Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Legislatively Speaking
Paper Ballots Return To Connecticut

By Gordon Gibson, Legislative Director

  NOVEMBER 2007 -- The Governor and the General Assembly are still working on the bonding package. Although Governor Rell vetoed the bonding package passed by the General Assembly, much work is still going on behind the scenes to reach a package everyone can agree upon.  Everyone would like to see their particular interest funded, but many compromises will have to be made. 

The legislators are correct when they say that authorizing bonds does not create the bonding obligation but only gives the Governor the authority to put additional items on the State Bond Commission’s agenda.  Governor Rell is also correct when she says that authorizing additional bonding will result in investors demanding a higher interest rate when the bonds are sold in the market because the investors will be concerned with how much the State mightate mightte mightte mightncerned with how much the State might bond instead of how much the State is bonding.  This is similar to a person seeking a loan at a bank.  The bank is more concerned about how much the person could charge on their credit cards than how much the person has rson has rson has rson has son has actually charged.

November 6 is election day in most towns in Connecticut.  This year we will be electing local officials, so the candidates and the questions will be different in each town.  There will be one big changeg changeig changeig changeig change this year.  All voting will be by paper ballot.  Voters will receive a ballot with the names of the candidates and any questions printed on it.  They will vote by filling in the circle next to the names of the candidates they choose thoose thoose thoose to vote for.  If a voter makes a mistake or wants to change their choice, they can return their ballot to the moderator and receive a new one.  After the voter has marked his or her ballot, they will feed it into a machine that wilat wilat wilhat wilhat will read and count the ballot.  Then the ballot will drop into a vault inside the machine where it will be stored until the election is over.  Notice that I did not say “voting machine.”  The new machines only count the ballots that are fed into it.  If a recount is necessary after the election, the ballots can be run through either the same machine or a different machine again.  In a worst case scenario, the ballots could be counted by hand. 

I was too young to vote when the General Assembly passed the law requiring all towns to use voting machines.  The cities had already used machine voting for many years, but voters in the smaller towns were upset that they would no longe no longeno longeno longer have paper ballots.  Many people did not trust the mechanical voting machines because there was no way to check that the machine had properly registered the person’s vote. 

Just like a car, as the machines got older, the possibility of a machine malfunctioning increased.  A voter might double check that they had pulled down all the proper pointers and felt very confident as they moved the red handle back to cast their ballot and open the curtathe curtathe curtathe curtains, but there was nothing to detect that a screw had come loose or a linkage had become disconnected in such a way that the counter wheel did not turn.  Such a problem could not be found until the polls had closed and the bthe band the band the band the back of the machine opened to read the count.  Then, if a problem was found, it was too late to do anything about it.  There was no way to tell how many votes a candidate had lost because the machine malfunctioned.  Things take time iime itime itime itime in government, but now we have our paper ballots again. 

Whomever gets elected will lead your town for the next two years.  Be an informed voter so you can make the choices that are best for you.  Learn where the candidates stand on the in your town and support the candidates you choose.  But above all, if you don’t vote, don’t complain about the results.

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