Secretary of the State Denise Merrill Wednesday proposed scrapping the state’s system of having two elected registrars, a Democrat and a Republican, run elections in each of the state’s 169 municipalities, saying she would replace them with a single registrar appointed by officials in each city or town. “Connecticut is the only state in the country that leaves election administration to two partisan locally elected officials,” Merrill, the state’s chief elections official, said at a Capitol press conference at which she proposed that legislators pass a bill to reform the system.
“We have now had two elections in the last four years where Connecticut has made national news for problems on Election Day, and enough is enough,” Merrill said. She was referring to Hartford registrars’ failure to deliver voter check-off lists to polling places before they opened on Election Day this past Nov. 4, and Bridgeport registrars’ failure in 2010 to order enough ballots.
Merrill, one of the state’s top elected Democrats, said the bill would transform the two local registrars into a “single, professional, municipal employee – not political” – who would follow state laws and directives from Merrill’s office.