Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 6370

Public Act No. 03-204

AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTION DAY VOTER REGISTRATION AND THE DUTIES OF REGISTRARS OF VOTERS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 9-17 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) For the purposes of this section, "primary day" means the day that a primary for state, district and municipal offices is being held in accordance with section 9-423, and "election day" means the day of each regular election. (1) The registrars of voters of each town shall hold sessions to examine the qualifications of electors and admit those found qualified on the dates and at the times set forth in this section. Such sessions shall be held on the following days during the hours indicated, except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection:

 

Day

Hours

 

    Fourteenth day

 
 

    before primary day ...................

any two hours between

   

5: 00 p. m. and 9: 00 p. m.

 

    Primary day.................................

6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

    Saturday of third week

 
 

    before election day . ...................

10: 00 a. m. to 2: 00 p. m.

 

    Fourteenth day

 
 

    before election day . ...................

9: 00 a. m. to 8: 00 p. m.

 

Election day.................................

6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The session of the registrars of voters on the fourteenth day before election day shall be the last regular session for the admission of electors prior to an election, as defined in subsection (y) of section 9-1. (2) No town having a population of less than twenty-five thousand persons shall be required to hold sessions for admission of electors on the fourteenth day before primary day. (3) The sessions on primary day and election day shall be held in accordance with the provisions of section 2 of this act.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), the registrars of voters shall hold a limited session on the last week day before each regular election from nine o'clock a. m. to twelve o'clock noon for the purpose of admitting only those persons whose qualifications as to age, citizenship or residence in the municipality were attained after the last session for the admission of electors prior to an election. The registrars shall enter the names of those electors admitted at such limited session on the proper list, with their residences by street and numbers, if any, before one o'clock p. m. of such last week day before the election.

(c) In addition to the sessions held pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the registrars of voters in each town shall hold one session each year, between the first of January and the last day of the school year, at each public high school in such town, for the admission of persons who are eligible for admission under subsection (a) or (b) of section 9-12, provided, in the case of a public high school in a regional school district, such session shall be held on a rotating basis by the registrars of voters for each town which is a member of the regional school district. The registrars of voters need not give notice of this session by publication in a newspaper.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The registrars of voters shall examine the qualifications of electors at the session held on the day that a primary for state, district and municipal offices is being held in accordance with section 9-423 of the general statutes or the day of a regular election, pursuant to section 9-17 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, or on the day that a presidential preference primary is held under section 9-464 of the general statutes, and admit those found qualified in accordance with the provisions of section 9-20 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, except that:

(1) Each applicant for admission shall present to the registrars a preprinted form of identification that shows the applicant's name and residence within the municipality in which the applicant is applying. If the applicant does not have a preprinted form of identification that includes a photograph of the applicant, the registrars shall provide for a photograph of the applicant to be taken;

(2) (A) In addition to the application for admission as an elector submitted to the registrars of voters, the applicant shall also submit a statement substantially as follows, which the applicant shall sign under oath or affirmation:

I swear or affirm that:

1. I meet the eligibility requirements to be an elector as indicated on today's application for admission as an elector;

2. I have not registered or voted this day in any other election jurisdiction; and

3. I have read and understand the Warning Notice below to mean that I can be convicted of perjury and imprisoned for not more than five years or be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both, if I sign this statement knowing it to be false.

.... Signature .... Date

Warning Notice: If you sign this statement not believing it to be true, you can be convicted of perjury and imprisoned for not more than five years or be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

(B) All statements of the applicant shall be made under the penalties of perjury pursuant to section 53a-156 of the general statutes. Any applicant shall be guilty of perjury if the applicant intentionally makes a false statement, under oath or affirmation, of a fact that the applicant does not believe to be true;

(3) If the registrars admit the applicant as an elector, the registrars shall give the elector a notice of acceptance, on a form as prescribed by the Secretary of the State, that indicates the elector's voting district and polling place. The registrars shall attach to such notice a copy of the identification presented by the elector and any such photograph taken of the elector. The registrar shall affix a permanent seal and signature to the notice and such copies. The elector shall present such notice and copies at the polling place to confirm the elector's eligibility to vote;

(4) The assistant registrars at a polling place shall add to the supplementary list the name of each elector who presents a notice of acceptance and copies of identification pursuant to subdivision (3) of this section. The assistant registrars shall place the letters "ED" next to the name of each such elector;

(5) If the registrars admit an applicant as an elector, the registrars shall also attach a copy of the identification presented by the applicant to the elector's registration card until the registrars mail a confirmation of the elector's admission to the elector's residential address and sufficient time passes to ensure delivery of the confirmation by the United States Postal Service; and

(6) If the registrars admit an applicant as an elector and, upon subsequent investigation in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, P. L. 103-31, cannot validate the applicant, the registrars shall place the name of the applicant on the inactive registry list and forward such name to the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Secretary of the State, in cooperation with the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut, shall train persons to train registrars of voters concerning the provisions of section 9-17 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, and section 2 of this act. After receiving such training, registrars of voters shall train their deputies and assistants and other election officials concerning said provisions.

