Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office has stumbled repeatedly while spending $350,000 to $400,000 in five years trying to build a computerized system to produce speedy election-night vote tallies. But Merrill said Tuesday the system’s now ready – and its first big test is next week’s presidential primary. Merrill said her new Connecticut Election Management System will be “certainly … the most comprehensive in the country.” Asked where it ranked among the 50 states, she responded, “I’d say number one.” That’s because it will do a lot more than just produce fast and accurate results on election night, she said. It will also help voting officials in Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns do other parts of their jobs, such as preparing ballots and submitting mandatory reports, more easily and quickly.
Most cities and towns are expected to utilize the new system on a voluntary basis in the April 26 presidential primary, said a top staff attorney, Theodore Bromley, who conducted a briefing for reporters Tuesday at Merrill’s office on Trinity Street.
The Republican and Democratic primary voting will provide a good “dry run” for the new system because only one office – president – is on the ballot instead of several offices as in more-complex municipal and state elections, Merrill said. It’s “a lot easier to go through it with one office,” she said.