by Sharon Rondeau
(Apr. 10, 2021) — Ongoing work on the part of the Connecticut-based, non-partisan organization FightVoterFraud, Inc. indicate that the infrastructure to accommodate expanded mail-in voting, for which Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and legislative Democrats have expressed support, is insufficient and that the state’s master voter roll is not updated as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
“This Federal law mandates that states constantly scrub and maintain their voter rolls, a mandate that is clearly being ignored in many states such as Connecticut,” FVF states on its website.
Following the November 3, 2020 election, FVF unexpectedly acquired a national footprint, fielding reports from all over the country as well as overseas, according to founder Linda Szynkowicz, who spoke with The Post & Email in late November and again on April 1. The allegations found to be credible, Szynkowicz said, were reported to federal law enforcement.
Article Sixth of the Connecticut constitution permits registered voters (electors) to cast their ballots by absentee under only six conditions predating the executive order Gov. Ned Lamont issued last year stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. A second relevant order, 10E, extends the ability of Connecticut electors to vote “absentee” in any referendum, election or primary contest through May 20, 2021, due to the continuing public health emergency.
Connecticut is one of two states which do not have functioning county governments, with the responsibility for elections administration delegated to the state’s 169 municipal registrars of voters, who are elected by the people of each town or city.
At present, there is no provision for Connecticut voters to cast ballots before Election Day in what is known in other states as “early voting.” In a special session of the legislature last July, expanded absentee voting for the August 11 primaries and general election of November 3 was approved resulting from the COVID-19 health emergency which Szynkowicz maintains is unconstitutional.
In July 2020, Merrill placed “COVID-19” at the top of what became a universal absentee-ballot application mailed to all registered voters in the state with the explanation, “All voters are able to check this box, pursuant to Executive Order 7QQ.”
FightVoterFraud unsuccessfully sued Merrill over the procedure. “It’s against the Constitution, and the legislators are the only ones who can change law or start the process of changing the Constitution,” Szynkowicz told us at the time. “A change to the state Constitution requires agreement by two-thirds of the legislature, and then it goes to We the People on the ballot.”
The pertinent sections of EO 7QQ read:
WHEREAS, secure and tamper-proof drop boxes manufactured specifically for the purpose of voting offer a safe and secure way for voters to deliver absentee ballots to election officials without in-person interactions that could increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, absentee voting offers a proven method of secure voting that reduces the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by allowing individuals to vote by mail and by reducing the density of in-person voting at polling places;
More than 100,000 of the absentee-voter applications Merrill’s office dispatched were returned as “undeliverable,” Szynkowicz reminded us, indicating what she said is an outdated voter database and Merrill’s violation of not only the NVRA, but also the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
Szynkowicz explained that in its ongoing efforts to assure election integrity in Connecticut, FVF purchased the state voter database from the Secretary of the State’s office. “We have our analytics team doing all types of analysis on that,” she said. In recent weeks her organization has posted three press releases outlining their findings of suspected underage voting and double-voting in Connecticut in the November 3, 2020 election.
“These last three weeks of press releases are just things our analytics team has been finding by going through and running programs,” Szynkowicz said.
Under consideration by the Connecticut General Assembly’s current session are two bills whose purpose is to broaden the use of absentee balloting: HB 6205, for which a public hearing was held on March 17; and SJ 13, which proposes “A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO ALLOW SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLDS TO PREREGISTER TO VOTE, REGIONAL VOTING CENTERS AND EARLY VOTING.”
A 2021 proposed bill to eliminate election-day registration, which became law in 2012 along with online voter registration, has not been raised in a committee, nor has a bill advocating Connecticut’s withdrawal from the National Popular Vote Compact it entered in 2018.
Testimony Szynkowicz and Dominic Rapini, FVF’s Chairman of the Board, provided in response to the new voting proposals gaining traction in the legislature is found in FVF’s “News” section.
In her February 18, 2021 testimony to the House Committee on Housing regarding bill proposal #6408 “requiring Housing Authorities to provide voter registration applications to prospective tenants,” Szynkowicz said, in part:
Before we can entertain making additional changes to how eligible voters are allowed to register to vote and opening up the process to yet another agency whose primary mission is not to register eligible citizens to vote and then give them to another agency who has clearly had issues in the registering process, we need to clean & maintain (per Federal law) the voters roles of people that no longer live in the State of CT, of those that have passed away, (almost 11,000 as of December 2019 per data from the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s Amicus brief filed in the CT Supreme Court in July 2020 and sent to the Secretary of the State at the same time.) yet are still on the active voter list and identify and remove the 200,000+ inactive voters, we first need to again, clean the voter rolls.
Citing “Over Indexed Registration Rates” showing that according to the Secretary of the State’s office, Middlesex County had a 113% registration rate in 2016, Rapini testified on the same bill:
Our state has over 338 ROVAC trained, Registrar of Voters and Deputy/ Assistant Registrar of voters. These are the election professionals trained to vet applicants, weed out duplicate voters, and verify residence, citizenship and even age. Why do we intend to bypass a system Connecticut has used successfully for over 200 years? Instead, we wish to distract our Housing professionals with a job that are not trained to do while distracting them from their core mission.
