Statutory restrictions on absentee voting that can deny ballot access to Connecticut voters in some circumstances would be repealed under legislation passed Monday on a 117-28 vote by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate. Absentee ballots are unavailable to some voters with reasonable or even compelling excuses for not going to the polls: firefighters working 24-hour shifts, nurses anticipating overtime and parents home caring for sick or dying children. “We know there are thousands of people throughout the state in every election — commuters, health care professionals, people who have to take care of a family member who is sick or disabled — who cannot make it physically to the polls and can also not qualify under our current statutes to obtain an absentee ballot,” said Rep. Matt Blumenthal, D-Stamford. The Connecticut Constitution empowers the General Assembly to allow absentee ballot voting only in cases of “absence from the city or town of which they are inhabitants or because of sickness, or physical disability or because the tenets of their religion forbid secular activity.” Separate from an effort to amend the state Constitution to allow no-excuse absentee voting, the bill would remove additional limits imposed by state law: Absences must be during “all hours of voting” and sickness and disability are defined as those of the voter.
Connecticut: Funding for Election Upgrades Won’t Change How State Votes | Nicole McIsaac/CTNewsJunkie
Connecticut has a total of $8.5 million in state and federal funds to upgrade its election structure, but it will be up to lawmakers to improve access to the ballot. “It is time for us to put aside our very restrictive voter access laws and move forward,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said Wednesday. The financial investment, according to Bysiewicz, will ensure that elections remain free, fair and accessible to all eligible voters. Specific changes focus on modernizing the central voter registration system, election management system, and other pieces of infrastructure that have been in place for two decades. “The right to vote is the most precious civil right that we have,” Bysiewicz said. “COVID-19 proved that we had a lot of obstacles in making sure people were safe when they went to vote.” Connecticut has one of the oldest voter registration systems in the country and the current system is nearing the end of its functional life, according to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. “When we applied for this funding, we knew it was time to make some changes to modernize some of our election’s infrastructure,” Merrill said. State officials said the replacement of the central voter registration system as a way to enhance functionality and security, improve experience of voters and officiate flexibility when managing potential changes in future elections.
What would it take to get you to vote in the next election? How about a $20 fine if you neglected the civic duty? Mandatory voting with a potential monetary penalty is just one of about 30 election-related bills that have been submitted to the General Assembly this session. Another bill, proposed by conservative lawmakers, could end…
With election officials around the country under very public attack, Mark Dobbins, the Democratic registrar of voters in Glastonbury, wants Connecticut residents to know more about the procedures election officials here use to make sure that all legal votes — and only legal votes — are counted. One is the old-fashioned paper trail, which Connecticut election officials use for many records, including ballots. “We use a lot of paper, and you can’t hack paper,” Dobbins says. In addition, the tabulating machines that count ballots aren’t connected to the Internet and can’t be hacked into, he says. He adds that the tabulating machines are useless without memory cards. When the cards aren’t in use, he says, LHS Associates, an election services company based in Salem, New Hampshire, holds them securely. Gabe Rosenberg, general counsel to Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill, says the University of Connecticut’s Center for Voting Technology Research, or VoTeR Center, takes the memory cards before and after the election to make sure there are no problems.
Full Article: Paper Ballots Integral to Connecticut Election Security
Connecticut secretary of the state urges Constitutional amendment allowing ‘no excuse’ absentee ballots | Kenneth R. Gosselin/Hartford Courant
After a strong turnout by absentee balloting in Tuesday’s election, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced Wednesday she will propose an amendment to the state’s Constitution to allow for “no-excuse” voting by absentee ballot. “Connecticut voters have spoken, and they want options that make voting more convenient for them, just like voters across the country have,” Merrill said. “The availability of absentee ballots allowed more than 650,000 people to safely and conveniently cast their ballots and helped to drive what will ultimately be among the highest turnout elections in Connecticut history.” As of late afternoon Wednesday, the unofficial voter turnout number for Tuesday’s presidential election stood at 73%, as votes continue to be tabulated across Connecticut. Merrill has said that could climb close to 80%. The proposal drew immediate support from Connecticut’s two Congressional senators. “The success that we’ve had in Connecticut in expanding out absentee-ballot voting opportunities should cause us to once again try to fix the infirmities of our voting system in Connecticut and allow for universal mail-in voting and early in-person voting,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said.
