FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Sam Romeo,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1997-394
Veronica Musca, Republican Registrar of
Voters, Town of Greenwich; Sharon
Vechiolla, Democratic Registrar of Voters,
Town of Greenwich; and Office of the
Registrars of Voters, Town of Greenwich,
Respondents July 8, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 3, 1998, at 
which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and 
presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
	After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and 
conclusions of law are reached:
	1.   The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(1), G.S.
	2.   By letters dated November 26, 1997, the complainant requested that the 
respondent registrars provide him with an opportunity to inspect the voting machines 
employed at the November 4, 1997, election in Greenwich.  
	3.   By letter dated December 3, 1997, the respondent registrars denied the 
complainant’s request contending that the voting machines are not public records. 
	4.   By letter dated December 5, 1997 and filed with the Commission on 
December 8, 1997, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the 
respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying him access to 
the voting machines as requested in the letters described in paragraph 2, above.  The 
complainant asked that a civil penalty be imposed upon the respondents.
	5.   Section 1-18a(5), G.S., in relevant part specifically defines “public records or 
files” to mean:  
…any recorded data or information relating to the conduct 
of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or 
retained by a public agency, whether such data or 
information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, 
photostated, photographed or recorded by any other 
method.
	6.   It is found that the voting machines employed by the Town of Greenwich at 
the November 4, 1997, election contain vote registers, which are located at the back of 
such machines, and which numerically tally the votes taken at such election.  The vote 
register is not the final determination of the election results.  To the vote register must be 
added the absentee ballot results.  This combined total then becomes the formal record, 
which is shown on the moderator’s return form and is the official record subject to public 
inspection at all times, pursuant to 9-150b, G.S.  
	7.  It is found that the voting machines employed by the Town of Greenwich at 
the November 4, 1997, election are currently stored and locked and that, in order to 
inspect the vote registers, certified mechanics must be hired by the town to unlock such 
machines.  
	8.   The complainant contends that the vote registers described in paragraph 6, 
above, constitute data or information related to the public’s business which is recorded by 
a method other than those specified in 1-18a(5), G.S., and that therefore such registers 
are “public records” within the meaning of such provision and, consequently, subject to 
his inspection pursuant to 1-19(a), G.S.      
	9.   The respondents contend that the voting machines do not fall within the scope 
of the statutory definition of “public record” and that such machines do not produce a 
“record” within the meaning of the FOI Act.  Rather, the respondents contend that the 
voting machines, through their registers, produce information, which is transferred to the 
moderator’s return, which is the official record of the election. 
	10.  Section 1-19(a), G.S., in relevant part provides that:  
[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state 
statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public 
agency, whether or not such records are required by any 
law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and 
every person shall have the right to inspect such records 
promptly during regular office or business hours…. 
(Emphasis added.)
	11.  It is found that a series of state statutes specifically address public access to 
voting machines and the records of elections.
	12.  Specifically, immediately after the election polls are closed, 9-309, G.S., in 
relevant part provides that:
…the moderator, in the presence of the other election 
officials, shall immediately lock the voting machine against 
voting and immediately open the counting compartments, 
giving a full view of all the counter numbers to all the 
election officials present.  The moderator shall…read and 
announce in distinct tones the result as shown by the 
counter numbers….  The vote so announced by the 
moderator shall be taken down by each checker and 
recorded on the tally sheets….  The counter compartment 
of the voting machine shall remain open until the statement 
of canvass and all other reports have been fully completed 
and signed by the moderator, checkers and registrars, or 
assistant registrars, as the case may be.  The result of the 
votes cast shall be publicly announced by the moderator….  
While such announcement is being made, ample 
opportunity shall be given to any person lawfully present to 
compare the results so announced with the counter dials of 
the machine…after which the doors of the voting machine 
shall be closed and locked…. (Emphasis added).   
	13.  Section 9-310, G.S., in relevant part provides:  
[a]s soon as the count is completed and ascertained as 
required in this chapter and the moderator's return 
required…has been executed and a duplicate copy thereof 
placed in one of the machines, the moderator shall close 
and lock the counting compartments and seal the operating 
lever with a numbered metal seal, and the machine shall 
remain so locked against voting or being tampered with for 
a period of fourteen days, except as provided in section 9-
311 or pursuant to an order issued by the State Elections 
Enforcement Commission.…