Sec. 4. Section 9-158a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

As used in sections 9-139c, 9-140b, 9-158a to 9-158m, inclusive, and 9-307:

(1) "Federal election" means any general or special election or any primary held solely or in part for the purpose of selecting, nominating or electing any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, member of the United States Senate or member of the United States House of Representatives;

(2) "Former resident" means a person who was a bona fide resident of a town in this state and who has [removed] moved from that town to another state less than thirty days before the day of a presidential election and who for that reason is unable to register to vote in the election in [his] said person's present [town or] state of residence;

(3) "Overseas elector" means any person permitted to vote pursuant to subsection (b) of section 9-158b;

(4) "Presidential election" means an election at which electors of President and Vice-President are elected;

(5) "Resident" means a bona fide resident of a town in this state;

(6) "State" includes any of the several states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands; and

(7) "United States" includes the several states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands, but does not include American Samoa, The Canal Zone, the trust territory of the Pacific Islands or any other territory or possession of the United States.

Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 9-158b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Each citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age, is a [resident or] former resident and [who] has not forfeited [his] said citizen's electoral privileges because of a disfranchising crime, may vote for presidential and vice-presidential electors, but for no other offices, in the town in this state in which [he resides, or] said citizen formerly resided in the manner provided in sections 9-158c to 9-158m, inclusive, as amended by this act.

Sec. 6. Subsection (a) of section 9-158c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Not earlier than forty-five days before the election and not later than the close of the polls on election day, each [resident, or] former resident who desires to vote in a presidential election under sections 9-158a to 9-158m, inclusive, as amended by this act, may apply for a "presidential ballot" to the municipal clerk of the town in which [he] said former resident is qualified to vote on the form prescribed in section 9-158d, as amended by this act. Application for a "presidential ballot" may be made in person or absentee, in the manner provided for applying for an absentee ballot under section 9-140, except as provided in said sections 9-158a to 9-158m, inclusive, as amended by this act.

Sec. 7. Subsection (a) of section 9-158d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The application for a presidential ballot shall be a form signed in duplicate by the applicant under penalty of false statement in absentee balloting, which shall provide substantially as follows:

To the Town Clerk of the Town of . . . . , Connecticut

I, the undersigned, declare under penalty of false statement in absentee balloting that the following statements are true:

1. I am a citizen of the United States.

2. I have not forfeited my electoral privileges because of conviction of a disfranchising crime.

3. I was born on . . . . , and on the day of the next presidential election, I shall be at least 18 years of age. [Check and complete 4 or 5, whichever applies: ]

[4. RESIDENT. I am a bona fide resident of the above town, to which I am making this application, and I reside at . . . . Street. I moved to said town on the . . . . day of . . . . , 20. . . Before becoming a resident of said town, I resided at . . . . Street, in the Town of . . . . County of . . . . , State of . . . . ]

[5. ] 4. FORMER RESIDENT. I am a former resident of the above town, to which I am making this application, and resided at . . . . Street therein. I moved from such town to my present town of residence on the . . . . day of . . . . , 20. . , being within thirty days before the date of the next presidential election, and for that reason I cannot register to vote in said presidential election in my present town of residence. I am now a bona fide resident of the Town of . . . . , in the state of . . . . , now residing at . . . . Street therein.

[6. ] 5. I hereby apply for a "presidential ballot" for the election to be held on . . . . , 20. . . I have not voted and will not vote otherwise than by this ballot at that election. I am not eligible to vote for electors of President and Vice-President [in any other town in Connecticut or] in any other state.

[7. ] 6. The said ballot is to be given to me personally mailed to me at

. . . . (bona fide mailing address)

Dated at . . . . , this . . . . day of . . . . 20. . .

Sec. 8. Subsection (a) of section 9-158e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Upon receipt of an application for a presidential ballot under sections 9-158a to 9-158m, inclusive, as amended by this act, the clerk, if satisfied that the application is proper and that the applicant is qualified to vote under said sections, shall forthwith give or mail to the applicant, as the case may be, a ballot for presidential and vice-presidential electors for use at the election and instructions and envelopes for its return. At such time the clerks shall also mail a duplicate of the application to the appropriate official of [(1) the state or the town in this state in which the applicant last resided in the case of an applicant who is a resident, or (2)] the state [or the town in this state] in which the applicant now resides. [in the case of an applicant who is a former resident. ]

