In Re: SEEC Initiated Investigation of the Bridgeport Registrars of Voters
Connecticut General Statutes §9-255a, which was enacted in 2011, requires that the registrars of voters and municipal clerks certify in writing the number of ballots that have been ordered for each election and primary. In 2010, there were insufficient ballots for voters who were registered to vote in the general election in Bridgeport. The mayor assembled a panel that recommended ordering one ballot for each registered voter in the future. In 2011, the legislature enacted legislation, C.G.S. §9-255a, that requires that registrars and town clerks certify in writing with the Secretary of State the number of ballots that were ordered for each election and primary. The respondent Republican registrar of voters and town clerk in Bridgeport allegedly ordered one ballot for each registered voter and did not file a form that confirmed the number of ballots that were ordered, in connection with an April 2012 primary. The respondent registrars and town clerk indicated that they did not file disclosure forms with the Secretary of State, because they believed they were in compliance when they ordered one ballot for each voter. C.G.S. §9-255a provides, "The registrars of voters and municipal clerk from each municipality shall jointly certify, in writing, to the Secretary of the State the number of ballots for each polling place in the municipality that have been ordered for each election or primary to be held within such municipality." Because the statute is novel and the respondent registrar and clerk possessed a reasonable, good-faith belief that they were in compliance, the State Elections Enforcement Commission did not authorize a penalty and merely ordered the respondents to file the form in the future, unless the Secretary of State informs them in writing that the form is not required.