Anatomy Of Another Botched Election

Paul Bass PhotosAs darkness fell on New Haven Thursday night, citizens rallied on the Green against perceived threats to democracy in the wake of this week’s election.

A block away, in a locked basement bunker in the 200 Orange St. municipal office building with the door window papered over, the election wasn’t over yet.

Behind that door, four people, some of them running on just a few hours of sleep over three days, pored over thousands of ballots and reentered data to try to record for the third? … fourth?  … time how many New Haveners voted for which candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, attorney general, state senator, and a host of other offices and ballot questions. The only way anyone would happen to know they were there would be walk to the rear of 200 Orange, down toward the garage, and peer through the one lit wire-mesh-covered window.

The tabulators thought they’d completed the counting and reporting process an evening earlier. They had even sent final numbers to the secretary of the state’s office secure official computerized database. Then they discovered they’d failed to save the absentee ballot totals.

Back to another painstaking recount.

There were no independent monitors in the basement room, G-4. The statewide Republicans had pulled back their observers, called home their posse of lawyers, withdrawn a court challenge over New Haven’s faltering election process, days ago. The statewide elections had already been called. More than a day earlier. The victors claimed victory; the vanquished, defeat.

All 168 of Connecticut’s other municipalities, from the smallest towns to Bridgeport, the state’s biggest city, had counted their votes, checked them, reported them, moved on. The last other town to report, Middlebury, had its official numbers posted by mid-day Wednesday, according to secretary of the state spokesperson Gabe Rosenberg.

But in what has become a ritual on even-numbered years, New Haven was last. Long last. Confused. Rechecking, restarting, the fundamental work of democracy: Making sure every citizen’s vote is counted. Performing government’s role in safeguarding the fundamental right of American democracy.

A reckoning would await. Already, Downtown Alder Abby Roth, who saw the breakdown firsthand as she volunteered to help Tuesday, has introduced a resolution this week (cosponsored by Alders Anna Festa and Steve Winter) for a public hearing on what went wrong and how to fix it. (Read the text of her resolution here.)

As midnight turned to Friday, the four people’s work was finally completed. One of the four, citywide Head Moderator Arnold Amore II, signed off on the results. Another, Democratic Registrar of Voters Shannel Evans, the city’s top elections official responsible for conducting elections and then counting the votes, made sure these final numbers were sent.

Finally, she could go home. But she had one last piece of business to conduct: An explanation.

At 12:13 a.m. Evans emailed a statement acknowledging what the entire state political system had been shaking its head about for days. (The full statement appears at the bottom of this article.)

“There were problems,” she wrote.

Yes. There were.

Problems Start Early

Paul Bass PhotoThose problems started pretty much as soon as the polls opened on Tuesday morning.

Alder Roth’s constituents were confused because many of them get sent to vote in different locations on odd- and even-numbered years. That’s because state representative and senate districts don’t align neatly with ward boundaries. Many Ward 7 voters who vote at 200 Orange St. in municipal election years, for instance, are supposed to vote at the Elm Street Library, Troup School, or Wexler Grant School in even-numbered state election years. This year the city’s Registrar of Voters website informed them all still to vote at 200 Orange, though, until Roth alerted the city on Oct. 18. Other wards have similar problems.

Tuesday morning people were flooding the Registrar of Voters’ Office with calls about where to vote. Many couldn’t get through. So they flooded the mayor’s office with calls. Around 11 a.m. Mayor Toni Harp (who has no authority over the running of elections) and two aides walked to the registrar’s office to convey the concerns.

Then machines started jamming. That happened in other cities, as well. People came in from the rain and dripped on ballots; their wet ballots jammed tabulators when officials fed them in.

A dramatically understaffed Election Day Registration (EDR) and voting operation led to four-hour waits for hundreds of people at a time at City Hall. This had happened in the two previous statewide election years. (Read about that here and here.) So Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and New Haven Mayor Harp, among others, warned the registrar’s office to have more deputized workers on hand to process last-day registrations into the state voter database so people could cast ballots in time.

Their urgings went unheeded: For most of the day, only two assistant registrars were on hand for the job. Yet again a logjam was created.