Connecticut Election Officials Get Help From Governor To Pre-Process Absentee Ballots | Christine Stuart/CT News Junkie
Gov. Ned Lamont inked an executive order Thursday that will give a do-over to election officials in 19 Connecticut cities and towns who missed the deadline last week to declare their desire to begin opening absentee ballots early. Eighteen towns told Secretary of the State Denise Merrill before the Oct. 24 deadline that they planned to open the outer envelope of the absentee ballots early. A total of 19 cities and towns gave notice too late and would not have been able to start processing absentee ballots early if not for Lamont’s executive order. The General Assembly passed legislation that allows election officials to open the outer envelope of the absentee ballot starting at 5 p.m. today. Town clerks have received more than 567,000 absentee ballots. “Five days before the election the governor had to issue an executive order to allow for ballots to be opened so that people who voted by absentee can have their votes properly counted,’’ House Minority Leader Themis Klarides said. “Uncertainty remained, after months of lobbying by Secretary Merrill, which makes it harder to deliver clean elections in the minds’ of voters.’’
Connecticut: Absentee voting expansion presents challenges for municipal governments | Sten Spinella/The Day
In response to the expansion of absentee voting provisions, municipal clerks in the region are dealing with an unprecedented amount of ballots and ballot applications this election cycle. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced town and city election officials to alter how they normally do business. Norwich Republican Registrar Dianne Slopak, for example, said the city has 10 people set up to count votes, though there are normally six to eight, depending on the election. She and other registrars have said they’re bracing for a delay in final election results. “We have no idea how long this will take,” Slopak said. “By law, we’re supposed to have preliminary results by midnight of the same day — that’s kind of crazy when you think about it. Registrars start working at 4 in the morning. You can imagine what condition we’re in by midnight. Ballot counters will be starting at about 10 in the morning.” Waterford Clerk David Campo, Groton Town Clerk Betsy Moukawsher, Montville Clerk Katie Sandberg and Slopak offered illustrative examples. In Waterford’s 2019 municipal election, 248 absentee ballots were issued. In its 2018 state election, 672 were issued. And in its 2018 state primary, 93 were issued. As of July 29, 1,853 were issued for the upcoming Aug. 11 primary alone. The number of absentee ballot requests for the Nov. 3 presidential election are expected to exceed that.
Connecticut: House Overwhelmingly Approves No-Excuse Absentee Ballots | Christine Stuart/CTNewsJunkie
Republican lawmakers loudly objected to the ballot boxes Secretary of the State Denise Merrill bought for every town in Connecticut, but only two voted not to expand absentee ballots in the November election. The House voted 144-2 in favor of a bill that allows anyone concerned about going to the polls on election day to vote by absentee ballot. Reps. Whit Betts and Cara Pavalock-D’Amato of Bristol voted against the bill. Republicans argued that they don’t want to suppress the vote in November. “It’s not about voter suppression as I heard before,” Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said. “It really is about making sure every vote is counted.” Candelora said the absentee ballot process isn’t as simple when you engage in it. He said many of these absentee ballots are often done incorrectly when they don’t have the ability to ask the town clerk questions.
Connecticut: A challenge to expanded absentee ballot use loses again in court, for the second time in two days | Edmund H. Mahony/Hartford Courant
The widespread use of absentee ballots in the August primary election grew more certain Tuesday when another judge – the second to do so in two days – rejected an argument by four Republican candidates that expanded use of the ballots is illegal. Superior Court Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher rejected the central claim in a suit by the candidates that an emergency pandemic order by Gov. Ned Lamont expanding absentee ballot access is illegal because only the General Assembly has the authority to decide who can vote absentee. The suit landed before Moukawsher Tuesday because a day earlier Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson dismissed the it on technical grounds, saying it had been improperly filed with that court. After hearing an hour of argument by video conference, Moukawsher issued a brief order rejecting the contention that the governor, under the state Constitution, lacks the authority to expand or restrict the use of absentee ballots. He said a written opinion would be forthcoming.
