Connecticut

Articles about voting issues in Connecticut.

Connecticut: Merrill wants constitutional amendments for early voting, registration | Journal Inquirer

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced her legislative proposals Thursday, two of which require constitutional amendments allowing for a minimum of three days of early voting before Election Day and allowing 16-year-olds to register early to vote. The proposal to allow 16-year-olds to register two years before their 18th birthday would require them to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, but Merrill said she envisions allowing them to register at school, their town hall, or anywhere voters can register. Merrill, a Democrat, said 16-year-olds usually have their first interaction with the DMV when getting their driver’s licenses, and her proposed amendment would make it more likely that younger people are involved in the voting process as soon as they turn 18.

Full Article: Merrill wants constitutional amendments for early voting, registration | Newsletters | journalinquirer.com.

Connecticut: Merrill wants amendment to allow early voting | Journal Inquirer

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is leading a push to amend the state constitution to allow voters a minimum of three days of voting before Election Day, but the proposal is being panned by Republican leadership, which says Merrill should focus more on protecting the democratic process from voter fraud. The Connecticut Constitution now requires voters to cast their ballots in person on Election Day or meet certain requirements to vote by absentee ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment Merrill announced Tuesday would remove from the constitution restrictions on absentee ballots and require a minimum of three days of early voting.

Full Article: Merrill wants amendment to allow early voting | Politics & Government | journalinquirer.com.

Connecticut: Advocates revive push for early voting by Constitutional amendment | Hartford Courant

Saying it’s time for Connecticut to join 39 other states, advocates started pushing Tuesday for a rare constitutional amendment to allow early voting. Unlike most states, Connecticut permits voting in person only on Election Day from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. While the final details are not set, an early voting system could potentially allow voting on the three weekends before Election Day. Voting would likely only be permitted at town halls in order to curtail the costs from opening every polling place around the state, lawmakers said. While Democrats in the state House of Representatives and Senate are pushing strongly for the measure, Republicans who have voted against the idea in the past are urging caution and saying state officials instead should be more concerned about voter fraud.

Full Article: Advocates revive push for early voting by Constitutional amendment - Hartford Courant.

Connecticut: Sentencing commission says parolees should vote | Connecticut Post

The Sentencing Commission Wednesday voted to once again get behind any bill that would restore voting rights to parolees, who are still serving their sentences. The commission also backed the measure last year — but it never came up for a vote in either the House or Senate. Outgoing Department of Corrections Commissioner Scott Semple, who is also a Sentencing Commission member, said allowing parolees to vote is an “important step in their return to a normal and productive life.” The bill didn’t receive much attention last year in the midst of the budget crisis that dominated most of the session, but it was a priority for the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.

Full Article: Sentencing commission says parolees should vote - Connecticut Post.

Connecticut: NAACP sues Connecticut over ‘prison gerrymandering’ | Associated Press

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sued the state of Connecticut on Thursday, over how it counts its prisoners when crafting legislative districts. The NAACP lawsuit argues that urban districts are weakened while rural districts with fewer minorities benefit unfairly, in a practice critics call “partisan gerrymandering”. The civil rights organization hopes the case can become a template for suits it may file in other states where inmates are included in the population counts of areas where they are imprisoned, rather than their home districts. Including incarcerated people in population counts for the Connecticut general assembly districts where prisons are located is unfair to those living in the districts where the inmates originally came from, said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and chief executive.

Full Article: NAACP sues Connecticut over 'prison gerrymandering' | US news | The Guardian.

Connecticut: State Works To Fend Off Cybersecurity Attacks On Election | CT News Junkie

Two days after President Donald Trump eliminated the position of cybersecurity coordinator on the National Security Council, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill convened the second meeting of the Elections Cybersecurity Task Force. At the very beginning of the meeting, Merrill reminded the task force that the election system faces several threats, including natural ones, like the tornadoes that touched down in the state last week and caused more damage than some hurricanes in several towns. She said they have emergency protocols in place for what happens if a polling place loses power, but are still putting plans together for emergencies that might not be as easily detected. “This will be the first statewide election following Russia’s attempt to interfere with our election infrastructure right here in Connecticut,” Merrill said.

Full Article: Connecticut Works To Fend Off Cybersecurity Attacks On Election | CT News Junkie.

Connecticut: House Debates Then Tables Voting Rights Bill | CT News Junkie

The House spent about an hour Tuesday debating and then tabling a bill that would restore voting rights to parolees, who are still serving their sentences. The bill, which didn’t receive much attention this year, was a priority for the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. A deal was brokered to let them debate the bill for a limit period of time, but it never got called for vote. “There is no harm in broadening civic engagement,” Rep. Brandon McGee, D-Hartford, said. He vowed to bring the bill back next year and win more support for the measure. He said they want to provide rights to individuals who are living and breathing in their communities.

