Get to Know the Candidates for Secretary of the State

The Secretary of the State is the person with the most authority over what elections are like for Connecticut voters. Learn more about the Secretary of the State’s role and get to know the candidates in the ACLU of Connecticut Rise PAC survey responses below.

1. What is the Secretary of the State’s role?

A.What is the Secretary of the State’s role?

A.

The Secretary of the State of Connecticut is elected to a four-year term. They oversee the administration of elections and keep official state records.

The Secretary of the State is the person with the most authority over what elections are like for Connecticut voters. Connecticut has a very de-centralized election system, with local registrars of voters and town clerks exerting a lot of authority over what voting looks like in each town. The Constitution and state laws also dictate some of what voting in Connecticut is like. But the Secretary of the State provides guidance to local election officials and has a lot of power to create statewide procedures for voting.

The Secretary of the State:

  • proposes, and lobbies for and against, legislation around voting rights and elections;
  • uses their visibility to draw attention to different voting rights issues, and to raise awareness about the existence of different elections;
  • uses their visibility to draw attention to voter registration events and opportunities;
  • administers all state and federal elections in Connecticut.

2. Who is on the ballot in 2022?

A.Who is on the ballot in 2022?

A.

In 2022, the following candidates are running to become the next Secretary of the State:

Dominic Rapini (Republican)
Stephanie Thomas (Democrat)

The current Secretary of the State is Mark Kohler, who was appointed by Governor Lamont to complete the term of former Secretary of the State Denise Merrill when she left office. Mark Kohler is not running for the position.

There will also be a question on the ballot, asking Connecticut voters whether our state should amend the state Constitution to allow the legislature to permit in-person early voting. A “yes” vote on the early voting ballot question would be a vote for early voting as an option in Connecticut.

3. What’s at stake in 2022?

A.What’s at stake in 2022?

A.

Voting rights are on the ballot in 2022, both through a ballot question about early voting and the fact that voters are about to choose our next Secretary of the State. All voters should know where candidates stand before they vote. 

People often assume Connecticut has better voting rights laws than we do. We’re one of only four states without in-person early voting, and our barriers to voting rights are among the worst in the country. The next Secretary of the State will play an important role in shaping whether Connecticut prioritizes racial justice and thriving communities by improving access to the ballot box, especially for Black and Latinx voters, or not. 

We’ve asked candidates for Secretary of the State to make their views known on key equity issues facing Connecticut residents, such as questions about whether they support making sure people who are incarcerated do not lose their right to vote, and no-excuse absentee voting as an option for everyone. We also asked each candidate where they stand on the early voting ballot question.

4. Important dates to remember

A.Important dates to remember

A.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. – if you are in line to vote by 8 p.m., stay in line.

The deadline to register online or via mail to vote is November 1, 2022, although you can also register to vote in-person on Election Day at a designated Election Day registration location (which may or may not be the same as your polling place).

5. Where do candidates stand?

A.Where do candidates stand?

A.

The ACLU of Connecticut Rise PAC sent a survey via email to the candidates for Secretary of the State. In that survey, we ask the candidates to make their views known on key equity issues facing Connecticut residents, such as questions about whether they support the ballot question to allow early voting, making sure people who are incarcerated do not lose their right to vote, and no-excuse absentee voting as an option for everyone. We asked all candidates to complete their survey responses by October 7, 2022. 

Learn more about the candidates running for Secretary of the State by reviewing the ACLU of Connecticut Rise PAC questionnaires they completed:

Dominic Rapini (Republican) - On September 14, 2022, Michele Gregorio of the Dominic Rapini campaign responded as follows: "Thank you for your emails. The campaign and candidate are not participating in surveys."

Stephanie Thomas (Democrat) (Pending)

Note: Candidates who have not responded are marked (Pending) and may or may not submit responses.

Note: The ACLU of Connecticut Rise PAC does not endorse or oppose candidates for office.

Note: Paid for by the ACLU of Connecticut Rise PAC. This message was made independent of any candidate or political party. Additional information regarding the ACLU of Connecticut Rise PAC can be found on the SEEC website. Top contributors: American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, Inc.