CT Law

Two Reminders: Transparency and the Limits of All Paper Elections

This week we have had two demonstrations of themes we have discussed in theory at CTVotersCount.
From Connecticut, the importance of transparency.
From abroad the limits of paper only elections.

Editorial: Improve Turnout By Making Voting Worthwhile

It seems that turnout is the holy grail of elections. Many election reforms are justified on a claim, true or not, that the reform will increase turnout. But, turnout is more a symptom of democracy, than an end in itself.

We have some suggestions to consider:

  • Make it easier for third-party candidates to get on the ballot, easier to qualify for public financing. Let us start with a level playing field for public financing, and officials that follow the law, with a “Chief Election Official” with actual responsibility for elections.
  • Reform the decentralized partisan election system.
  • Eliminate the “Spoiler” effect, provide more democracy, with a true runoff election when one candidate does not get 50_% of the vote.

Let us recall that in this generation, two third-party “spoilers” did win elections in Connecticut: Governor Lowell Weicker, and Senator Joe Lieberman.

An afternoon at the Recount(?)

On June 24th there was a third budget referendum in Colchester, CT. There were separate questions for the town budget and the Board of Education budget, both previously twice voted down. This time the town budget passed by a margin of twelve votes and the BOE squeaked by with a margin of four votes.

This was actually the first time I have attended a recount in Connecticut. In the past I have attended about eight recanvasses. Every time, I have attended a recanvass, either as a member of the public or representing a party or slate, I have learned something. Most often a few good ideas, and new ways not to run a recanvass. This was an exception, I only learned good things. It was a thoroughly effective recount in all regards, and educational for me.

Legislative Wrap-Up: One recommended bill passes – Electronic Check-in

It is often tricky to navigate the course of bills stuffed into other bills. At this point, as far as we can tell none of the bills we supported or opposed passed individually. We have scanned the 314 page ‘implementer bill’ checking each section and found only one bill that passed, one that we recommended – Electronic Check-in.

Testimony on three bills – FOI is an issue in elections too

Today I testified on three elections bills before the Government Elections and Administration Committee (GAE). There was also testimony against another assault on Freedom Of Information (FOI). Very appropriate since access to information, transparency, public accountability, and serving the public played a role in my testimony on each bill.

The Downside(?) Of Clear Election Laws

To paraphrase Einstein, “Laws should be as simple as possible, but no simpler”

Speed Up Election Results – Not so fast, with another half-baked solution

UPDATED, With two additional views. And a CORRECTION.
We half agree with the Courant and the Secretary of the State. We have supported the idea, applauded the start that the Secretary took, yet there are problems with the system as proposed, and even more problems with the some of the views and ideas in the Courant’s Editorial. Yet, one half-baked manual system does not deserve a half-baked automated one to solve the problems.

We would like to see the Secretary and the Courant Editorial Board close a polling place and get the data in via smart phone, or close absentee ballots and report via laptop. We will help time them and transparently provide the video on YouTube.

We also remind readers that the Courant is one of the newspapers that led the fight to require expensive paper legal notices instead of allowing for web based notices.

Connecticut Deserves a Fully Transparent and Deliberative Legislature

Last week, Fresh Talk from the Courant provides a partial case for a full-time Legislature.We agree with the basic reasons presented in the argument, yet there is more that should be required of a full-time, close to adequately compensated legislature.

ACLU Forum on Electoral Dysfunction

On Wednesday night I participated on a panel in Waterford, CT on Electoral Dysfunction, sponsored by the ACLU, Common Cause and the LWV. It was a very good discussion with a variety of views from the panel, a wide range of excellent questions, and unsurpassed moderation. In the near future we may have video available. I promised to provide more information here on the topics covered.

Others Weigh In On Election Reforms

Last week Secretary of the State Denise Merrill weighed in at her press conference on, as the Courant headlines, how “Reforms Could Boost Voter Participation”. Also weighing in was Melissa J. Russell, President of ROVAC (Registrars Of Voters Association, Connecticut).

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