Paul Bass PhotoAs people on line chanted, “Let us vote!,” a platoon of Yale Law School volunteers and a team dispatched by the secretary of the state’s office arrived to help clear the backlog as the 8 p.m. voting deadline approached. The Yalies were deputized to access the state database to register new voters.

Even then, an unorthodox mass oral affirmation was conducted in which dozens of waiting voters attested to never having voted here before; amid the chaos, a Republican attorney took photos and prepared an affidavit for a legal effort (since dropped) not to count those votes.

Meanwhile, at 33 different polling places (some subdivided further because of gerrymandered state legislative districts), poll workers struggled to deal with a larger-than-expected turnout.

One poll worker described the challenge in a comment posted to a previous Independent article this week:

“Those working at the polls have to be there from 5 a.m. until every ballot has been through the tabulator, reports printed, and results posted on the wall, all equipment packed for return to storage. All check-in books balanced to that ballots cast equal names checked off.

“As an Asst. Registrar, my day started at 4 a.m., picking up the tabulators with my Republican counterpart and transporting them to the polling place,” one worker later wrote in a comment posted to an Independent article about the election problems. “It ended at 11 p.m. when we had delivered the machines and tabulation report tapes back to the Registrar’s office.

“The checkers, ballot monitors and other poll workers were at the polling place from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. They got one 20-minute lunch break and no one got a supper break because it was too busy. Not many people want to work a 17-hour shift plus attend unpaid training prior to Election Day. Most of these workers are retired senior citizens, as younger people have jobs and other commitments precluding their service.

“Lastly, the weather stank. ... We had to go out in the pouring rain so that non-ambulatory voters could cast their ballots while in their cars.”

“Did It Rain Only In New Haven?”

Christopher Peak PhotoAfter the polls closed, poll workers all over town — at Wexler-Grant, Troup, Edgewood, Mauro Sheridan, Truman School, Wilbur Cross — waited for hours, well past midnight, for new machines to arrive so they could re-feed thousands of ballots to be tabulated. Some of those machines broke, too. People were tired; they’d been up since before 6 a.m. Tuesday and were trying to feed as many sheets as possible into the tabulators without messing up.

Jams occurred in other cities, too. But they apparently happened more here, and New Haven took longer to fix the problems, encountering new problems when other machines malfunctioned for other reasons.

As one participant in the overnight wait remarked, “Did it only rain in New Haven?”

 

In at least one case, in Ward 25, officials tried hand-counting ballots beginning at 1:42 a.m., then gave up hours later and resumed feeding ballots back into a fourth and fifth machine brought to the polling location.

“Send” Glitch?

Markeshia Ricks Photo

More counting continued throughout Wednesday. Finally, New Haven thought it was sending the full results around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Head Moderator Amore.

Then came what appeared to be yet another computer “glitch,” he said Thursday morning.“The work that I did with a team of people did not save.”

Amore, a local attorney by trade, had been awake and on the tabulation job nonstop since 6 a.m. Tuesday except for a three-hour nap Wednesday afternoon.

“I am a litigator. I’m used to working under the pressures of trial. I can stay sharp” and count ballots even when tired, he said. But even he needed that power nap to return to the counting job, he said.

The team couldn’t just resend the information, after the Wednesday night glitch, Amore said. It was gone.

Gabe Rosenberg of the secretary of the state’s office said he recognizes the glitch to which Amore referred: “That ‘zeroed out’ error is one that gets reported to us all the time, and it happens when they don’t save what they are working on and close it down, then come back and expect it to still be there.”

Rosenberg said the office isn’t sure whether the New Haven team went to the wrong screen or otherwise sought to enter data in the wrong places. He also said other cities succeed in tabulating the votes in part by having enough staff to begin with, and then hiring fresh workers to perform data entry after the polls close at 8 p.m. “so you don’t have people who have just worked 18-hour days and are completely wiped responsible for putting numbers in.”

Surgeon Dispatched To Bunker

Paul Bass PhotoWhatever the reason for New Haven’s umpteenth glitch, Amore and Evans returned to the subterranean bunker in the Hall of Records Thursday morning to start over with the absentees and inputting all the results from all the races back into the computer system. Amore said they were scrambling yet again to count ballots by hand and record and report New Haven’s election results. He said he was too busy to explain why in more depth.

