© 2023 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Connecticut Election Officials Leery Of Voter Intimidation Amid Polarizing Presidential Race

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
A file photo of a polling place in Waterbury, John F. Kennedy High School.

Connecticut’s secretary of the state is serving notice to anyone planning to hassle voters at the polls in the upcoming general election.

Denise Merrill said if someone’s accused of voter intimidation, they’ll face prison time.

“I feel that Connecticut is one of those states that would not tolerate any kind of intimidating behavior at the polling places and we’ve never seen this in Connecticut.” Merrill said. “But, this is an unusual year. Tensions are running high.”

Merrill said she’s speaking out because she’s worried about the divisive national political landscape. Earlier this month, she denounced President Donald Trump’s call to supporters to monitor poll places during a televised debate with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, saying it “horrified” her.

"I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen," Trump said on September 29.

While she said nothing in Connecticut prompted this advisory, she did address an email from the local GOP party attempting to whip up an “army for Trump” to do poll work. She called that “unfortunate wording.”

JR Romano, the chairman of the CT GOP, disagrees.

“It’s a turn of a phrase that’s been around forever,” Romano said. “It was a political ask for volunteers. It’s ridiculous that the Democrats are responding this way.”

Romano said CT GOP is recruiting volunteers so they could send a poll watcher to every polling location.

Parties are allowed a checker – and a challenger -- at each spot. Merrill said those individuals need to have party support and approval from a local registrar.

If you read any of Frankie Graziano’s previous biographies, they’d be all about his passion for sports. But times change – and he’s a family man now.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content