Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5503

Public Act No. 04-113

AN ACT CONCERNING REGISTRARS OF VOTERS AND THE REPAIR OF VOTING MACHINES ON ELECTION DAY.

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

Section 1. Section 9-23 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

(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. Any change in the regular business hours of the office of the registrars of voters, and any hours for said office required under the general statutes for a specific day, shall be posted at least ten days before such change or day.

(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. 2. Subsection (b) of section 9-23g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2005):

(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, as amended. 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, as amended, 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 voter registration agency shall also provide the applicant with an application receipt, on which the agency shall record (A) the date that the agency received the application, using an official date stamp bearing the name of the agency, and (B) the party affiliation, if any, of the applicant. 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. 3. Section 9-168b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

When in the written opinion of the registrars of any municipality, the lack of an existing convenient or suitable polling place within the lines of a particular voting district necessitates the designation of a polling place in an adjacent district, such registrars may designate a convenient and suitable polling place in a voting district adjacent thereto, located as near as possible to the boundaries of the voting district for which designated. A separate location from the existing polling place for such adjacent district shall be designated, except that a separate room within such existing polling place may be designated. [with the approval of the legislative body of the municipality. ] Such written opinion and designation [, along with such approval if necessary,] shall be filed with the municipal clerk not later than ninety days before a regular election, or primary. Within ten days after such filing, the municipal clerk shall cause notice of such filing to be published in the newspaper having the greatest circulation in the town. Such designation shall remain in effect for future elections and primaries, until the registrars file a document with the municipal clerk stating that the designation of such polling place in an adjacent district is no longer necessary.

Sec. 4. Section 9-192 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

Each registrar of voters immediately after his election shall appoint a deputy registrar of voters to hold office during his pleasure and may, at any time, fill any vacancy in said office. He shall file with the town clerk a certificate of each such appointment and the town clerk shall record the certificate with the records of town meetings. Each deputy registrar of voters shall assist his principal when required, discharge his duties in his absence or inability to act and, in case of the death, removal or resignation of such principal, shall become registrar of voters and appoint a deputy, and shall file with the town clerk a certificate of such appointment, which shall be recorded with the records of town meetings. If a vacancy exists in the office of registrar of voters in consequence of a refusal or failure to accept the office or a failure of the registrar to appoint a deputy registrar, the town committee of the same political party as the registrar of voters who so refused, failed to accept or failed to appoint, or other appointing authority specified in local party rules shall fill such vacancy by the appointment of some suitable person, who shall belong to the same political party as the registrar of voters who so refused, failed to accept or failed to appoint. Each registrar of voters in any town may, [from time to time] as needed, appoint and employ not more than four [permanent assistants] assistant registrars of voters for each voting district therein, who shall serve at the pleasure of the registrar of voters and assist such registrar in the performance of his duties, and, for purposes of any admission session held pursuant to section 9-19b or subsection (a) of section 9-19c, as many special assistants as are necessary to carry out the duties of such session. Such registrar shall file with the town clerk a certificate of each such appointment, which shall be recorded with the records of the town, and shall appoint such other assistants as are necessary for the performance of duties required by sections 9-12 to 9-45, inclusive, as amended, on election day and the six days preceding. Unless otherwise provided by subsection (b) of section 9-19b, in the absence of either registrar of voters, his deputy or any of his assistants, except special assistants, shall have all the powers conferred, and may perform any of the duties imposed, upon such registrar by any of the provisions of the statutes. Each deputy, assistant or special assistant registrar shall be an elector of the municipality in which he is appointed. [, provided any person who has served as an assistant registrar of a municipality for three or more years may be an elector of any municipality in the state. ] Each deputy registrar shall also, at the time of his appointment and during the six months immediately preceding his appointment, be an enrolled member of the same party as the registrar who makes such appointment.

Sec. 5. Subsection (e) of section 9-437 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

(e) The names of candidates for town committee members which are contained in one primary petition shall be placed in a separate row, precedence as to row being given to the candidates whose names appear in petitions in the order determined in accordance with this subsection. Petitions filed by nine o'clock a. m. on the first business day following the day on which petitions become available shall be given precedence as to row based on the number of valid signatures filed, in descending order from the greatest to the least. Petitions filed after nine o'clock a. m. on the first business day following the day on which petitions become available shall be given precedence as to row based on the order in which they are filed, if such petitions are filed during the regular business hours of the office of the registrars of voters or during any different hours for said office required under the general statutes. Such order of precedence shall be determined separately for petitions proposing the full number of candidates which the party may choose at the primary and for petitions proposing fewer than such full number of candidates, and provided further that petitions proposing such full number of candidates shall have precedence as to row over petitions proposing fewer than such full number of candidates.

Sec. 6. Subsection (b) of section 9-246 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(b) The mechanic or mechanics shall file a written report detailing any repairs made to a machine on the day of an election. This report shall certify (1) the number of the machine, (2) the time when the problem occurred, [and] (3) a summary description of the work performed, and (4) that no repairs were made to the machine, after any vote was cast on the day of an election, that would affect the manner in which votes were recorded on the machine.

Sec. 7. Section 9-263 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

If any voting machine used in any voting district, during the time the polls are open, becomes damaged so as to render it inoperative in whole or in part, the moderator shall immediately give notice thereof to the registrars of voters under whose direction the machine was prepared under section 9-243 and such registrars, if possible, shall substitute a perfect machine for the damaged machine, and, at the close of the polls, the records of both machines shall be taken and the votes shown on their counters shall be added together in ascertaining and determining the result of the election. If no other machine is in use in the polling place such registrars shall immediately permit the use by the electors of emergency paper ballots provided by the municipal clerk to the moderator pursuant to section 9-259. Such ballots shall be received by the election officials and placed by them in a receptacle to be provided therefor and counted with the votes registered on the voting machine and the result declared in the same manner as if there had been no accident to the voting machine. The emergency paper ballot shall be an absentee ballot. Emergency paper ballots shall be cast in the following manner. The elector shall announce the elector's name to the checkers who shall cross the elector's name off the registry list and add it with the elector's address to the end of the official checklist where it shall be designated "Emergency Paper Ballot" or "EPB" and serially numbered. After the elector has so announced the elector's name, the moderator shall deliver to such elector an emergency paper ballot together with the serially numbered envelope. The elector shall forthwith mark the ballot in the presence of the moderator in such manner that the moderator shall not know how the ballot is marked. The elector shall then fold the ballot in the presence of the moderator so as to conceal the markings and deposit and seal it in the serially numbered envelope. The elector shall then deliver the envelope to the moderator who shall place it in a specially designated depository envelope. The emergency paper ballots thus received shall be counted at the next scheduled absentee ballot count in the same manner as other absentee ballots, provided no such ballot may be counted unless all provisions of this section have been complied with. Such ballots so counted shall be preserved by replacing them into the special depository envelopes along with a certificate signed by the moderator and registrars of voters setting forth the circumstances under which such emergency paper ballots were cast. Use of emergency paper ballots shall be discontinued immediately upon replacement or repair of at least one machine, provided no repair shall be made on a voting machine on which any vote was cast, unless such repair would not affect the manner in which votes are recorded on such machine, as provided in subsection (b) of section 9-246, as amended by this act.

Approved May 21, 2004