Substitute Senate Bill No. 1024
         Substitute Senate Bill No. 1024

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 97-107


AN  ACT  STRENGTHENING THE ENFORCEMENT OF ELECTION
LAWS.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section   1.   Section  9-7b  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed  and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a)    The    State    Elections   Enforcement
Commission shall have  the  following  duties  and
powers:
    (1)   To   make   investigations  on  its  own
initiative or with  respect  to  statements  filed
with  the commission by the Secretary of the State
or any town clerk, or upon written complaint under
oath  by  any  individual, with respect to alleged
violations  of  any  provision  of   the   general
statutes   pertaining   to   or  relating  to  any
election,  primary  or  referendum,  and  to  hold
hearings  when  the  commission deems necessary to
investigate violations of any  provisions  of  the
general  statutes pertaining to or relating to any
such election, primary or referendum, and for  the
purpose   of  such  hearings  the  commission  may
administer oaths, examine  witnesses  and  receive
oral  and documentary evidence, and shall have the
power to subpoena witnesses under procedural rules
the   commission  shall  adopt,  to  compel  their
attendance  and  to  require  the  production  for
examination  of  any  books  and  papers which the
commission deems  relevant  to  any  matter  under
investigation  or  in question. In connection with
its investigation of any alleged violation of  any
provision  of  chapter 145, or of any provision of
section 9-359 or section  9-359a,  the  commission
shall   also   have  the  power  to  subpoena  any
municipal clerk and to require the production  for
examination  of  any  absentee  ballot,  inner and
outer envelope from which any such ballot has been
removed,  depository  envelope containing any such
ballot or inner or outer envelope as  provided  in
sections  9-150a  and 9-150b and any other record,
form or document as provided in section 9-150b, in
connection   with   the   election,   primary   or
referendum to which the investigation relates.  In
case  of  a  refusal  to  comply with any subpoena
issued pursuant to this subsection or  to  testify
with  respect to any matter upon which that person
may be lawfully interrogated, the  superior  court
for   the   judicial   district   of  Hartford-New
Britain*, on application of  the  commission,  may
issue  an  order  requiring  such person to comply
with such subpoena and to testify; failure to obey
any such order of the court may be punished by the
court as a contempt thereof. In any  matter  under
investigation  which  concerns  the  operation  or
inspection of or outcome recorded  on  any  voting
machine,  the commission may issue an order to the
municipal clerk to impound such machine until  the
investigation is completed;
    (2)  To levy a civil penalty not to exceed (A)
two  thousand  dollars  per  offense  against  any
person  the commission finds to be in violation of
any provision of chapter 145, [or 150,] part V  of
chapter  146,  part I of chapter 147, chapter 148,
[this section,] section 9-12,  subsection  (a)  of
section  9-17, section 9-19b, 9-19e, 9-19g, 9-19h,
9-19i, 9-20, 9-21, 9-23a, 9-23g, 9-23h,  9-23j  to
9-23o,  inclusive, 9-26, 9-31a, 9-32, 9-35, 9-35b,
9-35c,  9-40a,  9-42,  9-43,  9-50a,  9-56,  9-59,
9-168d,  9-170, 9-171, 9-172, 9-409, 9-410, 9-412,
9-436, 9-436a, 9-453e to 9-453h, inclusive, 9-453k
or 9-453o, OR (B) TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS PER OFFENSE
OR TWICE THE AMOUNT OF  ANY  IMPROPER  PAYMENT  OR
CONTRIBUTION,  WHICHEVER  IS  GREATER, AGAINST ANY
PERSON THE COMMISSION FINDS TO BE IN VIOLATION  OF
ANY  PROVISION  OF CHAPTER 150. THE COMMISSION MAY
LEVY A CIVIL  PENALTY  AGAINST  ANY  PERSON  UNDER
SUBPARAGRAPH  (A)  OR (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION ONLY
after GIVING THE PERSON AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD
AT a hearing conducted in accordance with sections