Adding more un-secure ways to register voters and, in so doing, changing the job function of the Housing Authority is not a solution we need. If adding more agencies to a process solves a problem, why stop at the Housing authority? Why not Parks and Rec or even the Department of Sanitation? All day speakers have made the case that affordable housing is a priority, why then, do we wish to deviate from that mission?
*ROVAC: Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut
FVF has found evidence that six individuals under the age of 18 voted in the November 3 election and that more than 100 voted twice in Connecticut. A letter FVF sent to Merrill on March 23 requesting a meeting to discuss those findings has received no response, Szynkowicz said.
Reports filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) the same day containing evidence of double-voting and underage voting have received an acknowledgement but no determination as to whether or not the agency will actually investigate, she added.
“It was a federal election; we believe there were violations of state and federal law, and that’s why we’re bringing them forward,” Szynkowicz said, “because all we want is one vote for one legal voter©.”
As far as the length of time Szynkowicz expects to be analyzing the 2020 Connecticut election data, she said, “Six months, a year…We’re just scratching the surface right now.”
We asked Szynkowicz her view of Merrill’s responsibility in acting on alleged voter fraud, to which Szynkowicz replied, “She’s the head of elections for the state of Connecticut. She is supposed to be making sure that they’re following the federal law, the NVRA, and also HAVA, which is Help America Vote Act of 2004. Christian Adams from Public Interest Legal Foundation testified a couple of weeks ago that there are 29,000 people in CT in violation of the HAVA because the towns do not have on file a secondary identification of either the last four digits of their Social Security numbers or a driver’s license number, and they’re being allowed to vote. So Merrill’s obligation should be to the citizens of Connecticut to make sure that the database has only legal people in the proper town or city to be able to vote and to remove people who have passed away from the voter rolls. She is absolutely in violation of both federal laws. And it’s right there on her website what her responsibilities are.”
“How does a person vote on Election Day but not finish registering to vote for months afterward?” we asked.
“We honestly do not know,” Szynkowicz responded. “We have no idea. There are 20,000+ people who registered and voted on Election Day, and there are 5,742 who are registered from the day after Election Day through January 11. A number of them voted in person, but there are those who voted ‘absentee.’ But you can’t vote ‘absentee’ on Election Day. We have no idea how this happened, and that’s why we sent a letter to the Secretary of the State.”
In a separate interview on Tuesday, Rapini told us, “Election integrity is synonymous with data integrity. A lot of this is pointing to some common denominators. We have a small but mighty force of registrars in this state, 44% of them over the age of 70. What this means is we have a varsity team but we don’t have a JV team. There are only three of them under the age of 30. They’re veterans, and they’re smart, but this state is moving toward expanding a lot of the programs around elections, and we’re starting to see that the system is going to crumble under the weight of these programs because there’s not enough bandwidth. We don’t have enough registrars; they’re not full-time. What is suffering is the data, and if people lose trust in the data, they lose trust in the election.
“We’re asking 338 people to do the proper vetting of 650,000 absentee-ballot applications, each one a legal document that has to be signed under the threat of perjury, and their standards, out of necessity, are being lowered through the vetting process. The Secretary of the State boasts that we went from a 2% failure rate to a half-a-percent failure rate, but she fails to mention that we lowered our standards. If you lower the bar, of course you’re going to achieve the bar.
“On her website she said 80% turned out for the November election; the national average is 60%. The real number was 74%. If you take 2.505 million registered voters in Connecticut and 1.8 million people voted, that comes out to 74%. She didn’t use the 2.5 million number; she used the number of 2.3 million. Here’s why: The 2.3 million is the active voters. She never says “active voters”; she says “registered voters.” It’s 200,000 people who are inactive. So she made her numbers look better by using a portion of the registered voter pool. To me, that’s disingenuous. If you’re going to do a victory lap with the election, use the right numbers. Here’s why: with 74%, compared to 2018 and 2016, the numbers were only 77%. So our turnout percentage went down.
“In terms of pure numbers of voters, the number of voters went up because we had an influx of refugees from New York, but even with that influx, the percentage of people who were registered went down. I posted my math on our website under the “Connecticut Election Integrity Primer,” and I sourced her documents.
“So we’re starting off with a disingenuous presentation of numbers. The bottom line is we’re trying to demonstrate that Connecticut doesn’t have the systems to manage early voting. How are you going to ask 150 people ages 70 and 80 to do two, three, four, five, six days of 14-hour days of voting? How can you do that? They’re not even answering that question. How do you ask these same people to properly vet the absentee ballots when there’s no ID requirement?
“The issue of the election infrastructure is not being addressed, and that will open us up to fraud. In the meantime, we are finding what we think is fraud, when people vote twice or there’s underage voting.”
Rapini added that despite his and Szynkowicz’s four-time testimony to members of the Connecticut General Assembly this session on election integrity, no media organization has contacted them to request more information.