Sec. 9. Section 9-158j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

Upon receipt of an application for a "Presidential Ballot" or "Overseas Ballot" the town clerk shall forthwith notify the registrars of voters of the applicant's name, with a notation designating [him] the applicant as a person voting for presidential and vice-presidential electors or federal offices only. If the name of a presidential voter [who is a former resident] appears on the registry list, the registrars shall insert the letters "pf" in the margin preceding [his] the voter's name. The registrars shall prepare a list of names and addresses of presidential voters and overseas electors whose names do not appear on the registry list, for each voting district, which list shall accompany the check list to be used at such election in such district. The registrars shall insert the letters "pf" in the margin of such list of presidential voters preceding the name of each applicant. [who is a former resident. ]

Sec. 10. Section 9-158k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

The municipal clerk shall file each duplicate application or other official information received by [him] such clerk from another state, [or from another town in this state,] indicating that a person who formerly resided [or presently resides] in such town has made application to vote at a presidential election in such other state, [or town,] and shall maintain an alphabetical index of such information for a period of one hundred eighty days after the election. The clerk shall compare each such application or statement of information with applications made under the provisions of sections 9-158a to 9-158m, inclusive, as amended by this act, and, after the election, with the names checked off as having voted on the check list for the election, to ascertain that any such person has not voted more than once. Whenever the record indicates that any person has applied for a presidential ballot and indicated in [his] such person's application that [he] such person is applying as a former resident, and there is record evidence that such person has applied in another state [or town] as a new resident, the applicant's ballot shall not be cast in [his] such person's former town of residence.

Sec. 11. Section 9-1 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

Except as otherwise provided, the following terms, as used in this title and sections 3-124, 7-5, 7-6, 7-7, 7-17, 7-20, 7-39, 7-157, 7-214, 7-275, 7-295, 7-343, 7-407, 8-1, 8-5, 8-19, 10-219, 11-36, 13a-11, 30-10, 30-11, 45a-18, 45a-19 and 51-95 shall have the following meanings:

(a) "Ballot label" means that portion of cardboard, paper or other material placed on the front of the voting machine, containing the names of the candidates or a statement of a proposed constitutional amendment or other question or proposition to be voted on;

(b) "Board for admission of electors" means the board as composed under subsection (a) of section 9-15a;

(c) "Clerical error" means any error in the registry list or enrollment list due to a mistake or an omission on the part of the printer or a mistake or omission made by the registrars or their assistants;

(d) "Election" means any electors' meeting at which the electors choose public officials by use of voting machines or by paper ballots as provided in sections 9-271 and 9-272;

(e) "Elector" means any person possessing the qualifications prescribed by the Constitution and duly admitted to, and entitled to exercise, the privileges of an elector in a town;

(f) Repealed by P. A. 77-298, S. 14;

(g) "Municipal clerk" means the clerk of a municipality;

(h) "Municipal election" means the regularly recurring election held in a municipality at which the electors of the municipality choose public officials of such municipality;

(i) "Municipality" means any city, borough or town within the state;

(j) "Official ballot" means the official ballot label to be used at an election, or the official paper ballot to be used thereat in accordance with the provisions of sections 9-271 and 9-272;

(k) "Population" means the population according to the last-completed United States census;

(l) "Presidential electors" means persons elected to cast their ballots for President and Vice President of the United States;

(m) "Print" means methods of duplication of words by mechanical process, but shall not include typewriting;

(n) "Referendum" means (1) a question or proposal which is submitted to a vote of the electors or voters of a municipality at any regular or special state or municipal election, as defined in this section, (2) a question or proposal which is submitted to a vote of the electors or voters, as the case may be, of a municipality at a meeting of such electors or voters, which meeting is not an election, as defined in subsection (d) of this section, and is not a town meeting, or (3) a question or proposal which is submitted to a vote of the electors or voters, as the case may be, of a municipality at a meeting of such electors or voters pursuant to section 7-7 or pursuant to charter or special act;

(o) "Regular election" means any state or municipal election;

(p) "Registrars" means the registrars of voters of the municipality, who shall be the administrators of elections held in the municipality;

(q) "Registry list" means the list of electors of any municipality certified by the registrars;

(r) "Special election" means any election not a regular election;

(s) "State election" means the election held in the state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the even-numbered years in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of Connecticut;

(t) "State officers" means the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the State, Treasurer, Comptroller and Attorney General;

(u) "Voter" means a person qualified to vote at town and district meetings under the provisions of section 7-6;

(v) "Voting district" means any municipality, or any political subdivision thereof, having not more than one polling place in a regular election;

(w) "Voting machine" means a machine, including but not limited to, a device which operates by electronic means, for the registering and recording of votes cast at elections, primaries and referenda;

(x) "Write-in ballot" means a vote cast for any person whose name does not appear on the official ballot as a candidate for the office for which his name is written in;

(y) "The last session for admission of electors prior to an election" means the day which is the fourteenth day prior to an election.

