Hartford City Council Files Resolution to Remove Registrars

The president of the Hartford City Council has filed a resolution seeking "to begin the process for removal of the three registrars of voters," he said.

City Council President Shawn Wooden's clerical filing came in response to a newly released report that identified "multiple, serious errors" at city polling places on Election Day, as well as a dysfunctional working relationship among the city's registrars.

Councilmembers met Tuesday night to review the report and discuss the prospect of stripping the registrars of their titles. The trio – Democrat Olga Vazquez, Republican Sheila Hall and Urania Petit of the Working Families Party – is at the center of the investigation into what went wrong on Nov. 4.

Wooden's resolution calls for the City Council to vote Monday on whether to hire a lawyer who would draft charges against all three registrars. He said those charges may constitute dereliction of duty and incompetence.

"The registrars will then have the ability to have a hearing where they can, on an individual basis, defend themselves," Wooden explained.

Following the hearing, the council would vote to remove one registrar or all three, with a vote of 7-2 required to pull them from their posts, he said.

The council will also consider a recommendation to restructure the registrars office altogether, replacing three positions with one, non-partisan election official, according to Wooden.

"On so many levels, this will help elections run much smoother," he said.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra declined to offer an opinion on the situation Tuesday but said he has faith in the committee and its findings.

"I have made my position on this subject pretty clear. I support any decision that prevents our citizens right to vote from being further compromised in any way," Segarra said in a statement. "I applaud City Council for taking swift action on this issue."

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