Here Comes SOTS–Merrill’s Soldiers To Visit Primary Polling Places

Personnel from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office will be in Bridgeport Tuesday to spot-check city polling precincts for election law compliance during the Democratic primary. From SOTS:

Secretary Merrill Releases Plan of Action for Bridgeport Primary Tuesday September 27th

Under New Legislative Authority, Secretary of the State’s Designees To Review Compliance at Bridgeport Polling Places

Hartford: Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced today that pursuant to new statutory authority granted her office under Connecticut Public Act 11-46, designees from her office will be entering polling places at random during polling hours (between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.) in the city of Bridgeport for the Democratic municipal primary being held next Tuesday September 27, 2011. Enacted during the 2011 legislative session, Public Act No. 11-46 (AN ACT CONCERNING THE INTEGRITY OF ELECTIONS) section three reads, “… the Secretary of the State, or the Secretary’s designee, shall be allowed access to each polling place within the state during any municipal, state or federal election, primary or recanvass for the purpose of reviewing each polling place and recanvass for compliance with state and federal law.” Pursuant to the statute, designated representatives from the Secretary of the State’s office will present identification to moderators in charge of each Bridgeport polling place, but enter polling locations unannounced next Tuesday. Twenty-one Connecticut municipalities held municipal primaries on Tuesday September 13th but primary voting in Bridgeport was delayed to September 27th due to a court order.

“Due to the unusual circumstances surrounding the upcoming municipal primary in Bridgeport, we thought it wise to use the new authority granted this office to ensure the integrity of our election process and compliance with state election laws next Tuesday,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s Chief Elections officer. “We are not expecting any problems at the polls, but we will have eyes and ears on the ground in every polling place in the city. We will not be announcing where or when representatives from my office will enter these locations, but the voters of Bridgeport can rest assured that the designees from my office are experts in our state election laws and experienced in election administration, and are thus highly qualified to review polling places for compliance.”

Public At No. 11-46 also states in Section 4, Subsection C: “The Secretary of the State shall have the authority to disqualify any moderator appointed by the registrars of voters if, after consultation with both registrars of voters, the Secretary determines such moderator has committed material misconduct, material neglect of duty or material incompetence in the discharge of his or her duties as a moderator. If the Secretary disqualifies a moderator, the Secretary shall share his or her findings upon which the disqualification was based with the registrars of voters.”

Secretary Merrill has informed the Registrars of Voters in Bridgeport of plans to have designees enter city polling places on Primary Day September 27th, and also instructed the Registrars to have backup certified moderators available in the unlikely event that the authority to remove a moderator at the polling place would need to be used. Secretary Merrill will be in constant contact with her designees monitoring polling in Bridgeport during the day.

In addition to these unprecedented compliance actions, Secretary Merrill and the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) are once again opening the Election Day hotline 1-866-SEEC-INFO (1-866-733-2463) to report problems at the polls. In addition, the two agencies are providing an email alert contact––for voters to use if they encounter any difficulties casting ballots on Primary Day. Both the hotline and the email alert will be checked throughout the day by staff from both agencies.

Voters who do use the hotline or email to describe problems can either state their name or report issues anonymously; but are asked to state the town and polling place where they are observing the problems, and provide as many specifics or details as they can. This would greatly assist SEEC or Secretary of the State’s staff to address the issue and find a solution as expeditiously as possible. In addition to the email and telephone hotline, the Secretary of the State’s office and staff from the SEEC will hold three separate conference calls during the day on Tuesday to share information about potential problems or complaints at the polls, and coordinate the appropriate responses to those.

Voters can go to the Secretary of the State’s website to see if they are registered to vote and where their polling place is located. Only registered Democrats can vote in Bridgeport’s municipal primaries, and voters have until noon on Monday September 26, 2011 to register for the primaries. Unaffiliated voters have that same deadline to enroll as Democrats in order to cast a primary ballot next Tuesday September 27th. Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. next Tuesday for municipal primaries for the following offices in Bridgeport:



  1. I’ve been saying all along too many people will be watching this go ’round. The SOTS’s office and the SEEC will be watching the voting very closely. After so many troubling elections it will take some effort to restore the public’s trust in the electoral system.

  2. I want two computers set in place to identify any votes that are from deceased at the polls or absentee ballots. I want to identify who signed out the ballots. Then I want to make sure every one of those individuals are convicted and sentenced. Is that simple enough, Secretary Merrill? Then I want a public apology from Santa Ayala for costing the taxpayers a $#%^-load of money. I want a statistician to identify the total amount of money we spent and wasted in court as taxpayers to keep Foster off the ballot. I would like this before the election. Just do it!!! This is not a microcosm of a third-world country. This is Bridgeport–SURPRISE.

  3. You guys wanted a clean election? The potential for problems was just mitigated in 23 locations. By inference, the administration of the election will be supervised, another problem, and this is the direct cause of the first 23 potential problems.

    The absentee ballot issue, if it is an issue, is a matter of dubious solicitation and/or execution of ballots. The people involved in stimulating this activity expect privacy. I could write that last sentence another way but I’ve been told by some of you guys to watch my language.

  4. My neighbor’s mother was at the East End senior center where Martha Santiago is the director, and she told him Martha was lining up votes for Finch. She was also filling out some forms, but his mother did not know what they were. His mother was very angry because she felt Martha was abusing her position by trying to influence seniors who don’t speak English very well. She feels Finch in the last four years has done nothing to help East Side seniors and Latinos in general, only during election time does he show up, he missed many functions that were held at center. She feels Martha is taking advantage of seniors for Finch and her personal gain. She says non-English-speaking seniors are being told how to vote. He says she is very angry and filed a complaint with the elections commission because she says Martha is very pushy about supporting Finch. His mother says Martha feels she is untouchable and can get what she wants from Finch and Mario because she delivers votes; she has said she controls her people, his mother said she don’t control me. She called her a come mierda my Spanish is not too good but he says that means a shit eater or bullshitter.

    1. At this point Fabrizi does not deserve credit for anything. He will be remembered as a do-nothing mayor and his downfall after being handed the keys to the kingdom by Ganim’s downfall. He has let Finch take credit for everything and he will be remembered for nothing except that he nominated Finch. Nothing left to say, John. You are a kind person to let Bill take credit for your work but the history books will tell a different story. After all Mayor Finch believes he is the best mayor we have had in the city. I thought Fabrizi was pretty good. I have always thought so but politics does make strange bedfellows as the saying goes. Whatever Fabrizi expects from Finch he can forget about it!

  5. She says when Finch does come in Martha always blows smoke up his ass by saying Finch gave them the center but when Fabrizi gave them the center five years ago she was always blowing smoke up his ass for the center.

  6. What am I missing with this AB thing? AB’s are for people who will be out of town on the day of the election or who are unable to physically get to the polls. How can Lydia, Ezequiel, Marta and whomever go door to door and give out AB’s to people who are able to get to their appropriate polling place? Isn’t this illegal? Does anyone check into this or is it just accepted practice?

  7. These fools are worried about the polling places? They should take the AB’s away from the ROV. But it’s probably too late as the AB’s were already solicited from the senior residences and altered accordingly. It should be illegal to solicit AB’s as it is up to the absentee voter to request the AB on their own with no assistance. Most are probably dementia patients and have no idea what’s going on anyway.
    AB’s are supposed to mimic the actual vote by percentage, but I’ll bet they go 90+% for Finch.


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