Sen. Boucher Supports Much Needed Changes to Polling Laws

April 28, 2012

Hartford, CT – Senator Boucher (R-Wilton) applauds the bipartisan support for SB 218, AN ACT CONCERNING POLLING PLACES FOR PRIMARIES a common sense reform to our state’s polling laws.

SB 218 would permit municipalities to use fewer polling places for primaries than for the general election.

“The turnout difference between general elections and primary elections is glaring. The high water mark for recent turnout was the 2008 Presidential election, which garnered an impressive 78.14% turnout of Connecticut voters,” said Senator Boucher. “In contrast, turnout for an August 2009 Primary election was a meager 13.9%. Despite the disparity, our towns still had to properly staff and maintain the same number of polling places. This bill would give municipalities the flexibility to adjust the number of polling places depending on need.”

With the passage of SB 218 there are potential municipal savings that could be realized through the elimination of polling locations. They include:

  • staffing costs
  • possible renting costs
  • transportation of materials to each polling location
  • the installation of phone lines for each polling location

Senator Boucher said, “Some of my towns are also finding it increasingly difficult to find enough poll workers to properly maintain each polling place, particularly in low interest elections.”

If the registrars reduce the number of polling places, they may similarly agree to reduce the number of moderators, provided there is at least one moderator per polling place. The bill requires the polling places for a primary to remain the same as for the corresponding election if the registrars cannot agree to the changes or if any candidate objects.

“During these difficult times, we need to extend the ability to cut costs to as many of our towns as possible and still maintaining the integrity of the process,” said Sen. Boucher.