Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz Celebrate Connecticut's Commitment to Modernizing Election Infrastructure
Bonding funds approved will help fund more secure and efficient Voter Registration (CVRS) and Election Management Systems (EMS), expand Automatic Voter Registration (AVR), and evaluate Connecticut's generation of voting machines.
HARTFORD – Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz today celebrated the Bond Commission passing $4 million in funding for upgrades to Connecticut’s election Infrastructure. Combined with roughly $4.5 million in federal funds from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), this funding commitment will allow Connecticut to modernize key parts of its election infrastructure, resulting in more secure, reliable, and accessible voting systems.
“This investment in election infrastructure will help ensure that Connecticut elections remain free, fair, and accessible to all eligible voters,” said Secretary Merrill. “The importance of state and federal investment in elections is clear – when we invest in elections, we can improve election security, make it easier for voters to participate, and help local election officials administer our elections.”
“This pandemic has shown that no matter the obstacle or challenge, voters will do everything they can to exercise their right to make their voices heard at the ballot box,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz.“That is why it is critical that we invest in our voting system so it can meet the needs of our voters. By modernizing our election infrastructure through the replacement of our voter registration system and expansion of automatic voter registration, we can remove unnecessary barriers to participating in our democracy.”
This funding will allow Connecticut to:
- Replace the Central Voter Registration System – Connecticut had one of the first centralized voter registration systems in the country, but now has one of the oldest. Along with the EMS, CVRS is one of the key tools used by local election officials in each of Connecticut’s 169 towns. Connecticut’s current system is nearing the end of its functional life, and a new system must be implemented with functional and security enhancements, improvements to the experience of voters, and the flexibility to manage potential changes to the way Connecticut conducts its elections.
- Replace the Election Management System/Online Election Night Results Portal – A new EMS system will allow a better user experience for voters and election officials alike, with enhanced security, robust reporting, and improvements designed to make reporting easier for the news media.
- Evaluation of the next generation of voting equipment – Connecticut has not replaced the tabulators used to count ballots since they were first purchased, using federal HAVA funds, and introduced in 2008. Those optical scan tabulators will reach the end of their functional lifespan over the next few years, and this funding will allow Connecticut to evaluate potential replacements with an eye toward increased security, flexibility to adapt to potential future changes to election systems, and a commitment to voter-filled out paper ballots.
- Expansion of Automatic Voter Registration to other state voter registration agencies – AVR at the DMV has been wildly successful since its introduction in 2016, with 500,000 new voter registrations and 700,000 address changes made. This funding would allow Connecticut to expand this program to other state agencies to improve voter registration in the state.
The Office of the Secretary of the State has already worked with key stakeholders to evaluate potential changes to CVRS and EMS, possible new AVR agencies, and will begin the process of putting together a working group to evaluate next generation voting technology.