woman speaking at podium
Maritza Bond Credit: Paul Bass / New Haven Independent

The list of candidates endorsed at the AFL-CIO convention were the same Democratic candidates endorsed at the Democratic state convention in May, except one. 

Maritza Bond, the New Haven health director who is running for the nomination for secretary of the state, received the backing of the statewide labor federation over Stephanie Thomas. 

In a recent interview, Bond said she was humbled and grateful for the support. 

She said she highlighted her background and experience working with two government entities and overseeing around 100 workers and a budget of about $20 million. 

Bond faces Rep. Thomas in the Aug. 9 primary. Thomas won the Democratic Party’s endorsement for the position at a May nominating convention. 

The next secretary of the state will have a big job. They will be tasked with finding a new voting system for the state because the scan optic voting machines currently in use are obsolete. 

“Part of my platform is to modernize technology,” Bond said. 

She said one of the benefits she brings is an understanding of the procurement process. 

Budget autonomy is key

The issue will be finding the funding necessary to make the change. 

Bond said having autonomy over the funding for the office will also be important. She said the use of commercial recording fees that helped fund the office was taken away a decade ago and needs to be restored. She said the office needs to be free of any political influence and having control over its budget is necessary. 

As the state’s chief elections officer, the secretary of the state must have a good relationship with the local registrars of voters and the town clerks, who administer elections. She said there are currently too many mandates on local election officials and that’s something she would like to change. 

The secretary of the state sometimes has a rocky relationship with local election officials and Bond said she wants to restore that trust and set up a way for the state to fund some of these local election costs. 

She said she also wants to improve the education and outreach the office does to the general public about the right to vote. 

She said she would try to maintain the funding for the misinformation officer hired by former Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. 

As part of a campaign to mitigate the impact of misinformation on Connecticut elections, the secretary of the state’s office is recruiting for a new position to sift through social media and report election falsehoods before they go viral.

The controversial new post, called an election information security analyst, will pay $150,000 a year and was authorized by the state legislature in the most recent budget package. It’s part of a broader, $2 million campaign to root out bad voting information ahead of the 2022 statewide elections.

“I was so excited to learn that position had been funded,” Bond said. 

She said “we need a transparent government so people are not pushing misinformation.”

The office is also in charge of the registration of businesses. 

She also said her role as health director in New Haven has prepared her to help businesses registering with the state of Connecticut. She said throughout the pandemic she worked to make sure businesses were following the regulatory process and were able to stay open safely.

She said being in charge of the commercial registry for the state is just an extension of that work.

There are three candidates vying for the Republican nomination: Dominic Rapini, Rep. Terri Wood, and Brock Weber.

Cynthia Jennings, a third-party candidate from Hartford, is seeking to petition her way onto the ballot in November under the Griebel-Frank for CT party line.

CT News Junkie is running an occasional series of profiles of candidates seeking state office.