Special Session Election Bill – Safe and Reasonable

Last week the General Assembly passed and the Governor signed a bill to help deal with a flood of mail-in ballots with a special kicker for Bridgeport <read>

Our summary, its good, it could have been better, or a lot lot worse.

The Good

  • It provides an Election Monitor for Bridgeport. Bridgeport needs one for every election an primary, not just this election. My experience is that officials in Bridgeport generally know what they are doing. But the result often looks suspicious with many absentee ballot hi-jinks. The last time they had a monitor it resulted in the cancelling and rerunning of a primary. The question is, who will be that monitor and will they be up to the task?
  • It will provide two to three days extra time for clerks and registrars to do the per-election and some of the post-election work so that ballots can be counted more quickly after the election.
  • More time and more timely are good things. It will make all the work more orderly, efficient and accurate, while better satisfying the unfortunate demand for quick results.
  • In our opinion, it is realistic, complies with the spirit of existing law, and it does not compromise security in any significant way.

It Could Have Been Better

  • Realistically it only gives the registrars two additional weekend days to work a temporary staff that will be working full-out the next three or four days during the week. It gives the Clerk extra time to prepare for the work of the Registrars’ staff.
  • It requires that withdrawing a mail-in vote to instead vote at the polls be done by Friday at 5::00pm. It could have been done otherwise.
  • We would allow Clerks to organize ballot packets by district, street, and number as they come in. Not starting at some particular date. We have no idea why not, in any electon.
  • We would allow opening the outer envelopes starting the Monday, eight days before the election, hopefully avoiding much of the weekend work.
  • We would not separate inner and outer envelopes,thus delaying the withdrawal deadline. Its hardly a burden to take the inner out of the outer on election day.
  • We might have considered allowing, closely supervised, the unsealing of the inner envelope starting on the weekend.
  • We would have ordered much tighter security on ballot packages from receipt in the mail room for ballot box. We have been proposing that to the General Assembly for years.
  • We need monitors in New Haven and Hartford too. Both tend toward Election Day Registration disasters. New Haven has problem counting ballots on time, and we are not confident their officials are up to meeting the demands of the rush of mail-in ballots.

It Could Have Been A Lot Lot Worse

  • There were calls for scanning ballots before election day – other states do that, but it requires detailed procedures and stepped up security to accomplish safely.
  • There were calls for signature curing. That is calling, emailing, or mailing voters if their signature or packed would be rejected. That is all but impossible and likely a civil rights violation, unless almost all of the laws and deadlines for certification were changed. Other states that do that have taken years to claim to have perfected it. Its why one one of those states, CA too 51 days to count the primary – if they do that in Nov, their entire electoral votes may be disqualified.
  • There were calls  for  curing of ballots rejected by scanners. NO STATE DOES THAT. IT WOULD ALSO VIOLATE THE SECRET BALLOT requirement of the Connecticut Constitution.



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