Connecticut could enter the 20th century, much less the 21st with a new online Election Management System it will launch next week with the Presidential Preference Primary.
The system was designed by a Connecticut company, Windsor-based PCC Technology and will be used by Registrars of Voters statewide. It cost taxpayers $400,000 and it's been in development for years.
“It’s going to make things faster, more accurate, and I think it’ll make their jobs easier," said Denise Merrill, Connecticut's Secretary of the State.
The software provides election officials with an entire online platform to manage any election results for races as large as president and as small as town council.
The system is mandatory for all elections starting with the November election, but is only voluntary for the primary next week.
Merrill said one of the issues in the past with providing the public with accurate and timely results has been working with hundreds of election staff in individual towns.
Connecticut has developed a reputation for providing slower election returns than neighboring states. During the 2014 election for governor, Gov. Dannel Malloy gave his victory speech when the Secretary of the State hardly had complete results from cities and towns.
Merrill hopes this system improves that dynamic.
“It’s been difficult because we don’t have counties. We have 169 towns and every town does it their way and they have a certain amount of time to get the information in but it has been difficult to get it all in one place at one time.”
Melissa Russell, the President of the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut said election officials embrace technology, and worries are misplaced.
"Registrars have been pushing for new technology. It helps us do our jobs better. It helps the public get the information faster. I’m really excited to see how it’s going to work.”
Russell, a Republican Registrar from Bethlehem, said voters have been showing up in high numbers to register. As a matter of fact, the Secretary of the State reported more than 1,400 online registrations yesterday alone, averaging one per minute.
Russell said it's critical that voters know whether they're affiliated with a party or else they can't vote. The mail in deadline to switch from unaffiliated to a party is Thursday, and the in person deadline is Monday.
“Most people come in to vote and they’re unaffiliated and they don’t realize they’re unaffiliated. Please everyone needs to check to make sure they’re affiliated with a party so that they’ll be able to vote.”