Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on Monday joined the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut in praising the legislative Government Administration and Elections Committee’s passage of Senate Bill No. 1051 “An Act Strengthening Connecticut Elections.” By an overwhelming vote of 13-2, the GAE committee approved a bill that will increase accountability and professionalism among Connecticut’s registrars of voters who are primarily charged with the responsibility of administering elections in Connecticut. Secretary Merrill had sought legislation to redefine the position of Registrar from two partisan, elected positions for each city and town to a professional hired locally by municipalities.
In a compromise reached with the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut (ROVAC), SB 1051 leaves registrars as locally elected officials, but mandates training and certification, requires elections officials to follow the instructions of the secretary of the state, and provides for a removal process in the event of malfeasance or extreme neglect of duty.
The bill also allows the Secretary of the State to temporarily relieve a Registrar of Voters from duty who has failed to meet required certification or is the subject of an investigation of any matter related to their duties. If the bill is enacted, Registrars of Voters will be required to pass a certification test and undergo yearly professional development and training, with failure to do so grounds for removal from office.