Bpt. council rejects election pilot program

(08/06/03) HARTFORD - State election officials in Hartford had harsh words for the Bridgeport council on Wednesday following the council's rejection of a pilot program to crack down on election abuses.

The state pilot project aims to curtail abuses of absentee ballots, a category where Bridgeport has a questionable history. In the election for town committee last year, five Democrats were fined more than $17,000. Then, in last September's primary for probate judge, 20 people were fined more than $10,000. Several of those fines were announced at Wednesday's commission meeting.

Jeffery Garfield of the elections enforcement commission told the state elections enforcement commission the Bridgeport city council rescinded its participation in a program to reform absentee ballot abuses. The council referred to committee.

Lisa Parzialle, Bridgeport's Democrat registrar of voters, objected to some logistical details of the program. She said the state election commission made it impossible to administer. She also said the program will discourage people from voting.

If there is no change, Garfield promises to keep a close watch on the September 9 primaries this year. Garfield left the door open saying the commission would still run the pilot program in Bridgeport if the city council changes its mind.

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