REPORT ON BILLS FAVORABLY REPORTED BY COMMITTEE

COMMITTEE:

Government Administration and Elections Committee

File No.:

Bill No.:

SB-55

PH Date:

2/14/2005

Action/Date:

3/23/2005

Reference Change:

JF Substitute

TITLE OF BILL:

AN ACT PROMOTING VOTING SYSTEM ACCURACY, INTEGRITY AND SECURITY THROUGH VOTER-VERIFIED PAPER RECORDS.

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Subject Matter Included:

SB: 54, 416

HB: 5280, 5283, 5667, 6733, 6734

REASONS FOR BILL:

Requires the Secretary of the State (SOTS), together with registrars of voters and nonprofit organizations, to provide for voter registration services at each naturalization ceremony held for 25 or more new citizens and exempts from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act voter registration information of people who apply by mail to vote for the first time. The bill also changes dates for nominating procedures and increases campaign accountability by placing additional requirements on web-based, written, and audio and video media regarding “paid for by” and “approved by” messages. Finally, it requires the SOTS and the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to prepare and publish on the Internet a voter guide by October 1 of an election year in which a state election occurs, requires the SEEC to conduct a study of push polling in Connecticut campaigns and by February 1, 2006, submit a report the to Government Administration and Elections Committee containing its findings, conclusions, and any recommended legislation, and outlines machine operations and elections procedures when direct recording electronic voting machines (DRE) are used, including a voter-verifiable paper trail and assistance for voters with disabilities.

A comprehensive three page summary of the bill is also on file.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Richard Abbate, President, Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut

Jeffrey Garfield, State Elections Enforcement Committee

Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of the State of Connecticut

Fran Knipple and Jan Murtha, Registrars of Voters, Town of South Windsor

James McGaughey, Executive Director, Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons With Disabilities

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Kathryn Price, MSW Intern, Connecticut School of Social Work. Supports SB 54. “Naturalization ceremonies provide an excellent and timely opportunity to provide information and assistance to naturalized citizens so that they may participate in our democracy.”

Americo Santiago, Policy and Program Director, Democracy Works. Supports SB 54, 55 and HB 5667.

Fernando Betancourt, Executive Director, State of Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. Supports SB 54.

Andy Sauer, Executive Director, Common Cause. Supports SB 54, 55, 416, HB 5283 and 5667.

Richard Abbate, President, Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut. Supports SB 54 and 55.

Jeffrey Garfield, State Elections Enforcement Committee. Supports SB 54, 55, 416, HB 5283 and 5667.

Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of the State of Connecticut. Supports SB 54, 55, HB 5283, 5667, 6733 and 6734.

Eunice Kwanashie. Supports SB 54.

Fran Knipple and Jan Murtha, Registrars of Voters, Town of South Windsor. Support SB 55.

Phil Sherwood, Connecticut Citizen Action Group. Supports SB 55 and HB 5667.

George Barnett, CPA. Strongly supports SB 55. “Public auditors of major corporations require source documents to verify financial results and will not attest to the accuracy of financial statements without such documents.”

Christine Horrigan, Election Laws Specialist, League of Women Voters of Connecticut. Supports SB 55 and HB 5667.

Doctor Clark Allen. Supports SB 55.

Ralph Morelli, Professor of Computer Science, Trinity College. Strongly supports SB 55.

Willard Bunnell. Strongly supports SB 55.

Richard Sivel. Strongly supports SB 55.

Michael Fischer. Strongly supports SB 55.

Christina Spiesel. Supports SB 55.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Christopher Kuell. Opposes SB 55. “I believe SB 55 must include language that addresses audible voting for blind and disabled voters.”

Kachina Walsh-Weaver, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Unclear about SB 55. “…this bill is unclear as to its actual intention.

James McGaughey, Executive Director, Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons With Disabilities. Unclear about SB 55. “We respectfully request the addition of language that would require all Voter Verified Paper Records to be accessible to persons with disabilities.”

Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of the State of Connecticut. Opposes SB 416. “…the present language of the bill may come dangerously near to affecting the free speech of individuals as guaranteed under the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Lori J. Pelletier, Secretary-Treasurer, Connecticut AFL-CIO. Opposes SB 416. “We believe very strongly in the First Amendment rights of all citizens and that extends to pollsters.”

John Murphy, Connecticut Citizen Action Group. Opposes HB 6734. “In our opinion, RB 6734 goes back to creating another inequity in the election statutes by having one set of rules for the General Assembly one for Congress and Judge of Probate.”

 

Dale Walter

April 5, 2005

 

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