To the rest of the state, it appeared that all of New Haven results had been entered. The secretary of the state’s website informed the public that “10 percent” of New Haven’s — and therefore Connecticut’s — results were in. It showed Ned Lamont receiving 24,242 votes in New Haven on his two combined lines. It showed Stefanowski receiving 4,112 on his two lines. It showed Lamont collecting 687,453 combined votes statewide, Stefanowski, 648,782.

Final total, right?

Wrong. Tallies of New Haven’s absentee ballots were still missing.

The work resumed in Room G4 in the upper basement of the Hall of Records at 200 Orange St., where that team of four officials, including Amore and Evans, labored all through the night Thursday finally to get the job done.

The team included Shirley Surgeon, an attorney sent down from the secretary of the state’s office. She spent eight hours in the bunker helping the local team enter data properly, according to office spokesperson Rosenberg.

As the clock struck midnight Friday morning, New Haven finally released the official tally of how its citizens voted in Tuesday’s elections.

The late numbers revealed an even more overwhelming victory margin than previously realized for Democratic gubernatorial candidate (and now Governor-Elect) Ned Lamont: He beat Republican Bob Stefanowski in New Haven by 23,278 votes — 27,900 to 4,622.

It was by far Lamont’s largest margin in any Connecticut community. And 5,000 votes larger than the state-leading margins that had put his predecessor into office.

Click here to view the final eight-page Head Moderator’s Return document submitted overnight to the Secretary of the State’s Office with final official results of the New Haven vote for all candidates and questions on Tuesday’s ballots.

Amore was asked Friday morning for a further explanation of why the process took more than that extra final day to complete after the computer glitch. He responded by text.

“The IT issue was fixed. All votes are in,” he wrote. “No further comment.”

“There Were Mistakes”

Markeshia Ricks PhotoAfter results were sent around midnight, Shannel Evans emailed the Independent a statement at 12:13 a.m. Friday taking responsibility for the mess.

Following is the full text of Evans’ statement:

As the Democratic Registrar of Voters, it is my obligation and duty to make certain that elections in New Haven give every eligible voter the opportunity to vote, and to ensure that votes in New Haven are processed and counted as efficiently as possible. Despite extraordinarily high numbers of voter participation and voting machine malfunctions, my office worked through the night to ensure clear and transparent counts of New Haven’s vote total. My office is proud to facilitate an election with such high participation.

I am responsible for what happens at the polls on election day, and I acknowledge that there were problems. My office and myself will have better plans to prevent long lines and late vote counts.

Therefore, I am initiating a process to address the short comings that we experienced. We will continue to double down on efforts by establishing a task force that can identify the reasons for the problems that we faced during this election. I will request that the task force also propose a set of best practices that will minimize wait times at the polls, facilitate efficient election day registration, and ensure prompt vote-counts. This task force will be open and transparent to the public.

It is my honor and privilege to serve as New Haven’s Democratic Registrar of Voters, I look forward to leading a process that makes our elections accessible to everyone who is eligible to participate in them.

A Final Note

Christopher Peak PhotoThank you to the dozens of New Haveners, including the pictured high school students, who spent election night racing around the city to provide our readers with real-time results from the voting machines.

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posted by: AverageTaxpayer on November 9, 2018  9:43am

2016: 41,000 — approx NHV voters
2014: 26,700 — approx NHV voters
2018: 33,100 — approx NHV voters

In New Haven this year was an amazing display of voter turnout, (24% greater than last off-cycle) and I think Governor-elect Ned Lamont definitely owes Trump a thank you note!

posted by: HewNaven on November 9, 2018  9:51am

Not a pancea, but ‘early voting’ might help us: https://ctmirror.org/2018/04/19/house-passes-resolution-allow-early-voting/

posted by: Elizabethaiken on November 9, 2018  11:17am

Are you going release the voting data by wards?

