OLR BILL ANALYSIS

HB 5022

AN ACT INCREASING PENALTIES FOR VOTER INTIMIDATION AND INTERFERENCE.

SUMMARY:

This bill increases the maximum penalties for violating certain election laws related to influencing or intimidating voters, making them a class C or a D felony. By law, the penalty for a class C felony is a fine of up to $ 10,000, one to 10 years in prison, or both. The penalty for a class D felony is a fine of up to $ 5,000, one to five years imprisonment, or both. Current law designates a separate and lesser maximum penalty for each offense included in the bill, as Table 1 shows.

Table 1: Penalties Under Current Law and the Bill

Section

Crime

Penalty Under Current Law

Penalty Under the Bill

1

Circulating misleading instructions to any voter

A fine of up to $ 500, up to five years in prison, or both

Class D felony

2

Influencing or attempting to influence any voter to refrain from voting

A fine of up to $ 500 and three months to one year in prison

Class D felony

3

Threatening, forcing, or bribing a voter; suppressing or destroying any vote; miscounting any vote; or falsely or wrongfully announcing results

A fine of up to $ 1,000, up to one year in prison, or both

Class C felony

4

An employer who, within 60 days before an election, school district election, or municipal or school district meeting, attempts to influence, threatens, or later retaliates against an employee in connection with the election or meeting

A fine of between $ 100 and $ 500, six months to one year in prison, or both

Class D felony

5

Interfering with or attempting to determine another person's vote

Up to five years in prison

Class C felony

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

COMMITTEE ACTION

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

9

Nay

6

(03/12/2012)