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.Full Article: Connecticut Makes Push For Early Voting | WSHU.
Articles about voting issues in Connecticut.
On a partisan vote of 79 to 70, the House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that could test the limits of the states’ ability to regulate campaign finances in the post-Citizens United era by imposing rules intended to end the use of untraceable dark money in Connecticut elections. Republicans opposed the reforms as insufficient, saying they fail to close loopholes that allow unlimited money to flow into publicly financed campaigns for state office, despite a promise by candidates participating in the voluntary program to abide by spending and contribution limits. Democrats rejected a series of GOP amendments that would have closed avenues that now allow donors to funnel money into legislative and other state races, such as the ability of state parties to make unlimited expenditures on behalf of candidates.Full Article: Connecticut House tests limits of regulating ‘dark money’ | CT Mirror.
If early voting comes to Connecticut, it will be late — following at 37 other states and the District of Columbia. A sharply divided House of Representatives took a small step Tuesday toward putting the issue to a referendum vote, though not before 2020. The House voted 78 to 70, with two Republicans joining 76 Democrats, for a resolution authorizing a referendum on a constitutional amendment allowing early voting. Connecticut is a rarity: The terms for casting ballots early or by absentee ballot is dictated by the constitution. If passed by the Senate, the road to change still is long and uncertain. The General Assembly elected in 2018 would have to vote in 2019 for the same resolution if voters get to have their say in 2020. Even if approved at referendum, the constitutional amendment only would allow legislators to consider a bill permitting early voting in the 2021 session.Full Article: House takes step on long road to early voting in Connecticut | CT Mirror.
During an early evening session of the State House of Representatives, debating legislation aimed at advancing an amendment to the state’s constitution that permits early voting, Representative Jason Perillo (R-113) offered an amendment that would require those who cast votes in municipal, state and federal elections to present a valid photo ID to election officials that contains their name and address before casting their vote.Full Article: perillo.
In a partisan committee vote Monday night, a bill was approved that would shine light on so-called dark money, the anonymous political contributions usually bundled by out-of-state interests to influence statewide and legislative elections. Republicans think the majority should start campaign finance reforms in their own caucus, where a proliferation of individual PACs spread money throughout the recent state-election process. The Government Administration & Elections Committee, with a one-vote Democratic majority, pushed through legislation that would require corporations to disclose the votes of their boards of directors when they make political contributions and limit so-called independent expenditures to $70,000 a year. The bill passed 9-8, during the committee’s last meeting before its deadline. The legislation, which passed with no discussion after five-and-a-half hours of closed door caucusing by Republicans and Democrats, heads to the House.Full Article: “Dark money” targeted in partisan committee vote - Connecticut Post.
Legislators debated Monday whether Connecticut should ease restrictions on absentee ballots and also join 37 other states by allowing early voting. Early voting is common around the country but has never become law in the Land of Steady Habits. To ease the restrictions, lawmakers are proposing two separate constitutional amendments for “no excuse” absentee ballots and early voting. In November 2014, Connecticut voters rejected a constitutional amendment on absentee ballots that asked them in a one-sentence question if the Constitution should be changed.Full Article: Lawmakers Consider Allowing Early Voting - Hartford Courant.
A push to bring early voting to Connecticut — and send long lines at many polling locations the way of mechanical voting machines — is regaining momentum. State Rep. William Tong, D-Stamford, this week introduced a bill, the first of the upcoming legislative session, to amend the state constitution to allow for early voting. A similar measure was defeated by voters in 2014 during a public referendum, despite support from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the state’s top election official, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, who are both Democrats. Tong said it’s high time that Connecticut join 37 other states that allow anyone to cast their ballots before the election, not just those who meet the guidelines for obtaining an absentee ballot. The initiative comes after a record 1.7 million ballots were cast statewide in the November election, with long lines observed in many municipalities such as Bridgeport, Stamford, Fairfield, Milford, Norwalk and Danbury.Full Article: Early voting initiative makes comeback in Conn. - Connecticut Post.
The statewide debut of an election results website was marked by growing pains, including the deletion of tallies from Tuesday’s watershed presidential contest that forced the system to be temporarily shut down. This was the first time all 169 Connecticut municipalities were required to use the system, which cost the state between $350,000 and $450,000 as part of a broader technology upgrade. Participation had been voluntary for the presidential primary in April, and for the August primaries. From Bridgeport to Danbury to Greenwich, local registrars of voters reported multiple kinks in the system, from lost data to network crashes, and then being unable to log back in to complete their work. The registrars say that having a centralized website is more efficient than the past practice of faxing in the results to the state and waiting up to two days for the information to be posted. But the execution, they say, was a mess.Full Article: Glitches plague state election results website - Connecticut Post.
Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced that Connecticut will have a new accessible ballot marking system at polling places statewide on Election Day, Nov. 8 that is designed to improve the voting experience for people with disabilities. “We know that people with disabilities are some of Connecticut’s most active and engaged citizens and that they will be a force in this year’s presidential election. We want to make sure that when they turn out to vote this November, they have the most high-tech services available,” Merrill said. The new stand-alone, tablet-based system requires no telephone or internet service and is intended to be adaptable to a variety of assistive technologies. The tablet system is a ballot-marking device that replaces the previous phone-fax technology. The previous system required poll workers to use a designated telephone with a secure, pre-registered number to enter the system. Voters were then given a telephone handset after the calls were answered by a computer system that provided an audio ballot. Once the call ended, the ballot was faxed to the polling place.Full Article: New voting devices for voters with disabilities | Monroe Courier.
Voters with disabilities will no longer, in the words of Secretary of State Denise Merrill, be forced to use “the clunky old system” when voting on Nov. 8. On Monday, Merrill and advocates for the disabled showed off the state’s new $1.5 million, state-of-the-art computerized system that will allow Connecticut’s disabled voters to first vote, and then print their ballots. “I am very excited about this,’’ Merrill said. “It is a real improvement over our old system. The beauty of it is people with disabilities will be able to vote just like everyone else.’’ The new stand-alone, tablet-based system requires no telephone or internet service and is intended to be adaptable to a variety of assistive technologies. The tablet system is a ballot-marking device that replaces the previous phone-fax technology. The previous system required poll workers to use a designated telephone with a secure, pre-registered number. Voters were then given a telephone handset after the calls were answered by a computer system that provided an audio ballot. Once the call ended, the ballot was faxed to the polling place.Full Article: CT News Junkie | Disabled Voters to Use New, State-of-the-Art System Nov. 8.
Connecticut registered nearly 700 new voters Monday and Tuesday, the first two days of a “motor voter” system established at the Department of Motor Vehicles under last week’s settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. And the DMV wasn’t even open Monday, just AAA. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said any customer doing business at the DMV or at AAA offices that serve as DMV branches is now automatically prompted to register to vote or update their voting address, a long-overdue step complying with a U.S. civil rights law.Full Article: ‘Motor voter’ off to fast start at Connecticut DMV | The CT Mirror.
The state and the U.S. Justice Department reached a settlement to resolve claims that Connecticut’s method of registering voters at the Department of Motor Vehicles was not in compliance with federal law. Under a program beginning next week, applications for driver’s licenses and identification cards will effectively serve as voter registration applications unless a customer specifically opts out. And when a customer changes the address on file at the DMV, that information will be reflected on the voter rolls unless they make a different request. “The motor voter provision of the [National Voter Registration Act of 1993] critically supports and enhances our citizens’ access to the democratic process,” U.S. attorney Deirdre M. Daly said in a statement. “Compliance with those requirements plays an important role in ensuring that all Conneticut citizens can more easily exercise their right to vote.”Full Article: Feds Sign Off On 'Motor Voter' Settlement - Hartford Courant.
Republican legislators Wednesday amplified their claims that Secretary of the State Denise Merrill bypassed the General Assembly by entering an agreement with the Department of Motor Vehicles for a “streamlined motor voter system” to automatically register citizens to vote when they go to the DMV to obtain or renew a driver’s license. At a press conference in the Legislative Office Building, Senate GOP Leader Len Fasano of North Haven said that after Merrill failed to get the legislature this year to approve a bill to establish the automatic motor voter registration system, she “went behind the backs” of lawmakers to negotiate a “memorandum of understanding” to implement the new system administratively. Merrill and the DMV defended the agreement later Wednesday. Under the new “automatic motor voter system,” DMV customers would be registered to vote starting in 2018 unless they decline by choosing to opt out. Under the current motor voter program that’s existed for two decades, DMV customers are registered to vote only if they choose that option.Full Article: Motor Voter Dispute Generates More Heat At Capitol - Hartford Courant.
