In addition to the storm and the power outages at some polling places, Registrars of Voters are also dealing with a new, web-based Centralized Voter Registration system, which is cooperating for some and not for others.
The Centralized Voter Registration system is a computer program that contains the names, addresses and party affiliation of all registered voters in the state. It’s the same system which failed and then passed a stress test in October.
Karen Doyle Lyons, Norwalk’s Republican Registrar of Voters, said she can get online and open the program, but when she clicks on something it “shoves you to a blank page.”
She registered the complaint Friday during a conference call with the Secretary of the State’s office.
Av Harris, spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said they are working to address the concerns, but the good news is the old system is still working.
“The old system has not experienced any problems,” Harris said Friday.
And the problem with the new web-based system is not widespread, he said.
Anita Mips, Windsor’s Democratic Registrar of Voters, said she hasn’t had any problems at all with the new system.
“Our system has been up all day,” she said Friday.
In Norwalk, Lyons said the new system was down most of the day Thursday and they were in the office until late last night because the voter registration deadline was extended by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy after Hurricane Sandy.
On Friday morning she was able to access the system and print a voter list.
“We’re one of the lucky towns because we have a dual system,” Lyons added.
The old system, which is not web-based, is working fine.
Roger Autuori, Fairfield’s Republican Registrar of Voters, said they also have access to both systems. He said the newer system looks nice, but the old system still has all the information.
“We haven’t had any problems with it today,” Autuori said. “Every once in awhile it acts up, but we have the old system too.”
With the storm and with three polling places without power, Autuori said he has other things on his mind.
He’s not alone.
Four of the 12 polling places in Norwalk still have no power.
“The CVR system just threw a wrench into an already difficult election season,” Lyons said.
However, there‘s no one tougher than local election officials.
“Registrars of Voters and Town Clerks generally can handle any situation thrown at them,” Lyons said. “Like a mom, we’ll adapt to any situation we have.”