Legislature 2015

Help Wanted: Low pay, long hours, impossible demands, no benefits

A Courant article reminds us of an idea out of left-field enacted last year by the General Assembly as a “rat*”: Deadline Looms For Regional Election Monitors

When the Connecticut General Assembly passed the budget implementer bill in June 2015, buried in its 702 pages was the stipulation that regional election monitors be in place by March 1.

Those regional monitors were to be hired by each of the nine planning regions in the state. They would be certified by the Secretary of State’s office, but not paid by them.

Gentle reader, before you rush out and apply we note several items which might not be apparent.

Concerned with two partisan registrars? Be careful what you ask for.

How to manage and judge our elections without partisan bias is tough. Occasionally Secretary’s of State act in blatantly partisan ways. Cases in recent history include Catherine Harris in Florida and Ken Blackwell in Ohio.

Here in Connecticut the Secretary of the State proposed turning elections over to a single unelected official in each town, rather than the current two elected registrars of opposing parties.

Meanwhile in Kansas a bill would give the Secretary of State the power to prosecute election fraud.

S.B. 1051: Too much, too little, too risky

Last week the Government Administration and Elections Committee passed a modified version of S.B. 1051, hailed by the Secretary of the State and ROVAC (Registrars Of Voters Association of Connecticut) as a ‘bipartisan’ compromise.

Yet, all the compromising seems to be the agreement of election officials on a bill that would make registrars jobs easier while adding largely undefined and unchecked powers for the current and future Secretaries of the State.

Bill to study regionalization of elections moves forward

Last week Government Administration and Elections Committee (GAE) on passed a modified version of S.B. 1083out of committee. It would empower a task force to study regionalization of election administration. Earlier we testified in favor of the bill pointing to the possible benefits of such a task force.

Testimony – Do for Elections What We Have Done for Probate

How often is there a bill with everyone testifying for it? Not often!

Monday I testified to the Government Administration and Elections Committee on S.B. 1083 that would empower a task force to study regionalization of election administration.

CORRECTED: Testimony On Five Bills

Monday I testified to the Government Administration and Elections Committee on five elections bills. For one bill and against four others.

Most of the testimony was on the Secretary of the State’s bill, S.B. 1051, that would turn elections over to a single registrar in each town under the direction of an official appointed by the town council or similar body.

Testimony on another flawed bill

Last week there was a public hearing for another well-intended yet risky bill. This bill would allow absentee voting for any person who was absent for any amount of time from their town on election day. We are sympathetic to those who are gone most of the day and cannot be sure if they will get back from work in time.

Absentee voting is most prevalent cause of detected voting fraud in Connecticut and across the country.We offered a compromise of allowing an absentee ballot to anyone gone from 7:00am to 6:00pm. That should give them time to vote in the morning or in the evening, even if they are a bit late returning to town.

SOTS Plan: Real problems, yet no solution

One Wednesday, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill held a press conference to introduce her solutions to the recent problems with elections caused by registrars in several towns.  The problems are real. These solutions will do little to help, and might actually might make things worse. Its not worth the effort and the risks. As we have said many times, the solution is to “Do for elections what we have done for probate: Regionalize, Professionalize, Economize”.

Aaron Swartz, me, you, and our money.

Aaron Swartz “killed by our Government.” ? Fittingly his life, torture, and death available for all in an outstanding, free documentary. What does this have to do with you and me? Why is it fitting that the documentary is free?  Read on.

Testimony on two well-intended, yet (hopefully) fatally flawed bills

A week ago Friday, I testified against two well-intended, flawed bills that hopefully will not go forward.  One illustrates a terribly written bill that may have some underlying merit, yet leaves the public with no opportunity to understand the merits, the risks, and propose reasonable solutions.  The other intended to save work for registrars of voters, would not save much work at the expense of the voters and pollworkers.

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