Sec. 12. Section 9-23 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) [In towns which do not have full-time registrars of voters with regular office hours, the] The registrars of voters shall post, at the town hall or municipal building in the town in which they serve, the hours they are available to the public.

(b) The registrars shall enter the name, residence, [place and] date of birth and date of admission of each person admitted as an elector [shall be entered by the town clerk] in the records of [such town] the registrars' office, which shall be prima facie evidence that each such person possesses the requisite qualifications of an elector. [In towns which do have full-time registrars of voters with regular office hours, such registrars] The registrars shall also enter such voter information in the state-wide centralized voter registration system and shall maintain such voter information for active electors in a fire-proof cabinet in the registrars' office. The registrars shall file monthly in the office of the town clerk [a record of each person admitted as an elector, bearing the name, residence, place and date of birth and date of admission of such person. For purposes of this section, full-time registrars of voters include those registrars whose offices maintain daily office hours] an updated list of active electors in the town.

[(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply in towns whose registrars maintain all applications for admission as an elector on file as permanent records, in manual files or on microfilm, pursuant to a retention schedule approved by the Public Records Administrator, or maintain an inactive elector file as a permanent record, by means of electronic data processing, pursuant to a retention schedule approved by the Public Records Administrator. ]

Sec. 13. Section 9-23a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section and section 2 of this act, no person admitted as an elector after twelve o'clock noon on the last business day before a primary shall be permitted to vote in such primary.

(b) An applicant for admission or enrollment under section 9-26 shall be entitled to vote in a primary if he files his application for admission or enrollment with the town clerk before the day of the primary and is otherwise eligible to vote in the primary.

Sec. 14. Subsection (b) of section 9-23g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(b) The Secretary of the State shall prescribe, and provide to registrars of voters, town clerks and voter registration agencies, as defined in section 9-23n, application forms and other materials necessary to complete such application and admission process. The Secretary of the State, registrars of voters and town clerks shall provide a reasonable number of such forms and materials to any elector who requests such forms and materials. The secretary shall also, in the course of the secretary's elections duties, prepare instructions and related materials describing procedures for such application and admission process and shall provide the materials to registrars of voters and town clerks. The application shall contain the information required under section 9-23h. All statements of the applicant shall be made under the penalties of perjury. The application for admission as an elector shall include a statement that (1) specifies each eligibility requirement, (2) contains an attestation that the application meets each such requirement, and (3) requires the signature of the applicant under penalty of perjury. Nothing in this section or section 9-23h shall require that the application be executed in the state. An applicant who is unable to write may cause the applicant's name to be signed on the application form by an authorized agent who shall, in the space provided for the signature, write the name of the applicant followed by the word "by" and the agent's own signature. The completed application may be mailed or returned in person to the office of the registrars of voters or the office of the town clerk of the applicant's town of residence or a voter registration agency. If the applicant entrusts the applicant's application to another person or to such a voter registration agency for mailing or return to the registrars of voters, such person or agency shall immediately mail or return the application. Any such person who returns the application for the applicant between the twenty-eighth day and the fourteenth day, inclusive, before an election shall print such person's name, residential address and telephone number and sign a statement indicating that such person is returning the application for the applicant. Any such voter registration agency shall also provide the applicant with an application receipt, on which the agency shall record the date that the agency received the application, using an official date stamp bearing the name of the agency. The agency shall provide such receipt whether the application was submitted in person or by mail. The town clerk shall promptly forward any application which the town clerk receives to the registrars of voters. Such application form shall be provided by or authorized by the Secretary of the State.

Sec. 15. (Effective from passage) (a) Not later than February 1, 2004, the Secretary of the State, in consultation with the State Elections Enforcement Commission and registrars of voters, shall submit a report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to elections on the implementation of the provisions of section 2 of this act.

(b) Said report shall include, but not be limited to: (1) A review and assessment of said sections with regard to the elections held in November, 2003, including (A) the implementation of the new voter identification requirements, (B) the experience of voters and election officials at polling places and voter registration sites, the length of the lines at polling places and voter registration sites and the ability of registrars of voters, moderators and election officials to implement the new voter registration procedures, (C) a summary of the number of voters participating in the elections, the number of individuals utilizing the election day registration option, and the number of people experiencing delays or difficulty in complying with new voter identification procedures, and (D) other issues pertinent to the conduct of the elections, and (2) recommendations for administrative changes or amendments to said sections to address issues raised by the report.

(c) Not later than December 31, 2003, registrars of voters shall submit to the Secretary of the State any information required by the Secretary for the completion of the report in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.

Vetoed July 9, 2003