Secretary of State to File Complaint Over Hartford Polling Problems

After a Hartford judge extended voting hours at two city polling places over early morning snafus, the Secretary of the State's office announced plans to file a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

"These were two of the most egregious where people were sent away without any chance to vote," Gov. Dan Malloy said of Districts 1 and 6, which collected ballots through 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. "I'm glad the judge did what he did. I think we've used teh hours that have intervened to use this as a way to drive people back to the polls."

Staff Attorney Ted Bromley notified the SEEC of the impending complaint in an email Tuesday, citing suspected election law violations.

"The situation in Hartford this morning was absolutely unacceptable. Voters in Connecticut rightly expect that when they go to their polling place they should be able to vote without disruption," Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said in a statement Tuesday evening, adding that her office plans to "absolutely invstigate why Hartford was not prepared for Election Day."

"Those found responsible will be held accountable," Merrill said.

Judge Carl Schuman said he decied to extend hours at the two precincts because "it was the ruling of electoral officials, either monitors or registrars, that denied people the opportunity to vote in an alternative fashion when the voting lists were not ready at 6 a.m."

Although at least 10 of the city's 24 polling places were affected by late delivery of registration lists, Schuman said extended voting was not warranted at the eight other locations because poll moderators offered "alternatives," such as checking identification and allowing voters to write their names and addresses on blank sheets of paper.

"Preparing voter lists, printing them out, and distributing them to polling places before the polls open at 6:00 a.m. on Election Day is essential to running an orderly election. Hartford has done this process many times," Merrill said.

"It is unconscionable to our office that the steps were not taken in advance of voters arriving at the polling places this morning, leading some voters to be turned away from the polls and others to leave in frustration. This should never happen in Connecticut or anywhere," she added.

Contact Us