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Ensuring voter privacy at the poll

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today praised the Connecticut House of Representatives for unanimously passing Substitute House Bill # 5441.

The bill, which passed by a vote of 143-0 on April 28th, will ensure voter privacy at the polls by requiring that ballot clerks either offer each voter a privacy sleeve for their individual ballot or ensure that a sleeve is available in each voting booth.

Among the many other technical changes included in this legislation, the bill will eliminate a requirement that Registrars of Voters automatically print numerous copies of voter lists prior to an election. Upon final passage of the bill, voter lists would be printed only upon request which will save towns both money and paper.

The bill also standardizes election procedures to eliminate challenge ballots and to provide provisional ballots to voters every year rather than just in federal elections. Currently, voters cast provisional ballots in federal years and challenge ballots in state/municipal years if there is a voter registration discrepancy at the polls. This can often be a confusing procedure for both election officials and the voter.

“I commend House lawmakers for passing this legislation that will ensure voter privacy at the polls and will also help towns save time and money when preparing for an election,” said Secretary Bysiewicz, Connecticut’s chief Elections Official. “As towns and cities struggle to save every dollar possible during these challenging economic times, we must look at all opportunities to cut costs yet still maintain voter rights and integrity at the polls. With less than a week before the close of the legislative session, I encourage the State Senate to pass this critical legislation that will modernize our election statutes, help our towns and cities, and ensure voter privacy during all elections.”