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.
Articles about voting issues in Connecticut.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says it’s time Connecticut update its constitution to allow for early voting. She says early voting would address the 21st century needs of voters. “It reduces long lines on Election Day and it gives people multiple opportunities to vote. You know it’s a different world than it was 200 years ago and people are mobile and busy.” Merrill says that getting more people to vote is key to creating a healthy democracy.