Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced Wednesday she will not seek reelection in 2022, noting it's time for a “new generation” to “step up” with new ideas on how to further modernize voting and protect voters' rights.
The three-term Democrat and former president of the National Association of Secretaries of State made the announcement outside the state Capitol, where she previously served 17 years as a state representative from Mansfield.
Merrill, 72, said she’s proud of the efforts under her watch to modernize the office and voting, including setting up online voter registration, Election Day registration and automatic voter registration through the Department of Motor Vehicles and now other state agencies. Her office also worked to bolster cybersecurity protections, come up with safety protocols for an election held during the pandemic and make it easier to access business filings online.
“I like to think these jobs are borrowed jobs. No one should be here forever. People come in with new ideas,” Merrill said. “So I feel very much like it’s also a time that a new generation needs to step up and preserve these things. I think it’s time that another group of people who have different and newer ideas about technology and all kinds of things about elections, they step up. And I’m looking forward to that personally.”
Merrill said she plans to finish out the rest of her term, but made the announcement well ahead of the 2022 election to give potential candidates time to put together their campaigns. In the meantime, Merrill said she will work to pass two proposed amendments to the state constitution. Connecticut voters go to the polls in 2022 to decide whether to allow early voting and, in 2024, to decide whether to allow universal access to absentee ballots.