Four Republicans running for Congress chose the wrong venue to challenge Connecticut’s mailing of absentee ballots to all eligible voters, the chief of the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. While the candidates styled their complaint as an original jurisdiction proceeding in the state Supreme Court, counsel for the state emphasized in a motion to dismiss that the law permitting such challenges “applies only to elections, not primaries.” Chief Justice Richard Robinson tossed the case Monday afternoon shortly after holding remote arguments on the motion. With the Connecticut primary scheduled for Aug. 11, Secretary of State Denise Merrill is set to mail the absentee ballots on Tuesday, having already mailed applications to all 1.25 million of Connecticut’s registered voters. In a 1-page order, the chief wrote that an original proceeding under state law 9-323 “is not a proper vehicle to challenge a ruling of an election official with respect to a primary.”
With an eye on November, the state Republican Party has taken its concern for potential voter fraud to a new level, creating its own citizen task force to record and investigate cases of potential fraud. Party Chairman J.R. Romano, who has said he’s not opposed to expanding mail-in balloting, rails against the state’s decision to mail absentee ballot applications to every active voter eligible to vote in the upcoming August primary — about 1.2 million people — claiming the practice will lead to widespread voter fraud. “If someone reported to us that they got an absentee ballot application for someone that has been dead for 12 years, we’re going to investigate to see if this person has actually cast a ballot to be listed as an active voter,” Romano said. The task force would ease reporting of possible abuses to party and elections officials. But as Democrats see it, charges of fraud in elections are a Republican lie and a task force is not needed. “The last 30 years of voting statistics in Connecticut prove that voting by absentee ballot is not a problem, and has never been a problem, in Connecticut,” said state Sen. Mae Flexer, who co-chairs the legislature’s Government Administration & Elections Committee. “The Connecticut Republican Party has got to stop parroting President Trump’s lies about voter fraud, and it has to stand up for democracy and individual rights.”
Connecticut: Another suit seeks to expand absentee voting in an already litigious election year | Edmund H. Mahony/Hartford Courant
In what is shaping up as a litigious election season, a new lawsuit was filed Thursday to force the state to expand access to absentee ballots in the November election as a precaution against the coronavirus — a day after another suit argued that doing so would increase the likelihood of election fraud. Connecticut’s laws limiting the exercise of absentee ballots are among the country’s most restrictive, and the run-up to the next two elections — an Aug. 11 primary and Nov. 3 general election — has put COVID-19 at the center of the argument between those who want to expand access and those who don’t. The American Civil Liberties Union sued in federal court Thursday to force the state to make absentee ballots available to every eligible Connecticut voter in November. Failing to do so during a pandemic, when waiting in long poll lines could increase viral transmission, is a violation of the right to vote, the suit claims. The ACLU sued on behalf of a voting rights group, an elderly voter vulnerable to viral infection and the NAACP. The suit claims Blacks in Connecticut suffer disproportionately from health and voter access problems as victims of years of systemic racism. It filed similar ballot suits in Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota.
Connecticut: Republicans sue to block Lamont emergency COVID order permitting all-absentee ballot primary election | Edmund H. Mahony/Hartford CourantHartford Courant
Four Republican candidates for Congress are trying to block the state from implementing an emergency pandemic order by Gov. Ned Lamont that could dramatically increase the use of absentee ballots for the state’s delayed Aug. 11 primary by distributing them to any voter who claims to be worried about contracting the coronavirus at the polls. The candidates are part of a group called Fight Voter Fraud and their suit targets Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, the state’s chief election officer. The suit contends Merrill has interpreted the emergency order so broadly that the absentee ballot applications prepared by her office encourage absentee voting by everyone, putting the integrity of primary elections at risk. “Today Fight Voter Fraud Inc. filed a lawsuit with the Connecticut Supreme Court on behalf of candidates on the August 11, 2020 ballot who wish to have a fair, honest, and constitutional election.,” the candidates said in a statement. “The lawsuit asks the Court to order (Secretary of the State) Denise Merrill to stop sending voters applications that misinform about the true legal requirements for voting by absentee ballot.”
