Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s proposal to revamp the registrars of voters office pleases at least one community. Despite the chilly reception Merrill’s proposed legislation has gotten throughout the state, Windham residents familiar with elections applaud the effort to get a conversation going, even if they don’t think this bill will get approved. “It’s an excellent bill to start dialogue,” said Bunny Lescoe, Democratic registrar in Windham. “But it’s not a bill that should be voted on and passed this year. There are good things in it, but not everything in that bill should happen.”
Merrill’s proposal would require each municipality to have one registrar per town who must meet the minimum qualifications of having a bachelor’s degree or four years of experience in election administration. The registrar would be certified and required to undergo yearly training. The person would not be required to live in the town where they worked. Like zoning officials, the registrar could work for multiple towns.
The bill goes to hearing Monday at 1 p.m. in the Government Administration and Elections Committee. Merrill will testify along with Tammy Patrick of the Washington D.C.-based BipartisanPolicyCenter, who served on President Obama’s 2013 national Commission on Election Administration, Allegra Chapman of National Common Cause in WashingtonD.C. and Paul Herrnson from the University of Connecticut Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. Lescoe said she will submit testimony and may go to the hearing to testify.