Complaint by: Post
A registrar of voters may be required to issue primary petition forms upon request, even if the registrar is a rival candidate. The State Elections Enforcement Commission found that the respondent registrar, Inge Pope, did not initially provide primary petition forms, when requested on May 25, 2012, although the applicant, Karen Post, met the minimum eligibility requirements. Allegedly, the respondent first attempted to contact the Secretary of State's office for information and advice, because she was a candidate for the same elected position as Post. The Secretary of State's office allegedly advised the registrar to issue the primary petition forms to the rival candidate and to permit a deputy registrar to certify the forms, when the rival candidate returned them. On May 30, the registrar issued the primary petition forms to Post. Post obtained enough signatures prior to the June 12, 2012, deadline, and she qualified for the Aug. 14, 2012, Republican primary. Connecticut General Statutes §9-409 provides, "Petition forms for candidacies for nomination to municipal office or for election as members of town committees shall be available from the registrar beginning on the day following the making of the party's endorsement of a candidate or candidates for such office or position, or beginning on the day following the final day or the making of such endorsement under the provisions of section 9-391, whichever comes first." The State Elections Enforcement Commission was not persuaded that the registrar deliberately delayed issuing the primary petition forms, in an attempt to prevent her rival from gathering enough signatures, prior to the June 12, 2012, deadline. "[T]he plain language of General Statutes §9-409, which requires primary petition forms 'shall be available from the registrar,' " wrote the State Elections Enforcement Commission, "creates an affirmative duty to make such petition pages available upon request of an individual." There was no evidence that the registrar acted in bad faith. The State Elections Enforcement Commission reprimanded the registrar and ordered that in the future she make primary petition forms available on request, provided that statutory prerequisites have been met.