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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.

Let us consider doing for Elections what we have done for Probate

The legislature should be considering doing for our elections what we have done for probate. I am not the 1st to suggest this, let us hope that our legislature is not the last to consider it.

CT Attorney General’s opinion on Ranked Choice Voting

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/AG/Opinions/2024/2024_1_AGO_Formal_Opinion_on_Ranked_Choice_Voting.pdf

AG William Tong concludes that for State Offices (General Assembly, Judge of Probate, Governor, LT Governor etc.) would require a Constitutional Amendment.

I would go one step further that the Constitutional requirement that such offices be counted and certified within 10 days of the election would be all but impossible to coordinate across the entire State if they required multiple hand recanvasses (recounts) , as the order of elimination can be critical and more than one can be very close.

A flawed new version of Risk Limiting Audit bill moves forward in the General Assembly

Last month I wrote about S.B.472 for Risk Limiting Audits, despite all but unanimous testimony that the bill was highly flawed, a flawed substitute was passed shortly thereafter by the General Administration and Elections Committee. Last week that revised bill became available on the web, allowing public scrutiny. There is a Word version and a .pdf version, the .pdf version has a fiscal note and an Office of Legislative (OLR) analysis.

It is revised from the original with some improvements, yet remains ambiguous and confusing, although now it may be closer to an actual Risk Limiting Audit. I question if the person(s) who wrote this updated bill had or took advantage of review by anyone familiar with the science of Risk Limiting Audits. Considering the fiscal note and the OLR Analysis, it seems to me that the description in some cases reads things into the bill that do not seem to be reflected in the bill. In particular, it assumes costs and roles for UConn that are not clear in the bill. Costs and roles that would be consistent with the prototype last year, but not obvious in the bill that would become law.

Editorial, Bridgeport Part 2: What could/should we do

Earlier we described the general situation with regard to the recent Bridgeport Primary and some steps in the wrong direction.<read part 1> Today we will discuss some steps that could be taken to prevent these same problems in Bridgeport, Hartford, Stamford, and elsewhere in Connecticut.

Increase Enforcement
Monitor Elections With Independent Monitors
Randomly Audit Absentee Votes, Envelopes, and Applications
Do for Elections What We Have Done for Probate

 

The “Real” Lawyers Only Need Apply Rule

As this CTNewsJunkie post implies, it will always be called The Bysiewicz Test <read>

Ambiguously defined in law and only slightly less ambiguously by the Connecticut Supreme Court. All we know for sure is that you have to be a lawyer in CT for at least ten years and have different experience than Susan Bysiewicz had in 2010.  As I commented in on the article:

I always find it interesting that the AG and Judge of Probate are the only offices that have qualifications, as far as I know. They are both related to law. I wonder if the composition of the General Assembly makes the legislature realize how important qualifications are, in just these cases?

There remains no necessary training whatsoever to be Secretary of the State, while some of her employees, but not all, need to be lawyers to give advice to the public, would be candidates, and election officials. That could be going better, but of course, certification by itself does not preclude errors and incompetence, or as Jon Lender puts it Bungling

Why Signatures and Checking Them Matter

A vigilant Registrar in New Haven pursues suspicions.  From the New Haven Independent  Judge Hopeful Submits Forged Signatures <read>

Americo Carchia Wednesday said he’s considering whether to end his campaign for probate judge and vowed to cooperate with any potential criminal investigations after learning that he had submitted petitions with forged signatures to qualify for the Sept. 12 Democratic primary ballot.

Connecticut pre-election voting machine testing now less reliable

Over the the last few weeks, we have learned that in the November Election, registrars have substituted a less effective form of pre-election testing that is less likely to catch errors in ballots or election equipment. There are at least two problems

Better Access To Voting Within Reach In CT (Annotated)

Courant Editorial, Sunday November 20th: Better Access To Voting Within Reach In CT

We have long had concerns with extending mail-in voting, aka no excuse absentee voting.  We also support in-person early voting, if we are willing to pay for it.  We have a new Courant Editorial joining Denise Merrill in a renewed push for early voting, defeated two years ago by the voters of Connecticut, consistent with our warnings but not our prediction.

Connecticut is one of only a handful of states that does not allow in-person voting before Election Day and requires those casting absentee ballots to provide an excuse — two unnecessary and antiquated barriers to participation in the political process. [Unnecessary only for those who lack concern for election integrity, turnout, and costs]

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.