Editor’s Note: 2010 Secretary of the State Election

We intend to provide comprehensive coverage of the 2010 Connecticut Secretary of the State  race, highlighting news reports, interviews and issues, yet sticking primarily to comments relevant to election management and election integrity.

We acknowledge that we are biased. We believe the most important duty of the Secretary of the State is serving as the state’s Chief Election Official. In that capacity first and foremost insuring election integrity, followed by assisting and encouraging voters, while assisting, leading, and training election officials across the state.  Our bias when it comes to choosing a Secretary of the State, is that election responsibilities are the cart, the horse, and most of the content of the office where a Secretary can make differences, both positive or negative.

The Secretary has other important functions and official duties, but those appear to us to be more routine, calling for effective management and quality service to the citizens of the state. Like all citizens the Secretary can comment on and work toward reforms in areas related to elections, other official duties, and general issues. We have no problems with the Secretary calling for ethics reform, initiatives associated with small business, changes in the budget, eduction, honoring veterans etc.- some of these are related to the official duties of the office, some are not.  But when it comes to elections the Secretary is directly involved in the entire process.

From the Connecticut Statute:

Sec. 9-3. Secretary to be Commissioner of Elections. Presumption concerning rulings and opinions. The Secretary of the State, by virtue of the office, shall be the Commissioner of Elections of the state, with such powers and duties relating to the conduct of elections as are prescribed by law and, unless otherwise provided by state statute, the secretary’s regulations, declaratory rulings, instructions and opinions, if in written form, shall be presumed as correctly interpreting and effectuating the administration of elections and primaries under this title, except for chapter 155, provided nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the right of appeal provided under the provisions of chapter 54.

Sec. 9-4. Duties of secretary. The Secretary of the State, in addition to other duties imposed by law, shall, as such commissioner, (1) advise local election officials in connection with proper methods of conducting elections and referenda as defined in subsection (n) of section 9-1, and, upon request of a municipal official, matters arising under chapter 99; (2) prepare regulations and instructions for the conduct of elections, as designated by law; (3) provide local election officials with a sufficient number of copies of election laws pamphlets and materials necessary to the conduct of elections; (4) distribute all materials concerning proposed laws or amendments required by law to be submitted to the electors; (5) recommend to local election officials the form of registration cards and blanks; (6) determine, in the manner provided by law, the forms for the preparation of voting machines, for the recording of the vote and the conduct of the election and certification of election returns; (7) prepare the ballot title or statement to be placed on the ballot for any proposed law or amendment to the Constitution to be submitted to the electors of the state; (8) certify to the several boards the form of official ballots for state and municipal offices; (9) provide the form and manner of filing notification of vacancies, nomination and subsequent appointment to fill such vacancies; (10) prescribe, provide and distribute absentee voting forms for use by the municipal clerks; (11) examine and approve nominating petitions filed under section 9-453o; and (12) distribute corrupt practices forms and provide instructions for completing and filing the same.

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