The Republican primary election in Ansonia Aug. 14 includes a race that usually goes uncontested — registrar of voters.
Political upstart David Papcin — the chairman of the local Republican Town Committee at the age of 20 — is challenging Nancy Valentine, the longtime GOP registrar and a former two-term mayor.
This week the Valley Indy sent a list of five questions to each candidate. Valentin’s responses are below. Click here for Papcin’s answers.
First, basic background info . . .
Born in Providence, RI; resided in Connecticut — same address in Ansonia since 1975. Resided in Derby, 1973-1975. Husband is William J Zwack — married 32 years; one adult daughter, two adult stepchildren and five grandchildren.
Why are you running for registrar of voters?
I’m seeking re-election to the office of Registrar of Voters because experience counts, experience matters, education counts and education matters.
What about your background makes you a good candidate?
Served as deputy registrar learning the job from the ground up for a period of eight years and have served the City of Ansonia proudly as the Registrar of Voters for the past 8 years, having been elected as ROV in 2012 2014, 2016 and now a primary in 2018.
The integrity of elections is crucial to good government. There is no city job description for this position. It is a job written in the Connecticut General Statutes — the laws for the state dealing with legislative and election law.
CT Statutes are divided into Titles, Chapters and Sections that are part of the everyday job.
The State of Connecticut now mandates that Registrars of Voters be certified for the job and the City has invested thousands of dollars on my certification. I have served the electorate of the City with integrity and have a camaraderie with office staff.
There are no politics in the Ansonia Registrar of Voters office, just a high level of integrity. Duties include knowledge of ConnVerse state system; new voter registrations, implementation of Federal HAVA bill; maintaining voter files – active, inactive, deleted; monthly & yearly National Voter Registration Act reports; daily DMV reports/changes/CVRS system; correlate incoming and outgoing mail; news releases; correspond with State of CT; ordering supplies & equipment; filing State and Federal forms; financial/budget activities; maintain all office financial records & duties; coordinate mandated voter registration for town high schools; mandated yearly canvass – verification of eligible voters; training of procedures – new laws, training all poll workers; attend two conventions per year for training by SOTS & Registrar of Voters Association; all election day activities – poll set up, site equipment, security & privacy issues and State reporting of all elections.
I am the Republican Registrar of Voters and I am the best candidate for the job.
What steps or initiatives will you take to encourage voter turnout?
Primaries in August are not the norm for the voter but I have been getting the word out for my re-election campaign and will continue to do so through Aug. 13 to remind registered Republicans to get out to vote.
How many political wards should the city have and why?
Wards in the City have been discussed in the past, losing a recent referendum by a few votes.
Charter revision will be discussing this matter one more time. Experience tells me, as I have done extensive research statewide, that the size of our city, being only 6.2 square miles, and a declining voter population (right now below 9,000 voters) calls for 1 to 3 polling locations, i.e., the Town of Oxford has 10,000 voters and has worked well with only one voting location.
The savings of tax dollars, reduction in staffing and the expeditious reporting of elections would be a significant improvement.
But the matter lies with Charter Revision and the Board of Aldermen, with the public input, on what would be presented to the electorate taxpaying community.
Primaries for registrars of voters are unusual. Republican critics of Mayor Cassetti’s administration have said Mr. Papcin is backed by the mayor, and Mrs. Valentine is being targeted — Alderman Phil Tripp said “It’s called kiss the ring or get the boot” in a comment on Facebook. How would you respond to that perception?
Primaries are unusual for the Registrar of Voters office — last one being in the 1990’s for Ansonia — and the office of Registrar should not be tossed around like a football.
The integrity of elections is crucial to good government and politics has no place in this office. So let’s let the democratic process come into play with one man/woman casting one vote.
My campaign for this re-election is summed up with a favorite quote – “I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” -Abraham Lincoln
PS: You have never seen and will never see my campaign signs on city property and never has any of my campaign literature ever been placed in home mailboxes, both being illegal. Some candidates know the law and abide and respect the law and others do not.