Your place to get questions answered about voting and local elections in Stratford.
By Registrar James Simon
1. I keep hearing complaints about election fraud. What does Connecticut do to try to prevent it from happening?
Connecticut has overlapping checks in place, and officials are always looking to add more safeguards. Earlier this week, Stratford’s Registrars of Voters volunteered to go to Hartford and take part in a pilot program from the Secretary of State’s office designed to better ensure election integrity. We brought all of the ballots from Stratford’s District 1 and 2 that were cast Nov. 2nd in the mayor’s election.
First, they were run through the state’s own ballot counter, and the results were the same as we obtained. We then placed individual stickers on each of the ballots and had a computer select dozens at random.
We knew how the machine read the vote on the ballot; the second question was whether a human being, looking at how the voter marked the ballot, would come to the same conclusion. In every case, our visual examination had the same result as the computer reading of the ballot.
2. Who does these checks on election fairness?
The experiment was part of an ongoing effort by the UConn Center for Voting Technology Research. The Centers says it advises state agencies in the use of electronic election technologies, investigates voting solutions and voting equipment, and develops and recommends safe use procedures for electronic systems used in the electoral process.
The VoTeR Center was established in 2006, the year that Connecticut began to upgrade its voting machines from the manual lever technology to more modern systems. With funding from the Secretary of the State’s Office, the VoTeR Center was commissioned to advise the State regarding the reliability of the new electronic voting machines being used in Connecticut.
The current machines are nearing the end of their life expectancy, and the state is working with local Registrars to discuss what the next generation of machines should look like.
3. Voting officials in other states are reducing the number of polling stations, which can result in longer lines. How about Stratford?
Stratford has used the same 10 polling stations for the last several elections. No reduction or changes in location are expected.
Due to the 2020 U.S. Census results, the town must rebalance the size of each town council district so there is roughly the same number of residents in each district. The town’s redistricting process in 2022 may force residents on some streets or neighborhoods to vote in a different district starting with the November 2023 town election.
The current district lines will remain in effect for the 2022 election, which focuses primarily on state-level offices like governor, other constitutional offices, and legislative seats.
4. Will the legislative lines change due to the Census?
Stratford has three state Representatives (Reps. Joseph Gresko, Philip Young, and Ben McGorty) who represent the town, plus two state Senators (Sens. Kevin Kelly and Dennis Bradley) who represent Stratford and other municipalities. Their district lines are not expected to change.
5. How about Congressional districts?
The final congressional district boundaries have not yet been set, but Stratford seems likely to remain entirely in the 3rd Congressional district. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro represents the town and several other municipalities, including New Haven.
Stratford Registrar James Simon worked as a political reporter for 10 years with The Associated Press, then taught courses like political journalism for 18 years as a professor and dean at Fairfield University. He was elected as the Democratic Registrar of Voters in Stratford in November 2020.
More Questions? Please send them to registrar Jim Simon; firstname.lastname@example.org. This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford.