It was an Election Day scene in Connecticut that officials and voters hoped would never again happen. But four years after voting in Bridgeport was snarled by a lack of ballots, long lines and confusion, voters in Hartford were told at several polling stations early Tuesday morning that voter lists critical to Election Day procedures were not available. A judge extended voting by a half-hour in the evening to compensate for the delay. Local officials blamed budget cuts and other issues for the problems, but Secretary of the State Denise Merrill called the lack of voter lists “unconscionable” and referred the matter to the state Elections Enforcement Commission to determine if state election laws were violated. Merrill called it “apparent gross dereliction of duty by Hartford’s registrars of voters.”
If necessary, the elections enforcement agency should refer the matter for potential criminal action, said Av Harris, Merrill’s spokesman. A spokesman for the elections enforcement agency said it will take up the matter at its next scheduled meeting Nov. 18.
Olga Iris Vasquez, Hartford’s Democratic registrar of voters, said budget cuts and reduced staffing hampered the timely delivery of voter rolls. “There’s going to be hiccups along the way,” she said.
Harris said Merrill may seek changes in state laws administering elections but did not specify what those changes could be. “You’ll definitely hear from us,” he said.