Complaint by: Dunbar-Rose
The head moderator for a municipality may not be allowed to enter a polling place on election day, without permission from the moderator at that polling place. In April 2012, Kristin Venditti, the head moderator for the City of Groton also served as the moderator for the District 8 polling place. During the presidential primary, Venditti allegedly entered the District 3 polling place to remove a table and chairs that had been stored in the polling place. The moderator of the District 3 polling place asked Venditti to leave and filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, alleging that Venditti wrongly entered the polling place, in violation of C.G.S. §9-236. Venditti argued that she was allowed to enter, because she was an "election official." C.G.S. §9-236(c) provides, "No person except those permitted or exempt under this section or section 9-236a and primary or election officials and party checkers appointed under section 9-235 shall be allowed within any polling place except for the purpose of casting his vote." The State Elections Enforcement Commission found there was no evidence that Venditti campaigned, loitered or peddled campaign materials within the 75-foot restricted area. No voters were present when she entered. The head moderator for the municipality does not qualify as an "election official," for purposes of §9-236, and is not permitted to enter a polling place just because she is the head moderator. The State Elections Enforcement Commission found that Venditti was not permitted in the polling place, pursuant to C.G.S. §9-236, and did not order any penalty, because Venditti possessed the reasonable belief she qualified as an election official and was allowed to enter; no voters were present; and she did not campaign, loiter or distribute campaign materials.