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Carolyn Thornberry Resigns as West Hartford Registrar of Voters

West Hartford Town Hall. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Democratic Registrar of Voters Carolyn Thornberry submitted her notice of resignation on Friday.

West Hartford Town Hall. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Town Hall. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

Some major changes in West Hartford’s Registrar of Voters office took place Friday afternoon, with Alice Weibel assuming the position of Democratic Registrar of Voters effective immediately.

Weibel was the deputy registrar, but only since earlier Friday when former Deputy Registrar Nancy Dean submitted her resignation. Weibel was appointed by Thornberry, just before Thornberry submitted her own resignation letter.

According to Town Clerk Essie Labrot, no reasons for the resignations were provided by either Thornberry or Dean. Labrot said that Weibel had in the past served as a deputy registrar for many years and has remained involved with the election process in West Hartford.

“I deeply appreciate Carolyn’s service and leadership both on the Town Council and as registrar, where she has helped us modernize an office that desperately needed it,” West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka said Friday afternoon. Thornberry, who was elected Democratic Registrar in 2010, formerly served on the Town Council for eight years.

Slifka said that Thornberry’s resignation came as a surprise, but he is very happy that she got the town through a very smooth election and will give the town the greatest amount of time to get the new registrar prepared for what will be a very challenging 2016 election year.

Labrot said there will be several elections next year, including the Presidential Preference Primary on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, state primary in August, and the Presidential election in November. There will also be new technology with electronic poll books in place for voting in 2016 and new election night reporting requirements, Labrot said. All registrars must now become certified by the Secretary of State’s office as well.

“Next year will be a challenging year for the registrars,” Labrot said. In addition to the technology, it will be the first year that Election Day Registration (EDR) will be in force for a national contest. In past presidential election years, individuals who were not registered could come to the Town Clerk’s office and cast a paper ballot for president. Labrot said that there were between 800 and 1,000 who did that.

“We anticipate next year that there will be 800-1,000 wanting to register on Election Day next year,” Labrot said.

Slifka said that West Hartford has been working hard since 2012 to make the registrar’s office run more smoothly, and added that he and Minority Leader Denise Hall are committed to maintaining an oversight role to ensure that things continue to work properly.

Beth Kyle was elected in 2014 as the Republican Registrar of Voters.

“Carolyn’s knowledge is a huge loss, but I appreciate what she did with the timing to allow us to get the new registrar in place to prepare for the next election cycle,” said Slifka.

“She may be leaving her term early, but she is leaving the office far better than she found it,” Slifka said.

Both Democratic and Republican registrars are elected to their positions. They are paid a $30,000 stipend, and deputy registrars are paid a $15,500 stipend, Labrot said.

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