OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

http: //www. cga. ct. gov/ofa

sSB-55

AN ACT CONCERNING VOTER REGISTRATION, CERTAIN NOMINATING PROCEDURES, CAMPAIGN ACCOUNTABILITY, A VOTER GUIDE, PUSH POLLING AND ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 06 $

FY 07 $

Secretary of the State

GF - Cost

See Below

See Below

Elect. Enforcement Com.

GF - Cost

Minimal

Minimal

Elect. Enforcement Com.

GF - Revenue Gain

Potential Minimal

Potential Minimal

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 06 $

FY 07 $

All Municipalities

STATE MANDATE - Cost

See Below

See Below

Explanation

The bill requires that the Secretary of the State (SOTS), in consultation with registrars of voters, provide or arrange for voter registration services at naturalization ceremonies for 25 or more new citizens. There are 3 naturalization ceremonies a month, held on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Friday in Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport respectively. This will not result in any cost to the state.

The bill expands the attribution law to include written web-based campaign communications by requiring the identity of the person who approved it be included. It is anticipated that the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) will require additional Other Expense funds of less than $5,000 for revised publications, postage and other related costs. There will be a workload increase related to educating and advising candidates, political and party committees of the new expanded requirements of the attribution law. This additional workload can be handled within agency resources. An indeterminate number of new complaints filed with the SEEC is anticipated, which will generate a potential minimal revenue gain from the penalties assessed for noncompliance.

This bill requires the SOTS, in consultation with the SEEC, to prepare and publish on the Internet a voter guide for each state election. The SOTS is not expected to incur costs to develop the Internet voter guide until FY 07, as the voter guide does not need to be completed until October 1, 2006. The SOTS will incur a workload increase and minimal costs in FY 07 to develop and host the Internet voter guide on its website. This is not expected to have a fiscal impact on the SEEC.

The bill requires the SEEC to conduct a study of push polling in Connecticut campaigns and by February 1, 2006 submit a report to the GAE committee on its findings, conclusions, and any recommended legislation. The additional workload and minimal printing and postage costs related to the survey can be handled within agency resources.

The bill also requires that direct recording electronic voting machines (DREs) approved by the SOTS for an election or primary held on or after July 1, 2005 meet minimum standards. Each DRE must produce an individual, permanent, voter-verifiable paper trail. It must permit voters to verify their ballot selections, and hear, if desired, an audio description of their ballot, and make corrections before casting the ballot. Individuals with disabilities, including the blind and visually impaired, must be provided the same accessibility to voting while maintaining voter privacy and ballot confidentiality. The ballot is considered cast on the DRE when the elector’s paper record is deposited into a storage receptacle and the vote is simultaneously electronically recorded inside the voting machine.

If the DREs are compliant with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), there will be no fiscal impact to the state. The SOTS states that these DREs aren’t fully compliant with the HAVA. The bill requires that the voter verified paper receipt be used as the official record in any recount. HAVA requires that any voting machine and component thereof that is used to count or record official ballots must be fully accessible. If the paper receipt is used as the official ballot, then the blind can’t verify that the ballot reflects their voting intent, even if the machine gives an audio description. The SOTS believes that this segment of the DRE will not be compliant with HAVA and therefore federal funds cannot be used to purchase the printing portion of the machines. The printing piece of the machines is estimated to cost $1 million.

The bill requires a manual audit of at least one randomly selected DRE per voting district. The audit must take place within five days of each election or primary. The registrars of voters or their designees representing at least two political parties are to conduct the audit. Depending upon the number of voting districts in the municipality, hourly employees may need to be compensated to conduct the audit.