Rant Against Congress’s Plans to Rescue the Election

Both the US House and Senate have proposals to improve our elections in the age COVID-19.  They are huge and dangerous, impossible to implement in Connecticut and many other states by November.

Instead of our usual format here, I will cover them by rants I have posted as comments on Facebook over the last two days. They are just to complex and out of touch with reality to comment in a neat and organized, point by point way.

By my count the Senate bill has eleven significant changes to current election law, procedures, and electronic systems in Connecticut elections. I have not counted the details in the House bill, while it is similar to the Senate bill it has at least two additional very difficult to  implement requirements.

Senate Bill Page Summary <read>  Senate Bill <read> House Bill (start at page 814) <read>

Selected Recent Rants (edited):

As Denise Merrill testified, just one of these changes is too much to do by Nov especially for the biggest election of the cycle. The Election Night Reporting system took about 5 years to get right, if it is now. Motor Voter has taken two years so far, if it is right now. The Senate bill has 11 significant changes we don’t have now including online AB requests, permanent AB for all, count ABs until the day before certification, signature cure also until that date, expanded email ballot delivery for disabled and those that don’t receive it by two days before the election, no exception for a disaster without internet or phone service, expanded (ambiguous) requirements for disabled, 20 days polling place early voting, etc. The House bill adds mandatory signature match for all ABs and days 15 days of early voting that must include the day before Election Day – that is a significant addition, where  the Senate bill provides four days between early voting and election day. The bills would pay for some hardware, software and implementation but I doubt for most of those local costs. We would almost necessarily need epollbooks to integrate the early voting data. Miss one part or screw it up for one voter, the US AG or v ANY citizen can sue for injunctive relief.

I’ll add it’s not 7 months as the AB stuff must be ready in Sept and Early voting in Oct. Plus all this is developed, tested, implemented and executed under COVID-19 separation rules. Unless it passes in time that we need it for the Aug Primary.

Lets not forget this is all being done under the gun of COVID-19. And the Electoral Count Act:

The bills have provisions for ABs that took CA, WA, OR, and CO years to implement. Secretary Merrill testified to the GAE last month that just one of those provisions was too difficult and risky to implement for Nov, I agree. There are several others even more difficult. Meeting those provisions and counting ABs are compounded by precautions for COVID-19. Even in CA where they have years of experience, they have 30 days to count ABs – now they have extended that to 51 days for the recent Primary – for 2020 the Safe Harbor date to report votes for electors is Dec 14, just 41 days after the election – Ask yourself what would happen if the Supreme Court stuck with the strong precedent from 1876 and disqualified the CA electors? And on top of that  CT is starting years behind in procedures, practices, automation, and systems.

What would I recommend?

By executive order of Governor Lamont, allow no-excuse AB, allow counting to go for 9 days not 2, to delay recanvasses until after day 10 – Day 10 is the certification date which is hard baked into the Connecticut Constitution, Registrar/SOTS and Clerk task forces created to plan to get their jobs done within the necessary time constraints, with state funding to cover planning training and the large staffing and supervision challenges for municipalities, including extra overhead for COVID-19. PS: The same for protecting everyone in polling places. Printers added to essential businesses.

 

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