In response to the Superior Court's ruling that Hartford's City Council cannot remove its registrars from office after voting problems in the last election, Secretary of State Denis W. Merrill said that an overhaul of the state's election system is needed.
“Yesterday’s Superior Court decision underscores the need for more accountability in Connecticut’s election system," Merrill said. "My office is focusing on a legislative initiative that will finally address that issue—not just for those cities and towns whose problems are covered in the news, like Hartford, Bridgeport or Fairfield—but for all of Connecticut. The comprehensive reform bill approved by the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) Committee last month, reflecting an agreement between my office and the registrars, includes a removal provision. Yesterday’s decision confirms that removal is an important and necessary provision in that bill which I hope both chambers of the General Assembly will be taking up in the weeks ahead. I will watch to see what the City of Hartford decides to do in light of yesterday’s decision.”
Merrill is an advocate for professionalizing the role of registrar of voters in all 169 Connecticut towns. Now, each town has at least two registrars, nominated by their party and voted into office.
The Government Administration and Elections Committee approved Senate Bill 1051, titled "an Act Strengthening the State's Elections," which was then passed on to the Senate, according to Merrill's office. The Senate has not acted on the bill yet.
Back on Election Day on Nov. 4, 2014, Merrill filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission before the polls closed about the conduct of the registrars on Election Day, Merrill's office said. The complaint is pending.