Letter to the editor: Give reforming local election practices a look

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Few citizens have had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in local politics in two states, including Springfield and Boston, Mass. and Naugatuck.

Connecticut is unique in electing local officials, and Naugatuck is unique to Connecticut in holding May Monday elections.

Approximately 70 percent of U.S. cities, towns, townships, and villages elect chief local leaders by the system of non-partisan local elections, whereas each candidate is required to gather a significant number of voter signatures without regard to party.

Once the signatures are verified a preliminary election is held-the field is narrowed to the top two vote getters and a final election takes place.

No political party is mentioned on the ballot.

This system opens up the process to a wider cross section of talented men and women. I have respect for those on local city and town committees who endorse Connecticut candidates. Yet, the system is too narrow, too limited, and occurs too far away in time from the final election, four months down the road.

Another aspect of local elections in Connecticut is the absentee ballot.

In March 2001, I won the Democratic primary on the voting machines yet lost on the absentee ballots. Any scientific review of data would show that absentee votes should more or less reflect the votes at the polling places.

In Connecticut the difference between absentee votes are generally lopsided. We need to take a hard look at the absentee system in Connecticut.

As many of my friends know I have a hobby of swimming the English Channel, more times than any American. Yet, a record that I am far more proud of is that I have campaigned at more doorsteps and had personal contact with voters in Connecticut and Massachusetts than most local politicians in New England.

Let us look at reform of Connecticut local election laws.

Peter Jurzynski
Naugatuck
Former mayoral candidate