	14.  Section 9-266, G.S., in relevant part provides:
When the machine has been locked at the close of an 
election in the manner required by section 9-310, the 
moderator shall place all keys of the machine on a strong 
and sufficient string or wire and label the same with the 
make and number of the machine and the name of the 
municipality and the number of the ward or voting district 
therein at which used at such election, and return such keys 
to the municipal clerk with the official returns.  Except as 
provided in section 9-311, such clerk shall securely keep 
such keys and not permit the same to be taken, or any 
voting machine to be unlocked, for a period of fourteen 
days from the election, unless otherwise ordered by a court 
of competent jurisdiction, or by the State Elections 
Enforcement Commission.  All machines shall be boxed 
and collected immediately on the day after election or as 
soon thereafter as possible, and shall be stored in a place or 
places directed by the board of selectmen.
	15.  Section 9-311, G.S., in part provides for recanvassing in the case of a 
discrepancy.  In relevant part, such section provides:     
…(c)…Upon the completion of such recanvass, such 
machine shall be locked and sealed, the keys thereof shall 
immediately be returned to such clerk and such machine 
shall remain so locked until the expiration of fourteen days 
after such election or for such longer period as is ordered 
by a court of competent jurisdiction….
	16.  Section 9-328, G.S., sets forth the process for appealing election results 
through the Superior Court.  Such section provides in relevant part 
…any elector or candidate claiming that there has been a 
mistake in the count of votes cast for any such office at 
such election…may bring a complaint to any judge of the 
Superior Court…within fourteen days of such election or 
primary to any judge of the Superior Court….  Such judge 
shall forthwith order a hearing to be had upon such 
complaint, upon a day not more than five nor less than 
three days from the making of such order, and shall cause 
notice of not less than three nor more than five days to be 
given to any candidate or candidates whose election or 
nomination may be affected by the decision upon such 
hearing, to such election official, the Secretary of the State, 
the State Elections Enforcement Commission and to any 
other party or parties whom such judge deems proper 
parties thereto, of the time and place for the hearing upon 
such complaint.  Such judge shall, on the day fixed for such 
hearing and without unnecessary delay, proceed to hear the 
parties.  If sufficient reason is shown, he may order any 
voting machines to be unlocked or any ballot boxes to be 
opened and a recount of the votes cast, including absentee 
ballots, to be made….
	17.  The complainant contends that, since the statutes set forth in paragraphs 12 
through 16, above, do not mandate that voting machines remain locked beyond the 
fourteen day period after an election, 1-19(a), G.S., requires that the vote registers on 
such machines be made available for inspection upon the request of any person after such 
fourteen day period.   
	18.  However, it is noted that 9-328, G.S., anticipates that a judicial order is 
required to unlock voting machines after an election, in some instances after the 
mandatory fourteen day locking period imposed by statute.  Moreover, the Commission 
takes notice of a separate statute which provides the court with the power to examine and 
test voting machines, a grant which would appear superfluous if the complainant’s 
contention described in paragraph 17, above, is correct.  Specifically, 9-330, G.S., in 
relevant part provides that:
[a]ny judge having jurisdiction over any action brought 
under section 9-323, 9-324 or 9-328 shall have the power, 
if sufficient reason is shown, to order the examination and 
testing of any voting machines.
	19.  No part of legislation is to be treated as insignificant or unnecessary and there 
is a presumption of purpose behind every sentence, clause or phrase.  State v. Ayala, 222 
Conn. 331, 346 (1992).  There is also a presumption that legislation is enacted in view of 
existing relevant statutes and with the intention to create one harmonious body of law.  
Budkofsky v. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 177 Conn. 588, 592 (1979).  Moreover, 
the law favors a rational statutory construction and it is presumed that the legislature 
intends a sensible result.  State v. Parmalee, 197 Conn. 158, 165 (1985).  With these 
tenets in mind, it is concluded that public access to the records of elections and to the 
record contained in the vote registers at issue in this case are provided by statutes other 
than 1-19(a), G.S.  It is therefore further concluded that the respondents did not violate 
1-19(a), G.S., by denying the complainant’s request as described in paragraph 2, above. 
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of 
the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
	1.  The complaint is hereby dismissed.  
	Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular 
meeting of July 8, 1998.


_________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF 
EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO 
THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR 
AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Sam Romeo
c/o Tracy A. Marlow
3 Westend Avenue
Old Greenwich, CT 06870-1640
Veronica Musca, Republican Registrar of Voters, Town of Greenwich; Sharon Vechiolla, 
Democratic Registrar of Voters, Town of Greenwich; and Office of the Registrars of 
Voters, Town of Greenwich
c/o Atty. Valorie A. Luoma
101 Field Point Road
P.O. Box 2540
Greeenwich, CT 06836-2540

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission




FIC1997-394/FD/tcg/07141998