Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s veto of legislation that would allow municipalities to reduce the number of polling places for primary elections has drawn criticism from some local election officials. Senate Bill 218 would have allowed local registrars of voters to limit the number of polling sites for a primary election. Election officials said the move was necessary to cut costs for primaries, when fewer voters turn out. Connecticut has closed primaries, so only registered Republicans or Democrats can vote in the elections. Current state law requires that all polling places be open for all elections, but the issue came to the forefront during the April 24 Republican presidential primary. With just one party voting in a race that was all but wrapped up at that point, turnout was very low.
Meriden had three polling places where fewer than 10 voters cast a ballot during the 14 hours polls were open. John Barry School had just four voters, the Sherman Avenue firehouse had five and Community Towers had seven voters. In total, 541 Republicans voted in the city. Lillian “Toni” Soboleski, Meriden’s Republican registrar of voters, said keeping all polling locations open for a primary “is a stupid idea … it’s a colossal waste of taxpayer money.” She said that voters are notified of any changes in polling places.
In a veto message to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill last week, Malloy said he had concerns that reducing the number of polling places in a primary would cause confusion for voters.