By Gregory B. Hladky
10:44 AM EST, November 6, 2012
Given the controversy over write-in candidates in Connecticut, I thought it would be interesting this morning if I checked out the situation at my local polling place.
Understand that you can't just write-in any name on the Connecticut ballot. A "Mickey Mouse" vote won't be counted unless Mick has registered with the Secretary of the State's Office. (The Mouse, by the way, hasn't registered in our Land of Steady Habits this year. Sorry, Disney fans.)
The trouble with all this is that nowhere at Connecticut polling places is it required that those registered write-in candidates' names be posted for viewing by voters. Poll workers are supposed to have a list of those registered write-ins and are supposed to show it to voters who ask. But it turns out to be more than a little complicated.
The first poll worker I checked with - the nice white-haired lady handing out the ballots - had no idea where I could find the list. "You'll have to ask them," she said, waving toward the table in the school gym occupied by the registrars and moderator.
One of the nice women at that table looked totally flustered when I asked the question. "Oh, I don't know," she said, and turned to her companion for help. That worker began riffling through a box of file folders. "It's supposed to be here someplace," she insisted.
Eventually, the registrar was located and she had to sort through a completely different batch of papers. "I know it's here... I just saw it last night," was her comment.
At last the list of six presidential write-ins and seven U.S. Senate write-ins was located an handed to me to look at - not to keep. (There are also five write-ins in the 2nd and 5th congressional districts and several state House and Senate write-ins.)
Let's face it: until state law requires it, the Democratic and Republican registrars and election moderators around the state aren't going to post write-in candidates names at the polls.
Our two-party system is intentionally and deliberately a self-sustaining system. Having other choices just mucks up the the controls put in place by the two major parties, and could eventually undermine the prevailing incumbent protection program. (Well over 90 percent of all state legislative and congressional incumbents get reelected in Connecticut.)
Things won't change unless voters make it change. So ask for that list when you go to vote, even if you have no intention of casting a ballot for one of those write-in candidates.
Eventually, voters can force the pols to do the "write" thing.
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