Full Article: House Debates Then Tables Voting Rights Bill | CT News Junkie.

Connecticut: Long road ahead for Connecticut early voting, despite House approval | New Canaan News

Early voting will not occur in Connecticut before 2021, if ever, the House of Representatives determined Thursday. Only a simple majority of representatives approved of asking voters on the ballot whether Connecticut residents should be allowed to vote before election day. Many Republicans voiced concerns that creating more voting days would be expensive for town. Meanwhile, Democrats said the provision would allow more people to access the polls.  … The simple majority means major hurdles are ahead before the state constitution could be amended to permit early voting.

Full Article: Long road ahead for Connecticut early voting, despite House approval - New Canaan News.

Connecticut: Election cybersecurity task force prepares for 2018 voting | New Canaan News

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill gathered federal, state and local officials for a meeting Monday to work on strengthening Connecticut’s election cybersecurity before ballots are cast in November. “2018 will be one of the most closely watched elections in our nation’s history,” said Merrill. “We are going to ensure through this task force the people in Connecticut know every vote will be counted, every voice will be heard.” Representatives from Department of Homeland Security, the National Guard, several state agencies, legislators and local election officials discussed how to block hackers and improve communications across the 169 towns running Connecticut’s elections.

Full Article: Connecticut election cybersecurity task force prepares for 2018 voting - New Canaan News.

Connecticut: Bill Would Restore Voting Rights to Parolees Pre Trial Detainees | Public News Service

A bill to restore the vote to thousands of Connecticut residents is getting a hearing Thursday in the General Assembly. The Government Administration and Elections Committee is hearing testimony on HB 5418. If passed the bill would give some 4,000 people who are in custody but have not been convicted of a crime access to ballots, and it would restore voting rights to another 3,000 who are on parole. According to Kennard Ray, chair of the Full Citizen Coalition to Unlock the Vote, the legislation would bring Connecticut’s voting rights laws into line with every other state in New England.

Full Article: Bill Would Restore Voting Rights to Parolees Pre Trial Detainees / Public News Service.

Connecticut: Bills focus on protecting voter rolls; I.D. theft a potential issue | Connecticut Post

How to keep voter files safe from identity theft and other threats is the focus of two bills under consideration by the Government Administration and Elections Committee. The bills, which received a public hearing Monday at the Capitol, would limit who can obtain copies of voter rolls, what information they could access and what they can do with that information. They would also allow people with safety concerns or municipal police to opt out of having their information available on public voter rolls.

Full Article: Bills focus on protecting voter rolls; I.D. theft a potential issue - Connecticut Post.

Connecticut: State may limit access to state’s voter database | Associated Press

Marketing companies and other private entities would no longer be able to buy Connecticut’s state voter list for about $300 and use the data for solicitations and other purposes under new legislation being considered by state lawmakers this session. Instead, only political party committees, candidates, political action committees, journalists, academic researchers and governmental agencies could tap the cache of information, which includes full names, addresses, phone numbers, political affiliations and birth dates. The proposed change is being offered by Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, who also wants to prevent a voter’s full birthdate from being released.

Full Article: Connecticut may limit access to state's voter database - Fairfield Citizen.

Connecticut: Move to shield voter-identity information | Connecticut Post

In this age of cyber theft and Russian hackers breaking down digital firewalls from the other side of the globe, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill wants to make it harder to steal Connecticut voter identities. Merrill this year will ask the General Assembly to scrub voter birth dates from registration records, while giving people the option of requesting that their information be kept from public scrutiny. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday in her Capitol office, Merrill said that some hackers can glean enough information to threaten peoples’ identities, while others can sell voter lists – available for $300 – to marketers.

Full Article: Move to shield voter-identity information - Connecticut Post.

Connecticut: Puerto Rican voter registration drive gets state help | Associated Press

As advocates prepare efforts register hurricane-displaced Puerto Ricans to vote in the U.S. mainland, the chief elections officer in Connecticut is putting the weight of her office behind drives to sign up as many eligible newcomers as possible. Residents of the Caribbean island are U.S. citizens, but they are barred from voting for president unless they are registered in the U.S. mainland. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, said Wednesday that her office will work with local governments and community groups to identify and register those eligible to vote. She said registration is important for civic engagement and to give the newcomers a say in public affairs, including the federal government’s relief work on the island.

Full Article: Puerto Rican voter registration drive gets state help - ABC News.

