S1 Tempers “For the People Act” Impact on Connecticut

As we pointed out earlier, H1, the House version of the “For The  People Act” would have a large impact on Connecticut’s elections.

Recently there was a new Managers’ Amendment in the Senate, S1 https://www.rules. senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Klobuchar%20Substitute%20S1.pdf

We have reviewed the new version and are pleased to report that there are many improvements that would ease its impact on Connecticut election officials, yet the impact remains significant.

Among the changes:

  • It now leaves a single day between early voting and election day and does not require early voting on election day. Still just a single day to print updated voting lists and load ePollbooks is very short – especially if there is a natural disaster or internet outage – just when you need those printed voter lists the most.
  • It now reduces the requirement for 20 days delay in results for accepting and curing absentee ballots to 10 days. Yet, that is not enough to save Connecticut from two elections, with two deadlines each even year, until we pass a Constitutional Amendment to conform state elections to federal election deadlines. Its complicated. Unfortunately the Elections Committee apparently did not get the urgency in my testimony.
  • It also removed the requirement for absentee balloting signature checking.
  • For smaller jurisdictions it eased some of the requirements for Election Day Registration and early voting – it seems that these will help large-area, small-voter rural areas more that Connecticut small towns.
  • It postponed many of the deadlines and provided an option for a state to apply for exemptions for a few years in some cases.
  • It also eased impossible requirements for support of those with disabilities. Some are good, but removing grants for research are disappointing.
  • It also removed grants for Risk Limiting Audits, that is not bad since it made Risk Limiting Audits mandatory.
  • Overall it included many of the changes recommended by the State Audit Working Group, which I moderate. We held sessions with staffers of four Senators on the Rules and Administration committees: Senators Klobuchar, Merkley, Feinstein, and Padilla Embarrassingly, to me, Sen Blumenthal on the Administration Committee did not respond to calls to meet with his staff.

It would remain a huge scramble for the State to meet all the deadlines and for local registrars to double to quadruple (depending on size) their work and budgets for each election.

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