Government Administration and Elections Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5278

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING MANDATORY REGISTRAR OF VOTER SESSIONS.

Vote Date:

3/14/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/3/2014

File No.:

244

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Government Administration and Elections Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill would make voting in Connecticut more efficient by eliminating two of the three mandatory voter registration sessions. Under the proposed legislation, municipalities would retain the mandatory voter registration session on the 14th day prior to a primary, and remove the sessions that take place on the Saturday of the third week before Election Day, and the seventh day before Election Day. Currently attendance is poor on all three dates, costing municipalities' unnecessary time and resources. This bill would help resolve this issue while maintaining an opportunity for voters to register in advance of an election.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

The substitute language of HB 5278 changes the date of Connecticut's remaining voter registration day from the 14th day before a primary to the seventh day before a general election.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State:

Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, testified in support of HB 5278, but with a small change; she would like the committee to leave in place the mandatory session seven days prior to the General Election. This is the absolute last day to register in advance and would give everyone a fair chance to make it. Although Election Day registration is an important new policy for our state, it can't be fully relied on or this day will result in more staffing and long lines, making it necessary to maintain an established voter registration session. Secretary Merrill's concerns were addressed in the substitute language.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Clark Chapin, Senator: Senator Chapin testified in support of HB 5278. He has spoken with constituent's who attest that these sessions are poorly attended and seem to be unused. With registration in Connecticut becoming easier for the public elsewhere, these days are unnecessary.

Mike Muszynski, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM):

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities supports HB 5278 as they believe it would provide mandate relief to local officials and eliminate the need for registrars be required to plan, organize and administer these events.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Submitted

Reported by: Kelly Pinkham

3/20/14