would hope that we can straighten that stuff out because it’s unacceptable in this day and age.”
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, has been reaching out to legislative leaders from both parties since the Nov. 4 election about how to move forward and build more accountability into the system.
“If we’re going to have a localized election system, how do we make sure the people who are running the local elections at the local level are doing what they’re supposed to be doing?” said Av Harris, a spokesman for Merrill. He said an internal committee within Merrill’s office has been meeting every two days since the election, coming up with legislative recommendations for how to improve the overall system. The new session of the General Assembly begins on Jan. 7.