OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

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

SB-55

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

AMENDMENT

LCO No.: 6329

File Copy No.: 231

Senate Calendar No.: 213

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

Various Municipalities

STATE MANDATE - Reduces Cost in Bill

Explanation

This amendment strikes the language in the bill and the associated fiscal note. The amendment 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 amendment 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 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 are anticipated, which will generate a potential minimal revenue gain from the penalties assessed for noncompliance.

This amendment 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 amendment requires the SEEC to conduct a study of push polling in Connecticut campaigns and by February 1, 2006 submits 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 amendment 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.

The amendment allows the SOTS to approve a DRE for purchase that does not comply with the accessibility provision if she determines that at that time no DREs are available that comply; the DRE meets all of the other standards set forth in the bill; and the applicant contractually agrees that when the technology exists they will bring the machine into compliance.

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 amendment 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 amendment requires a manual audit of at least two randomly selected direct recording electronic machines per assembly district, which will reduce the potential costs in the bill to the municipalities for hourly employees, since less audits would be required.

The preceding Fiscal Impact statement is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for the purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either House thereof for any purpose.