4-176e to 4-184, inclusive. In the case of failure
to  pay  any  such penalty levied pursuant to this
subsection within thirty days  of  written  notice
sent  by  certified  or  registered  mail  to such
person,  the  superior  court  for  the   judicial
district  of Hartford-New Britain*, on application
of the commission, may issue  an  order  requiring
such  person  to  pay the penalty imposed and such
court costs, sheriff's fees  and  attorney's  fees
incurred  by  the  commission  as  the  court  may
determine;
    (3)  (A)  To  issue  an  order  requiring  any
person the commission finds to have  received  any
contribution or payment which is prohibited by any
of  the  provisions  of  chapter  150,  after   an
opportunity  to be heard at a hearing conducted in
accordance with the provisions of sections  4-176e
to  4-184,  inclusive, to return such contribution
or payment to the donor or payor, or to remit such
contribution  or  payment to the state for deposit
in the General Fund, whichever is deemed necessary
to  effectuate  the purposes of chapter 150; [. In
the case of a refusal to comply with such order of
the   commission,   the  superior  court  for  the
judicial district  of  Hartford-New  Britain*,  on
application of the commission, may issue a further
order to comply.  Failure  to  obey  such  further
order  may  be punished by the court as a contempt
thereof;]
    (B) TO ISSUE  AN  ORDER  WHEN  THE  COMMISSION
FINDS  THAT  AN   INTENTIONAL   VIOLATION  OF  ANY
PROVISION OF CHAPTER 150 HAS BEEN COMMITTED, AFTER
AN OPPORTUNITY TO  BE HEARD AT A HEARING CONDUCTED
IN  ACCORDANCE  WITH  SECTIONS  4-176e  TO  4-184,
INCLUSIVE, WHICH ORDER  MAY CONTAIN ONE OR MORE OF
THE FOLLOWING SANCTIONS: (i) REMOVAL OF A CAMPAIGN
TREASURER, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN TREASURER OR SOLICITOR;
OR  (ii) PROHIBITION  ON  SERVING  AS  A  CAMPAIGN
TREASURER, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN TREASURER OR SOLICITOR,
FOR A PERIOD NOT TO EXCEED FOUR YEARS;
    (C)  TO  ISSUE  AN ORDER REVOKING ANY PERSON'S
ELIGIBILITY  TO  BE  APPOINTED  OR  SERVE  AS   AN
ELECTION,   PRIMARY   OR  REFERENDUM  OFFICIAL  OR
UNOFFICIAL CHECKER OR IN ANY CAPACITY AT THE POLLS
ON  THE DAY OF AN ELECTION, PRIMARY OR REFERENDUM,
WHEN  THE  COMMISSION  FINDS   SUCH   PERSON   HAS
INTENTIONALLY   VIOLATED   ANY  PROVISION  OF  THE
GENERAL STATUTES RELATING TO  THE  CONDUCT  OF  AN
ELECTION,   PRIMARY   OR   REFERENDUM,   AFTER  AN
OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD AT A HEARING CONDUCTED  IN
ACCORDANCE   WITH   SECTIONS   4-176e   TO  4-184,
INCLUSIVE;
    (4)  To  inspect  or  audit  at any reasonable
time and upon reasonable notice  the  accounts  or
records  of  any  campaign  treasurer or principal
campaign treasurer, as required by chapter 150 and
to  audit any such election, primary or referendum
held within the  state;  provided,  it  shall  not
audit any caucus, as defined in subdivision (1) of
section 9-372;
    (5)    To    attempt   to   secure   voluntary
compliance, by  informal  methods  of  conference,
conciliation and persuasion, with any provision of
chapters 149  to  153,  inclusive,  or  any  other
provision of the general statutes pertaining to or
relating  to  any  such   election,   primary   or
referendum;
    (6)  To  consult  with  the  Secretary  of the
State, the Chief State's Attorney or the  Attorney
General  on  any matter which the commission deems
appropriate;
    (7)  To  refer  to  the Chief State's Attorney
evidence bearing upon violation of  any  provision
of  chapters  149  to 153, inclusive, or any other
provision of the general statutes pertaining to or
relating   to   any   such  election,  primary  or
referendum;
    (8)  To refer to the Attorney General evidence
for injunctive  relief  and  any  other  ancillary
equitable   relief   in   the   circumstances   of
subdivision (7) of this section. Nothing  in  this
subdivision  shall  preclude  a  person who claims
that  he  is  aggrieved  by  a  violation  of  any
provision of chapter 152 or any other provision of
the general statutes relating  to  referenda  from