Connecticut: State Has A New Way To Count The Votes | WNPR

On election night earlier this month in Connecticut, the secretary of the state’s office unveiled a new system for towns to report vote totals. The “Election Management System” (EMS) is being applauded for delivering faster results to the public. The process begins in advance of the election with the town clerk entering the names of each candidate on the ballot into the new online EMS. The towns’ head moderator inputs the actual results after polls close. “All you have to type in on election night are the numbers themselves,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said. “It then uploads automatically to our website and so you, you the public, get the results in real-time — terrific improvement over how we were doing things before.”

Full Article: Connecticut Has A New Way To Count The Votes | WNPR News.

Connecticut: Post-election audits are democracy in action | The Hour

When you cast your vote, do you ever wonder whether it’s being accurately counted? The League of Women Voters supports election integrity and public confidence in our electoral process. To that end, we applaud the State of Connecticut’s post-election audits and encourage citizens to be volunteer observers when these audits are conducted. For the election that took place on Nov. 7, audits will begin on Nov. 22. After each election in Connecticut, audit locations are chosen by lottery. For example, this October the results of the September primary elections were audited at 5 percent of the polling locations where voting took place. The polling locations were in various municipalities around the state: Bridgeport, Cheshire, Greenwich, New Haven, New London, Newtown, and Stratford. Audit results are analyzed by the University of Connecticut, the Secretary of the State’s Office, and the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Connecticut: Mystery of ‘disappearing’ ballots solved after Portland election recount | The Middletown Press

Election officials believe they have determined why a number of votes were subtracted from the total during Friday’s election recount. The automatic recount was triggered when Democrat Benjamin R. Srb out polled Republican Timothy Lavoy by 19 votes in the competition for a seat on the Board of Selectmen and a similarly close race for the Board of Education. The recount confirmed Srb’s victory, and added one vote to his total. But a number of votes, some 69 in all, and disproportionately occurring on ballots for Republican candidates, “disappeared” in the recount, according to Town Clerk Ryan J. Curley.

Full Article: Mystery of ‘disappearing’ ballots solved after Portland election recount - The Middletown Press.

Connecticut: UConn’s Center for Voting Technology Research supports fair and free elections | The Daily Campus

The University of Connecticut’s Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) is working to keep state elections fair and fraud free, a topic recently brought to light by Secretary of State Denise Merrill in a statement released Friday. “(On Oct. 26th), along with representatives from the state’s information technology and public safety departments, I met with regional officials from the United States Department of Homeland Security to discuss how we can work together to ensure that Connecticut elections are safe from outside interference or manipulation,” Merrill said. The center aids this mission by advising state agencies in the use of electronic voting equipment and investigating voting solutions, according to its website. “We’ve been in existence since 2006 and we’ve been working with the Secretary of the State’s Office since then,” said Dr. Alexander Schwarzmann, professor and head of the UConn computer science and engineering department. “Our work was motivated by the nationwide change in the way that elections are conducted with the help of technology.”

Full Article: UConn’s Center for Voting Technology Research supports fair and free elections — The Daily Campus.

Connecticut: Trump Panel Push For Voting Data Could Lead To More Connecticut Voter Privacy Protections | Hartford Courant

The push by President Donald Trump’s anti-voter-fraud commission to get huge amounts of voter data from across the nation could have unintended consequences in Connecticut: more state protections for registered voters’ personal information. Connecticut lawmakers and election officials say they will renew efforts to restrict public release of at least some of the personal information on voters that is now on file with the state. Many Connecticut voters are unaware that their dates of birth, home addresses, party affiliation, recent history of going to the polls and sometimes even telephone numbers are public information and easily available on the Internet. “It’s basically a ready-made, identification-theft kit,” said Dan Barrett, legal director of the Connecticut branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Many states do have broad restrictions on how voter data can be released or used, but Connecticut only protects the addresses of law enforcement personnel and some types of crime victims.

Full Article: Trump Panel Push For Voting Data Could Lead To More Connecticut Voter Privacy Protections - Hartford Courant.

Connecticut: Trump Voter Fraud Panel Request For Information Gets Chilly Connecticut Reply | Hartford Courant

President Donald Trump’s special commission to investigate alleged voter fraud is asking Connecticut election officials for reams of personal data on all registered voters in the state and got a frosty reply from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. “In the spirit of transparency, we intend to share publicly-available information with [President Trump’s] Kobach Commission while ensuring that the privacy of voters is honored by withholding protected data,” Merrill said in a public response Thursday. Letters from the new commission reportedly went out to all 50 states Wednesday requesting publicly available voter information, and information on “law, policies or other issues [that] hinder your ability to ensure the integrity of elections you administer.” Also, the commission asked for “convictions for election-related crimes” dating to the 2000 presidential election.

Full Article: Trump Voter Fraud Panel Request For Information Gets Chilly Connecticut Reply - Hartford Courant.