Making Democracy Work

Denise W Merrill

DEMOCRATIC & WORKING FAMILIES PARTY CANDIDATE FOR CT SECRETARY OF THE STATE

Denise W Merrill

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LWVCT - If elected, what will you do to strengthen voting security, and will you advocate for more funding for that effort?
DM - I have been an advocate for both more funding and to have more attention paid to voting security at the national level for the past two years. In 2017 we were told that Connecticut was one of 21 states that had been targeted by Russian agencies to infiltrate our CT Voter Registry (CVR). As past President of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) I was able to play a meaningful role in getting additional funding to increase our cybersecurity for elections and also to help shape the new relationship with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now that elections are deemed "critical infrastructure" of the United States. While we in Connecticut already use many of the best practices both at the state level and at the local level, I would look to make some improvements, for example enhancing our auditing process and working with the UConn Voting Center

LWVCT - What if anything, will you do to make Connecticut a more business-friendly state?
DM - After eight years of modernizing the Business Services Division to make it more user-friendly (putting functions online, improving the searchability of the CONCORD website, etc.) I believe that the office is now poised to play an increased role in economic development. I began this process in the last two years by working with the US Department of Commerce and the Import/Export Council to help reach out to help Connecticut companies connect with businesses overseas to conduct more international business. While the Governor is the Chief Executive Officer of the State, as Secretary I can play a supportive role by meeting with foreign business executives and political leaders here in the State and abroad. Such activities netted positive international export activity over the last few years as I worked with teams from Connecticut to form relationships in countries that wish to do business with our states. Our office can also play

LWVCT - As of January 2018, 34 states plus the District of Columbia permit some form of no-excuse-needed early voting; 3 additional states conduct elections exclusively by mail. Do you support either in-person early voting or expanded use of absentee-ballot (mail-in) voting?
DM - I support both early voting and so called "no excuse absentee balloting" and have fought to get them both on the agenda of the General Assembly and on the ballot (which both were in 2014). I also think that should we move in this direction there would have to be some changes in the way we handle our elections to support these changes. I believe that people should have the greatest opportunity possible to exercise their right to vote. Having additional days to vote, for example over a weekend, would allow people who have to work during the week or would need someone to watch their children more time to vote. Although the question of whether Connecticut should allow early voting was voted down in 2014, I intend to keep trying to allow us to join the 39 other states who allow some alternative forms of voting for their citizens.

Reprinted with the permission of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut Education Fund, Inc.

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