Hartford Drafts Resolution to Remove Registrars of Voters

The Hartford City Council has drafted a resolution seeking to remove the city’s three registrars of voters over problems at the polls in November that “resulted in the lack of an accurate vote count, which persists to this day,” according to the draft.

Attorney Ross Garber, of Shipman & Goodwin, one of two firms selected to advise city’s investigation into what went wrong Nov. 4, submitted his findings to the city council this week.

“The Report of the Committee of Inquiry identified multiple, serious errors, which plagued the administration of the 2014 General Election Hartford and resulted in the disenfranchisement of Hartford voters and the lack of an accurate vote count,” the resolution states.

The draft lists 13 counts against Democratic registrar Olga Vazquez, 10 counts against GOP registrar Sheila Hall and nine against Urania Petit of the Working Families Party.

Each will undergo separate hearings and the seven-member council will vote on whether to remove them from office.

The registrars have been under scrutiny since Election Day, when city polling places were riddled with problems that caused some residents to be turned away and led to extended voting hours in several precincts.

According to the resolution, many of the issues “are attributable to errors or omissions by the Hartford Registrars, a dysfunctional working relationship among the election officials, a lack of leadership and accountability, and the absence of a clear, legally prescribed chain of command.”

The three registrars are cited for violations including “neglect or dereliction of official duty, incompetence, dishonesty or incapacity to perform official duties or delinquency materially affecting their general character or fitness for office, and warranting their removal from office.”

Each was given the opportunity to testify during two days of hearings held in December, according to the draft. The committee also reviewed documents, collected evidence and interviewed witnesses prior to drafting the resolution.

The Hartford City Council voted late last month to proceed with the removal process after the Committee of Inquiry released an initial report documenting violations and dysfunction in the registrars’ office.

An attorney representing Vazquez has said she will fight any attempt at removal, while the Associated Press reports that Petit has vowed not to resign.

Contact Us