A monitor will oversee city elections through 2017, including the upcoming mayoral and city council primaries. Funding for the election monitor was included in a budget implementation bill approved Monday by the Senate and early Tuesday by the House in a special session. It was signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday. The bill calls for a monitor to “detect and prevent irregularity” in Hartford’s management of elections. State Rep. Matthew Ritter, D-Hartford, advocated for the funding after problems occurred in the November 2014 election that caused some Hartford polling places to open late.
People were unable to vote at as many as 10 polling locations when they opened at 6 a.m. on Election Day because voter registration lists were not delivered on time. Voters had to wait more than an hour at certain locations, and some left without voting, prompting the Democratic Party to seek extended hours.
A Superior Court judge eventually ordered two polling places to remain open an extra half-hour. Malloy and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill were among those who could not immediately cast their votes.
“I think the most common thing I heard after what happened in November was: Don’t let months go by and everyone forget where we were and the problems that we had,” Ritter said Tuesday. “The [Hartford] delegation came up with a good fix, in the short term anyway, to make sure we do not have similar problems in the future.”