Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 550

    February Session, 2016

Substitute Senate Bill No. 253

Senate, April 7, 2016

The Committee on Government Administration and Elections reported through SEN. CASSANO, S. of the 4th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING POLLING PLACES FOR PRIMARIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 9-438 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

[In] (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this section, in each municipality or voting district, the polling place or places for [primaries] a primary held under sections 9-382 to 9-450, inclusive, shall be the same as those used for the election to be held.

(b) (1) The number of polling places required under subsection (a) of this section may be reduced by the registrars of voters of a municipality in accordance with this subsection.

(2) If the registrars of voters of any such municipality agree to reduce the number of polling places, the registrars of voters shall, not later than sixty days prior to a primary held under sections 9-382 to 9-450, inclusive, designate the polling place or places for such primary. Such polling place or places may be the same as or different than the polling places used for the election to be held.

(3) Not earlier than sixty days, but not later than forty-five days, prior to such primary, the registrars of voters of any such municipality shall notify the Secretary of the State and the candidates seeking nomination to an office in such primary of the change in the polling place or places. If a candidate petitions for nomination to an office after the registrars of voters have notified candidates of such change, the registrars of voters shall immediately notify the petitioning candidate of such change. If any candidate objects to a change in the polling place or places, the candidate shall notify the Secretary of such objection not later than four o'clock p.m. on the thirtieth day prior to the primary. Such notification from the candidate shall be in the form of a written letter, signed by the candidate, and shall be held confidential by the Secretary. The Secretary shall promptly notify such registrars of voters and each candidate seeking nomination to an office in such primary that the Secretary has received a letter of objection. Such notification shall not identify the candidate who objected. If such a candidate so objects, the polling place or places shall be the same as those used for the election to be held.

(4) Not later than twenty-five days prior to such primary, the registrars of voters of any such municipality shall send notification of the polling place for the primary, by mail, to each elector whose polling place for the primary will be different than the elector's polling place for the election. The registrars of voters shall not be required to so notify an elector for any subsequent primary if the primary polling place for such elector remains the same as that provided in the initial notification.

(5) If any polling place that would otherwise be open pursuant to subsection (a) of this section is closed for a primary pursuant to this subsection, the registrars of voters of any such municipality shall ensure that a sign is posted at such polling place providing electors with information to redirect such electors to the open polling place or places for the primary.

(6) Notwithstanding any provision of this title or title 7, any special act, charter or ordinance, if the number of polling places for a primary is reduced pursuant to this subsection, the number of moderators required for such primary may be reduced, if the registrars of voters of such municipality so agree, provided at least one certified moderator serves each polling place.

(c) When unaffiliated electors are authorized under section 9-431 to vote in the primary of [either of two parties, both] any one of multiple parties, all such parties shall hold their primaries in the same room of each [such] polling place. On the day of the primary, the polls shall remain open for voting from six o'clock a.m. until eight o'clock p.m.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

9-438

GAE

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 17 $

FY 18 $

Various Municipalities

Potential Savings

Less than 25,000

Less than 25,000

Explanation

The bill allows municipal registrars of voters to reduce the number of polling places during a primary. To the extent that municipalities are able to reduce the number of polling places during a primary, they will realize a savings. Municipal savings from such closures are anticipated to be less than $25,000. The amount of savings realized by municipalities will be dependent upon the number of polling places closed and municipal costs to operate polling places.

The savings realized by municipalities would be partially offset by requirements that registrars of voters provide notification to voters affected by polling place closures.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

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:

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)

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