Connecticut: Voters will be allowed to cast mail-in ballots for the presidential primary if a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t available by August | Zach Murdock/Hartford Courant
Every Connecticut voter will be able to cast a mail-in or drop-off absentee ballot in the state’s delayed-to-August presidential primary election if no COVID-19 vaccine is widely available by then, per a new executive order issued Wednesday by Gov. Ned Lamont. The order comes the same day that President Donald Trump blasted officials in Michigan and Nevada for their plans to send absentee ballot applications to millions of voters — as Connecticut already had announced — and said that he would withhold some unspecified funding from those states in retaliation. Lamont shrugged off the president’s threats at his daily coronavirus news briefing Wednesday afternoon, and pledged to work toward a similar measure for the upcoming November general election.
Connecticut: State making plans to protect elections from cyber threats, pandemic | Joe Wojtas/The Day
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is scheduled Monday afternoon to announce a plan to secure election systems across the state from cyberattack this fall and prepare polling places to safely operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates outlined the challenges the state faces to ensure a safe and secure election in an op-ed published Monday in The Day. “We’re trying to do all we can do before this election to address the twin challenges of the pandemic and cyber security,” he told The Day on Sunday. Bates said the state will be using more than $15 million in federal funding to ensure outside groups can not interfere with the election and to make polls safe for both voters and workers.
Connecticut: State will send absentee ballot applications to all voters for primary and November elections amid concern that coronavirus could disrupt voting | Emily Brindley/Hartford Courant
Under her new plan to ensure safe and secure voting this year, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said she will send out absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in the state and pay the postage for their ballots. But that doesn’t mean that every voter in the state will be legally eligible to vote by ballot. Under state law — which is not being modified for Merrill’s plan — fear of catching the coronavirus at the polls doesn’t necessarily qualify someone for an absentee ballot. Merrill said Monday that she would like Gov. Ned Lamont or the General Assembly to provide more guidance to her office. “It is within my office’s authority … to interpret the statute,” Merrill said. “I am completely sympathetic to the issues that people have. I think it’s unconscionable that we would make people decide their health versus their vote.” The absentee ballot initiative is among Merrill’s priorities for the August presidential primary and November general election. Under Merrill’s plan, her office will also provide grants to municipalities, recruit and train general election poll workers and launch a public awareness campaign.
Connecticut: State making plans to protect elections from cyber threats, pandemic | Joe Wojtas/The Day
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is scheduled Monday afternoon to announce a plan to secure election systems across the state from cyberattack this fall and prepare polling places to safely operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates outlined the challenges the state faces to ensure a safe and secure…
Connecticut: Calls for mail-in voting as city halls remain closed, registrars of voters work remotely amid pandemic | Tina Detelj/WTNH
With city and town hall employees working remotely, and most residents self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the calls are getting louder for everybody to be able to mail in their votes during the next election or primary if they want to. The days of long lines at polling places may soon be a thing of the past, at least for now. In New London, city hall remains closed to the public, as registrars of voters across the state continue to work remotely and this pandemic continues to concern many. This could mean more absentee ballots and changes to state law to allow more people to be able to do this. And it could also mean more work for local registrars of voters. A group of forty organizations is calling on Governor Ned Lamont to issue an executive order which would make it easier for anyone to vote through the mail instead of in-person during this pandemic. “People should not have to put their lives on the line in order to be able to vote,” said Tom Swan, Executive Director, CCAG, CT Citizen Action Group.
Connecticut: Presidential primary pushed back two more months to Aug. 11 due to coronavirus concerns | Christopher Keating/Hartford Courant
In a second delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut’s presidential primary will be pushed back to Aug. 11. Gov. Ned Lamont made the announcement Friday that he was acting in concert with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, the state’s chief elections official, to postpone the date by an additional two months. The primary was originally scheduled for April 28, the same day as New York, Rhode Island and other states, but Lamont pushed that back to June 2. He then made the second postponement Friday. The state has already set aside Aug. 11 as the day for Republican and Democratic primaries for Congress, state legislature and local offices. As a result, towns will save money by opening polling places once, instead of twice. Since local conventions have not yet been held, the candidates for those primaries will not be settled until the coming weeks and months.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that the state’s primaries have been moved to June 2, making Connecticut the sixth state to postpone its elections amid the coronavirus pandemic. “In coordination with other states and our Secretary of the State, and in an effort to carry out Democracy while keeping public health a top priority, I have decided to move our presidential primary to June 2nd,” Lamont tweeted. Connecticut’s Democratic and Republican primaries had been scheduled to take place on April 28. Over the past week, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland and Ohio also postponed their primaries, citing public health concerns over coronavirus. Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill tweeted that the decision to move the primaries was made after consulting with Lamont, local election officials, bipartisan leadership in the General Assembly and colleagues in other states.
