The first major voting is taking place today in Bridgeport since the ballot shortage situation which occurred last November, significantly affecting the counting of the gubernatorial election, which was extremely close and caused an extension of the voting day in Bridgeport that day. Bridgeport had run out of ballots early in the day, in part due to excitement generated by an appearance by President Barack Obama at Bridgeport’s Arena at Harbor Yard the Saturday before the election. New election laws were passed by the General Assembly and signed by the winner of the gubernatorial election, Dan Malloy, and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is charged with enforcing the new laws and the chief elections officer for the state, as well as the prime impetus for the changes in the laws. These changes give the SOTS office more supervisory authority, and in conjunction with today’s Democratic primary in Bridgeport, including Mayor, she released this statement this morning announcing the opening of polls and the supervision her office will provide for today’s balloting.
– Press Release –
Merrill: Polls are Open in Bridgeport for Democratic Municipal Primary, Go and Vote!
Polls Open until 8:00 p.m., Secretary of the State’s Designees To Review Election Law Compliance at Bridgeport Polling Places
Hartford: Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced that as of 6:00 a.m. today, polls are open in Bridgeport for registered Democrats to cast ballots in the city’s municipal primary. Polls will be open until 8:00 p.m. tonight. Pursuant to new statutory authority granted her office under Connecticut Public Act 11-46, designees from her office will be entering polling places at random during polling hours for the purpose of reviewing each polling place [and recanvass] for compliance with state and federal law. Pursuant to the statute, designated representatives from the Secretary of the State’s office will present identification to moderators in charge of each Bridgeport polling place, but enter polling locations unannounced. Twenty-one Connecticut municipalities held municipal primaries on Tuesday September 13th but primary voting in Bridgeport was delayed to September 27th due to a court order.
“The polls are now open so I encourage every registered Democrat in Bridgeport to cast a ballot today in this very important and election that will have a big impact on the future of our state’s largest city,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections officer. “Highly qualified designees from my office are in Bridgeport today to ensure the integrity of our election process and compliance with state election laws and we will have eyes and ears on the ground in every polling place in the city. I also want to encourage anyone who encounters problems at the polls to call our election hotline or email us with concerns, and we will be there to help.”
Secretary Merrill and the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) are once again opening the Election Day hotline 1-866-SEEC-INFO (1-866-733-2463) to report problems at the polls. In addition, the two agencies are providing an email alert contact – firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com> – for voters to use if they encounter any difficulties casting ballots on Primary Day. Both the hotline and the email alert will be checked throughout the day by staff from both agencies.
Voters who do use the hotline or email to describe problems can either state their name or report issues anonymously; but are asked to state the town and polling place where they are observing the problems, and provide as many specifics or details as they can. This would greatly assist SEEC or Secretary of the State’s staff to address the issue and find a solution as expeditiously as possible. In addition to the email and telephone hotline, the Secretary of the State’s office and staff from the SEEC will hold three separate conference calls during the day on Tuesday to share information about potential problems or complaints at the polls, and coordinate the appropriate responses to those.
Public At No. 11-46 also states in Section 4, Subsection C: “The Secretary of the State shall have the authority to disqualify any moderator appointed by the registrars of voters if, after consultation with both registrars of voters, the Secretary determines such moderator has committed material misconduct, material neglect of duty or material incompetence in the discharge of his or her duties as a moderator. If the Secretary disqualifies a moderator, the Secretary shall share his or her findings upon which the disqualification was based with the registrars of voters.”
Secretary Merrill has informed the Registrars of Voters in Bridgeport regarding plans to have designees enter city polling places today and also instructed the Registrars to have backup certified moderators available in the unlikely event that the authority to remove a moderator at the polling place would need to be used. Secretary Merrill will be in constant contact with her designees monitoring polling in Bridgeport during the day.
Voters can go to the Secretary of the State’s website www.sots.ct.gov