Government Administration and Elections Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5599

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING PROVISIONAL BALLOTS FOR STATE AND MUNICIPAL OFFICES.

Vote Date:

3/4/2013

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

1/28/2013

File No.:

35

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Government Administration and Elections Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill extends the use of provisional ballot for Federal Elections state and municipal elections. Provisional ballots would allow voters who are not on the voters list and voters whose registration is challenged to vote on Election Day.

The bill would eliminate the present system of challenge ballots that are only counted when the court orders it. Bill removes the moderator from submitting the ballots to the Town Clerk to submitting the ballots to the Registrar of Voters. The bill provides a voter assurance if a poll worker denies a ballot because of registration issues. The registrar of voters or designee shall offer such individual a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot will have 6 days to be accepted or rejected by the Registrar of Voters based on registration confirmation.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State of Connecticut – Supports extending the use of Provisional Ballots from Federal elections to state and municipal elections. Provisional Ballots allow an individual to vote when their registration is challenged. Using provisional ballots for federal elections has proved successful for many years. The provisional ballot simplifies the voting process while preserving an individual's right to challenge a voter's registration to protect against fraud.

She supports the elimination of challenge ballots stating that a combined state-federal-municipal provisional ballot serves as the same function, thereby eliminating an additional type of ballot.

Michael J. Brandi, Executive Director & General Counsel State Elections Enforcement Commission - Supports the provisional ballots, which will expand provisional ballots from federal elections to state and municipal elections. The provisional ballots will eliminate telling many voters on Election Day that they cannot vote due to registration issues.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Sue W. Larsen, Registrar of Voters – South Windsor, Chair, ROVAC Legislative Committee - Provisional ballots have proven successful in Federal Elections. Extending to state and municipal elections protects a voter's right to vote when there is a difference between voter's “claim and the official voter's list”. After the ballot is filled out, the registrar of voters has 6 days to determine if the ballot is accepted or rejected.

George F. Cody, Town of New Canaan, Registrars of Voters supports the expansion of provisional ballots to include state and municipal elections and transferring from the town clerk to the registrar of voters for the distribution of such ballots. He stated the provisional ballot bill has the support of Registrars.

Susan Voris, Election Laws Specialist, league of Women Voters of Connecticut – supports the expansion of provisional ballots from federal to state, municipal and primary elections. She said that provisional ballots are helpful to an elector when their name is accidently taken off the voters list. She supports the sort review time (6 days) to expedite election results.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Entered

Reported by: Cynthia Dunne

Date: 4/8/13