Sabina Kuriakose, Dan Lee
The Troubleshooters take on Hamden's Registrar of Voters after the Secretary of State reports some voters were barred from casting a ballot. Sabina Kuriakose investigates.
Photo identification is not required to cast a ballot in Connecticut, but it appears some poll workers in towns like Hamden and Willimantic didn’t know that.
The Secretary of State’s Office said earlier this week that it received complaints that voters were turned away in those two towns.
The Troubleshooters found signs outside Hamden polling places on Election Day that read “Vote Here.” Upon further inspection, we found there was blue tape on the signs masking the words “ID Required.”
“Our headquarters are sending people around saying, ‘make sure people inside know ID is not required,’” said Hamden Councilman Tom Rousseau, a Democrat.
He said he’s been getting reports of people being turned away from the polls for not having ID and he was on the lookout.
“It was happening,” said Rousseau.
The spokesman for the Secretary of State said the Office intervened after it was reported to them that some Hamden and Willimantic poll workers demanded photo ID, and that people who couldn’t provide it were barred from casting a ballot.
“You can use photo ID, you can use a driver’s license, you can use a utility bill, you can use a bank statement,” Av Harris explained.
The Troubleshooters took the claims directly to Hamden’s Registrar of Voters and Republican Anthony “Tony” Esposito denied the allegations.
“They have a list of acceptable forms of ID that are issued by the Secretary of State. That’s what they ask for,” he said.
The Troubleshooters asked if he was saying there were no issues.
“Not as far as I know. There was a report concerning some signs that said ID required rather than ID requested. And so we took the signs down,” replied Esposito.
There was another issue. Esposito barred our crew from filming inside polling places, even after the Secretary of State’s Office told us state law allows us inside. Esposito blocked us, because, he claimed, it was an invasion of privacy.
The Troubleshooters questioned him, citing other polling places around the state allowing media inside, which is consistent with state law.
“I’m saying that my interpretation as issued to my moderators is, no cameras,” Esposito said.
Officials in Willimantic also deny complaints that voters were turned away.
A deputy registrar told the Troubleshooters that the town only had one voter ID issue and that person was eventually able to vote.
You do not need to have photo ID to cast a ballot if you are registered to vote in Connecticut. Even if you don’t have any documentation stating where you live, you can sign an affidavit at the polling station that states you are who you say you are.