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Press Releases

08/09/2020

Update on Power to Polling Places and Connectivity for Town Halls for Tuesday's Primary Election Day

As of 12:00pm on Sunday, less than 10% of 748 Polling Places Still Needed Power Restored

8 Town Halls Still Needed Connectivity Restored

HARTFORD - The Office of the Secretary of the State has a working group made up of the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, the Director of Elections, the Information Technology Director, and the Legislative Liaison that is focused on the restoration of power and connectivity to key points of elections infrastructure, the 748 polling places and the 169 town halls statewide.

A member of our working group is in the meetings of the multi-agency task force that includes the Chair of PURA and all utilities. Our office has raised restoration of power and connectivity to town halls and polling places at each meeting, and have emphasized at every turn that elections cannot just be thought of as happening on Tuesday; they should be considered to be ongoing over the weekend as the town clerks and registrars are working hard this weekend to process absentee ballots and prepare voter lists and polling places.

We have asked the utilities, including the telecommunications companies, to prioritize power and connectivity to Town Halls, impressing upon them the importance of this for the overall election process. We worked with DAS BEST, the state's IT group, to determine which towns did not have connectivity to the Central Voter Registration System and we have focused the telecoms on those eight sites.

Our office provided a list of polling locations to both power utilities before the storm, and we have continued to make the importance of restoring power to these locations clear. As of noon on Sunday, there are less than 75 of the 748 polling places statewide that still require power restoration.

Elections division staff have been calling towns since Wednesday to gather information on storm damage to elections infrastructure from local election officials, and have passed that information on to PURA and to the utilities as we receive it. We have also passed information we receive at the state level back to the registrars and the town clerks.

Secretary Merrill has spoken with state officials, including the governor, more than once on the importance of power and connectivity restoration to election infrastructure.

Please see a statement from Secretary Merrill below:

"Nothing is more important than ensuring that every Connecticut voter is able to cast their ballot in the manner of their choosing. In Connecticut voting goes on - in the face of the October Snowstorm, Hurricane Sandy, and now Tropical Storm Isaias, polls are open on Election Day and voters will be able to cast their ballots. Voters with absentee ballots are encouraged to deliver them to the secure ballot drop boxes in front of each town hall." - Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill

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