If you ask Connecticut’s Secretary of the State Denise Merrill if the state is in danger of repeating the infamous Iowa caucus debacle when tallying its primary and general election results this year, you will get a hearty laugh. “That’s not going to happen here,” she said. The reason, Merrill said, is simple: Connecticut’s voting process relies on paper ballots “that undergo a rigorous post-election audit and (is) run by election professionals at the state and local level. Although it may take a little longer to report results, Connecticut’s reliance on paper is our best defense against threats to our cybersecurity.” The Feb. 3 Iowa Democratic caucus, whose victor, Pete Buttigieg, wasn’t finalized until Feb. 9, was marred by the use of a vote tabulation app called Shadow, whose enormous technical errors contributed significantly to a three-day delay in reporting results. The Shadow app was distributed through mobile app testing platform TestFairy, instead of official app stores on Android and iOS, which boast higher security and performance requirements. The poor performance has already caused other states that had contracted Shadow to tally their results, like Nevada, to cancel those plans, and has resulted in any number of late-night TV hosts’ wisecracks.
Connecticut: Merrill, Blumenthal share how Connecticut will spend new federal funds to defend voting systems in the 2020 election | Amanda Blanco/Hartford Courant
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal met Thursday to discuss how Connecticut will spend an expected $5 million more in federal funds to strengthen election security for the 2020 election. The initiative follows a previous $5 million allocated to the state in 2018 for the same purpose. While House Democrats originally called for $1 billion to go toward the national cybersecurity effort, funds were cut to $425 million by the time the bill made it out of the Senate. Blumenthal called it a “solid first step,” but acknowledged that there needs to be a “sustained, steady source of money for election security annually” to combat international interference. Fund distribution is decided by the federal Election Assistance Committee and is based on measures like population and severity of need, Merrill said. She expects a large portion of the money to go toward training local officials, as the state has an unusual voting infrastructure. While most states conduct elections at the county level, Connecticut conducts elections town-by-town. “It would be tough to hack all 169 towns,” Merrill said. On the other hand, the state is tasked with ensuring every single town has the proper infrastructure to support the security needed to protect voter files, which were attacked in 2016. “Our voter files can be entered at any of those 169 drop points, so we have to make sure that every single official in every single town understands the need for that security,” she said.
Connecticut: Chief elections official says Connecticut’s electronic voting machines are ‘coming to the end of their useful life’ | Mark Pazniokas/CT Mirror
Connecticut’s current system of casting and counting votes has its roots in the chaotic presidential election of 2000. With the winner unclear for a month, it was a frightening moment in U.S. politics that led to a bipartisan consensus about the need to maintain confidence in the integrity of elections. Passage of the federal Help Americans Vote Act in 2002 established broad standards for the conduct of elections and provided funding for new hardware, leading Connecticut in 2006 to abandon its old mechanical lever voting machines for a mix of the old and new — paper ballots counted by computer-driven tabulators. “We fortunately made the right choice,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Wednesday. A proposed Voter Empowerment Act now before Congress would make hybrid systems like Connecticut’s the new federal standard: Using computers to quickly count votes, while maintaining paper ballots as a check on computer hacking and other forms of cyber fraud. President Trump recently endorsed paper ballots on Twitter. But as Merrill and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal made clear Wednesday at a press conference on elections security, the technical and political challenges in protecting U.S. elections are far more complex today than in the aftermath of the Florida recount in the Bush-Gore campaign of 2000. Blumenthal arrived at Merrill’s state Capitol office with his right arm in a sling. He had surgery last week for a torn rotator cuff.
Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill and many of her peers across the nation are dismayed that Congress will break for summer recess without doing more to prevent foreign interference in U.S. elections. “We were quite shocked when we heard Congress would not go forward with any assistance,” she said. Merrill and other state election officials have been making the case for months that the nation’s electoral system needs to bolster its defenses against hacking and meddling in other ways, including disinformation campaigns on social media, by Russia or other foreign powers. They have been joined in their calls for increased protections by congressional Democrats. Those calls grew louder after last week’s testimony by special counsel Robert Mueller, who told lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians and others were meddling in U.S. elections “as we sit here.” Despite the growing concerns, there’s been little action by Congress on the issue, mainly because the Senate does not want to consider any voting security bills. The issue flared up last week after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blocked bills aimed at protecting the electoral system, a move that prompted detractors to dub him “Moscow Mitch.”
Connecticut: Merrill wants constitutional amendments for early voting, registration | Journal Inquirer
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced her legislative proposals Thursday, two of which require constitutional amendments allowing for a minimum of three days of early voting before Election Day and allowing 16-year-olds to register early to vote. The proposal to allow 16-year-olds to register two years before their 18th birthday would require them to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, but Merrill said she envisions allowing them to register at school, their town hall, or anywhere voters can register. Merrill, a Democrat, said 16-year-olds usually have their first interaction with the DMV when getting their driver’s licenses, and her proposed amendment would make it more likely that younger people are involved in the voting process as soon as they turn 18.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is leading a push to amend the state constitution to allow voters a minimum of three days of voting before Election Day, but the proposal is being panned by Republican leadership, which says Merrill should focus more on protecting the democratic process from voter fraud. The Connecticut Constitution now requires voters to cast their ballots in person on Election Day or meet certain requirements to vote by absentee ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment Merrill announced Tuesday would remove from the constitution restrictions on absentee ballots and require a minimum of three days of early voting.
Saying it’s time for Connecticut to join 39 other states, advocates started pushing Tuesday for a rare constitutional amendment to allow early voting. Unlike most states, Connecticut permits voting in person only on Election Day from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. While the final details are not set, an early voting system could potentially allow voting on the three weekends before Election Day. Voting would likely only be permitted at town halls in order to curtail the costs from opening every polling place around the state, lawmakers said. While Democrats in the state House of Representatives and Senate are pushing strongly for the measure, Republicans who have voted against the idea in the past are urging caution and saying state officials instead should be more concerned about voter fraud.
The Sentencing Commission Wednesday voted to once again get behind any bill that would restore voting rights to parolees, who are still serving their sentences. The commission also backed the measure last year — but it never came up for a vote in either the House or Senate. Outgoing Department of Corrections Commissioner Scott Semple, who is also a Sentencing Commission member, said allowing parolees to vote is an “important step in their return to a normal and productive life.” The bill didn’t receive much attention last year in the midst of the budget crisis that dominated most of the session, but it was a priority for the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sued the state of Connecticut on Thursday, over how it counts its prisoners when crafting legislative districts. The NAACP lawsuit argues that urban districts are weakened while rural districts with fewer minorities benefit unfairly, in a practice critics call “partisan gerrymandering”. The civil rights organization hopes the case can become a template for suits it may file in other states where inmates are included in the population counts of areas where they are imprisoned, rather than their home districts. Including incarcerated people in population counts for the Connecticut general assembly districts where prisons are located is unfair to those living in the districts where the inmates originally came from, said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and chief executive.
Two days after President Donald Trump eliminated the position of cybersecurity coordinator on the National Security Council, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill convened the second meeting of the Elections Cybersecurity Task Force. At the very beginning of the meeting, Merrill reminded the task force that the election system faces several threats, including natural ones, like the tornadoes that touched down in the state last week and caused more damage than some hurricanes in several towns. She said they have emergency protocols in place for what happens if a polling place loses power, but are still putting plans together for emergencies that might not be as easily detected. “This will be the first statewide election following Russia’s attempt to interfere with our election infrastructure right here in Connecticut,” Merrill said.