State Elections Enforcement Commission
At a Glance
WILLIAM R. SOKOLOWSKI, Chairman
Stephen F. Cashman, Vice Chairman
Jeffrey B. Garfield, Executive Director and General Counsel
Albert P. Lenge, Managing Director and Commission Attorney
Gregory Zepka, Director of Disclosure and Public Information
Established – 1974
Statutory authority – CGS Sections 9-7A, 9-7B
Central office – 20 Trinity Street, Suite 101,
Hartford, CT 06106
Number of employees – ten
Recurring operating expenses - $806,514
To improve and maintain the confidence of the people of Connecticut in the electoral process and the officials involved in that process.
To enforce provisions of state election laws pertaining to elections, primaries and referenda. The Commission is charged with the specific responsibility to conduct investigations of election complaints, review campaign finance statements filed by candidates, political parties and political committees, issue advisory opinions concerning requirements of the campaign finance laws and suggest revisions to the election laws to the Connecticut General Assembly.
The Commission closed 244 complaints (cases), including
referrals from the Secretary of the State.
The Commission’s turnover time for resolving cases continued to improve
and averaged 52 days, four days less than last fiscal year. Enforcement efforts continued to be strong,
yet reasonable. The Commission
collected $76,004 in civil penalties and forfeitures for violations of election
laws, which were deposited in the State’s General Fund.
During the year, the two Commission audit staff completed a compliance review of the 2000 General Assembly campaigns, including all campaign finance reports filed on behalf of State Senate and State House candidates. A report was issued. In addition, a compliance review of the 2001 municipal campaigns was also undertaken, with one-third of all municipalities reviewed.
The Commission submitted various proposals for revising election laws to the General Assembly during the regular session in 2003. As absentee voting abuse continued to be a major problem, the Commission recommended a pilot program for improvement of the procedures to protect against fraud and abuse. This was enacted in Public Act 03-227. The Commission also recommended a variety of changes to the campaign finance laws that were enacted in PA 03-223. Legislation to reform the nomination and primary process was also a Commission priority, and was enacted in PA 03-241. The Commission’s Executive Director was also part of the State Planning Committee to comply with the new federal legislation the “Help America Vote Act of 2002”.
Commission publications explaining campaign finance requirements for municipal candidates, political action committees and referenda were revised and distributed.
· To continue to resolve complaints swiftly and reduce need for full administrative hearings
· To review 50 percent of all campaign reports filed by General Assembly candidates and committee for 2002 campaigns
· To reduce and prevent violations through training and educational efforts
· To suggest revisions to the General Assembly concerning election laws which strengthen accountability in the election process and improve the public’s confidence in elected officials
· To improve the website to provide the public with access to case decisions and opinions
· To continue to respond swiftly to the need for legal advice and written opinions concerning compliance and ensure that the response time to requests for written opinions is no more than seven working days.
Information Reported as Required by State Statute
The Commission has developed an affirmative action plan which complies with the Conn. Gen. Statutes Sections 46a-70 through 46a-78.
Pursuant to §9-7a (c), the Commission is required to provide the following information concerning its activities:
Of the 244 investigations conducted and cases closed within the state, the following municipalities had more than one complaint:
Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Derby, Guilford, Hartford, Litchfield, Middletown, Monroe, Oxford, Redding, Rocky Hill, Stratford, Uncasville, Vernon, Wolcott, Woodbury
Of the 244 closed cases conducted, 153 resulted in monetary penal sanctions (fines or forfeitures or restitution), 20 resulted in reprimands or orders to comply, 55 were dismissed, 16 were not pursued to a conclusion. Seventeen additional complaints remained open at the close of the fiscal year.