pursuing   injunctive   and  any  other  ancillary
equitable relief directly from the Superior  Court
by the filing of a complaint;
    (9)  To refer to the Attorney General evidence
pertaining to  any  ruling  which  the  commission
finds to be in error made by election officials in
connection with any election, or primary held  for
the  purpose  of  selecting  a  nominee for public
office  or  any  referendum.  Those  remedies  and
procedures  available  to  parties  claiming to be
aggrieved under the provisions of sections  9-323,
9-324,   9-328  and  9-329a  shall  apply  to  any
complaint brought by the  Attorney  General  as  a
result of the provisions of this subdivision;
    (10)   To   consult  with  the  United  States
Department  of  Justice  and  the  United   States
Attorney  for  Connecticut  on  any  investigation
pertaining to a violation of this section, section
9-12,  subsection  (a)  of section 9-17 or section
9-19b, 9-19e, 9-19g,  9-19h,  9-19i,  9-20,  9-21,
9-23a,  9-23g,  9-23h,  9-23j to 9-23o, inclusive,
9-26, 9-31a,  9-32,  9-35,  9-35b,  9-35c,  9-40a,
9-42,  9-43,  9-50a,  9-56 or 9-59 and to refer to
said department and attorney evidence bearing upon
any  such  violation  for  prosecution  under  the
provisions of the National Voter Registration  Act
of  1993,  P.L.  103-31,  as  amended from time to
time;
    (11)   To   inspect  reports  filed  with  the
Secretary  of  the  State  and  with  town  clerks
pursuant  to  chapter  150  and refer to the Chief
State's  Attorney  evidence   bearing   upon   any
violation  of  law  therein  if such violation was
committed knowingly and wilfully;
    (12)   To  intervene  in  any  action  brought
pursuant to  the  provisions  of  sections  9-323,
9-324,  9-328  and  9-329a upon application to the
court in which such action is brought when in  the
opinion  of  the court it is necessary to preserve
evidence of possible  criminal  violation  of  the
election laws;
    (13)   To   adopt   and   publish  regulations
pursuant to chapter 54 to carry out the provisions
of  section 9-7a, this section and chapter 150; to
issue upon request and publish  advisory  opinions
in   the   Connecticut   Law   Journal   upon  the
requirements  of  chapter   150,   and   to   make
recommendations to the General Assembly concerning
suggested revisions of the election laws;
    (14)   To   the   extent  that  the  Elections
Enforcement  Commission   is   involved   in   the
investigation  of  alleged  or  suspected criminal
violations  of  any  provision  of   the   general
statutes  pertaining  to  or  relating to any such
election, primary or referendum and is engaged  in
such  investigation  for the purpose of presenting
evidence  to  the  Chief  State's  Attorney,   the
Elections Enforcement Commission shall be deemed a
law enforcement agency for purposes of subdivision
(3)  of  subsection  (b) of section 1-19, provided
nothing in this  section  shall  be  construed  to
exempt the Elections Enforcement Commission in any
other respect from the  requirements  of  sections
1-15, 1-18a, 1-19 to 1-19b, inclusive, 1-21, 1-21a
and 1-21c to 1-21k, inclusive;
    (15)    To   enter   into   such   contractual
agreements as may be necessary for  the  discharge
of   its   duties,   within   the  limits  of  its
appropriated  funds   and   in   accordance   with
established procedures; and
    (16)  To  provide  the  Secretary of the State
with notice and copies of all  decisions  rendered
by  the  commission  in  contested cases, advisory
opinions and declaratory judgments,  at  the  time
such decisions, judgments and opinions are made or
issued.
    (b)  IN  THE  CASE OF A REFUSAL TO COMPLY WITH
AN ORDER OF  THE  COMMISSION  ISSUED  PURSUANT  TO
SUBDIVISION (3) OF SUBSECTION (a) OF THIS SECTION,
THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE  JUDICIAL  DISTRICT  OF
HARTFORD-NEW   BRITAIN,   ON  APPLICATION  OF  THE
COMMISSION, MAY ISSUE A FURTHER ORDER  TO  COMPLY.
FAILURE TO OBEY SUCH FURTHER ORDER MAY BE PUNISHED
BY THE COURT AS A CONTEMPT THEREOF.
    Sec.  2.  This  act  shall take effect July 1,
1997.

Approved June 6, 1997