Connecticut: DMV, Merrill Agree On Streamlined, ‘Automatic’ Motor Voter Registration System | Hartford Courant
The Department of Motor Vehicles and secretary of the state have worked out previous differences and signed an agreement to implement a “streamlined motor voter system” that will automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they go to DMV for a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. The Department of Motor Vehicles and secretary of the state have worked out previous differences and signed an agreement to implement a “streamlined motor voter system” that will automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they go to DMV for a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. The “memorandum of agreement,” signed Monday by DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra and Deputy Secretary of the State James Spallone, says the new system, under which the DMV customer would be registered to vote unless he or she specifically declines by choosing to opt out, would begin operating by August 2018. Under the current program, the DMV customer is registered to vote only if he or she actively chooses that option.Full Article: DMV, Merrill Agree On Streamlined, 'Automatic' Motor Voter Registration System - Hartford Courant.
Connecticut: GOP Legislators: Merrill, DMV Circumvented General Assembly With New ‘Motor Voter’ System | Hartford Courant
Republican legislative leaders claimed Wednesday that Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and the Department of Motor Vehicles bypassed the General Assembly when they agreed this week to establish a “streamlined motor voter system” to automatically register citizens to vote when they go to DMV for a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. Senate GOP Leader Len Fasano of North Haven and Michael McLachlan of Danbury, the highest-ranking Republican senator on a legislative committee that oversees state elections, issued a statement blasting a “memorandum of agreement” signed Monday by the DMV and Merrill’s office.Full Article: GOP Legislators: Merrill, DMV Circumvented General Assembly With New 'Motor Voter' System - Hartford Courant.
Connecticut: This State Says It Can Automatically Register Voters Without Legislative Approval | Huffington Post
Connecticut announced this week that it will become the fifth state in the U.S. to automatically register its citizens to vote. And it’s going to do so in an innovative way. While Oregon, California, West Virginia and Vermont have each passed laws through their state legislatures enacting automatic voter registration, the process in Connecticut was initiated by state agencies. The office of Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill (D) signed an administrative agreement with the state Department of Motor Vehicles to automatically register eligible voters by August 2018. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires states to give eligible voters the opportunity to register to vote when they renew their driver’s license or state identification card, or when they acquire a new one, at the DMV. Connecticut says it will transition to a system where eligible voters are registered automatically when they interact with the DMV. The state says up to 400,000 new voters could be registered through this process once the two agencies hammer out the details.Full Article: This State Says It Can Automatically Register Voters Without Legislative Approval.
Connecticut: Officials Tense, Tight-Lipped On Feds’ Probe Of State ‘Motor Voter’ Program | Hartford Courant
The U.S. Department of Justice’s April 15 threat to sue Connecticut over failures in its “motor voter” program — which is supposed to promote voter registration at Department of Motor Vehicles offices — resulted in a closed-door meeting this past Tuesday aimed at resolving the problem out of court. Under “motor voter” programs that federal law requires states to operate, when someone applies to the DMV for a driver’s license (or a license renewal), that application must also include an opportunity to register to vote. Also, requests to the DMV for a change of address must also be forwarded to voting officials in applicants’ hometowns for updating of voter-registration information.Full Article: Officials Tense, Tight-Lipped On Feds' Probe Of State 'Motor Voter' Program - Hartford Courant.
On Election Day 2014, Connecticut was among the last states in the nation to learn who its next governor was because of its antiquated voting system. In 2010, the gubernatorial vote tally took three days. So congratulations are in order to the 104 municipalities that successfully participated in a trial run last week of the online vote reporting system hosted by the secretary of the state’s office. Shortly after 8 p.m., election officials in many towns started entering Democratic and Republican primary results in the system, even though participation was voluntary this time around. It offered a good look at how solidly Donald J. Trump was winning the state and at the town-by-town battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.Full Article: Online Vote Reporting Test Promises Timely CT Results At Last - Hartford Courant.
Connecticut: U.S. Justice Department Investigating Connecticut Motor Voter Program | Hartford Courant
The U.S. Department of Justice has informed state officials that it is investigating Connecticut’s “motor voter” program — under which citizens can sign up to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles — and has found “widespread noncompliance” with federal laws. “This is to notify you that I have authorized a lawsuit against the state of Connecticut and appropriate state officials to enforce compliance with Section 5 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993,” which applies to local ‘motor voter’ programs in the states,” Vanita Gupta, a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, wrote April 15 to Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen.Full Article: U.S. Justice Department Investigating Connecticut Motor Voter Program - Hartford Courant.
Connecticut: Presidential Primary Will Test Merrill’s Latest Attempt At Computerizing Vote Tallies | Hartford Courant
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.Full Article: Presidential Primary Will Test Merrill's Latest Attempt At Computerizing Vote Tallies - Hartford Courant.