OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 253

AN ACT CONCERNING POLLING PLACES FOR PRIMARIES.

SUMMARY:

This bill authorizes registrars of voters to reduce the number of polling places for a primary, the location of which may be the same or different than for the corresponding election. However, if any candidate objects to the reduction, the bill requires the polling places to remain the same. Current law requires that towns use the same polling places for a primary as they use for the election.

If registrars reduce the number of primary polling places under the bill, they may similarly agree to reduce the number of moderators, provided there is at least one certified moderator per polling place. They must also ensure that a sign is posted at a closed primary polling place providing electors with information directing them to the correct polling place.

The bill also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

PROCEDURES FOR PRIMARY POLLING PLACE REDUCTION

The bill establishes procedures and a timeframe for reducing the number of primary polling places. Specifically:

1. at least 60 days before every primary, registrars of voters must designate the polling place or places, which may be fewer in number than will be used at the upcoming election;

2. between 45 and 60 days before the primary, registrars must notify the secretary of the state and candidates of any change in polling places;

3. registrars must immediately notify any petitioning candidate of the change if he or she becomes eligible for ballot access after other candidates have received the notification;

4. by 4:00 p.m. on the 30th day before the primary, a candidate who objects to the change must notify the secretary of the state in writing (the secretary must keep the objection confidential);

5. the secretary must promptly notify the registrars and all other candidates in the primary of the objection, in which case the polling places remain the same as for the corresponding election; and

6. if there is no objection, no later than 25 days before the primary, the registrars must notify by mail each elector whose polling place has changed.

If a primary polling place changes and the affected electors receive notification, the registrars of voters do not have to notify the electors for any subsequent primary as long as the polling location remains the same.

Lastly, the bill specifies that if more than one political party's state rules authorize unaffiliated electors to vote in their primaries, the primaries must be held in the same room of the polling place. Current Republican and Democratic state party rules do not allow unaffiliated electors to participate in their primaries.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

13

Nay

2

(03/18/2016)