[Ed.: Yes. They haven’t completed that form yet. We are being promised perhaps by day’s end. If not, we’re hoping for Monday.]

posted by: Noteworthy on November 9, 2018  1:54pm

Democratic Registrar Shannel Evans should resign. This election was a disgrace and all the excuses about voter turnout and rain are lame. There is bad weather all over the country. Somehow they figure it out. Has Evans never seen bad weather before?

Same day registration should end the night before an election. If people are too lazy, uninformed or disengaged, waiting until the last minute to register so they can follow the herd mentality is not our responsibility to handle. It creates chaos. You have to have ID to get in a federal building, some commercial buildings; you have to get to the train on time and the airport on time - nobody says, oh sorry, you showed up late and are stuck in the TSA line so we’ll just hold the plane. Screw that people. This was done so that democrats didn’t have to find registered voters to drag out to vote - they just had to grab people who had a pulse. This is not democracy.

posted by: DrJay on November 9, 2018  2:20pm

Delores Knight is listed as the Republican registrar of voters. Does she do anything?
Each registrar is paid $60,000. We can find better qualified people to do this job for that pay.

Let’s amend the charter to make this an appointed position so we can fire someone who is o is incompetent.

posted by: 1644 on November 9, 2018  2:47pm

This article is riddled with typographical errors.  I suspect the author is as sleep-deprived as the people who counted those ballots.  I suspect those counts, like this article, contain many unintentional errors.  Frankly, I wish everyone involved had just gotten 24 hours rest before trying to finish the count.  Litigator or not, no one thinks well when sleep deprived.  It’s why we require pilots and truck drivers to get a certain amount of rest.

posted by: Esbey on November 9, 2018  3:33pm

The correct solution is to move in the opposite direction of Noteworthy’s voter-suppression schemes.  Unless the state (like many European nations) is going to issue IDs for free to every resident with (yes) a pulse, an ID requirement is a poll tax, intended to prevent the poor from voting. Comparing voting to flying commercial is outrageous. One is a right and the other a privilege.

We need a modern voting system, some combination of vote-by-mail and early voting. Ending registration before Tuesday is fine if you can early vote at the same time you register.  These systems are used elsewhere with no problems.  Our system? Huge problem.

posted by: 1644 on November 9, 2018  4:05pm

Essay: CT charges only $8 for an state identification card.  Changing that amount to zero would not be too costly, so the poll tax issue is eliminated.  The US and Uk are two of the few advanced countries without national identification cards.  We require identification and more to purchase a firearm, also a constitutional right.  Requiring identification and pre-registration shouldn’t be a problem for Connecticut’s legal residents.  We’ve being living without early voting for nearly 400 years, and in some towns one still needs to show up at a meeting to vote.  We know when the elections are: it’s not hard to register in advance, one can even do it on-line.

posted by: ctddw on November 9, 2018  4:12pm

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and New Haven Mayor Harp obviously don’t have the leadership skills necessary to be taken seriously if their warning went unheeded. And based on the fact that New Haven planned on loading the ballot boxes with new Democratic votes they certainly should have know their was going to be record numbers trying to register. You really expect people to buy this dog and pony show. This is just one more example of negative press that gets generated from our city due to inept politicians playing the blame game. .

posted by: ShadowBoxer on November 9, 2018  4:37pm

I have voted in every election in CT for over thirty years, having lived in big cities such as Hartford and Stamford as well as suburbs.  Never in my life was there a more disastrous election than in 2016.  I was so distraught I thought only one person could do more harm than the Russians could: Registrar Evans.  When I contacted my alder and city hall, I was told she was warned back in 2015 to participate in training but blew it off.  I was also told such a fiasco would never happen again. 

Now, here we are in 2018, and its fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.  So Evans was “warned” AGAIN to have adequate staff and blew that admonition off too???  The whole future of the state was at stake, and this political appointee is negligent - inviting as the ACLU said, a lawsuit.  Will I as a taxpayer of New Haven pay for it, because of Evans??

I have contacted several alders and will be calling for a hearing.  If Evans doesn’t resign, than a lawsuit against New Haven, hitting all taxpayers in the pocket, might be the only way to remover her.

I am all for giving people the benefit of the doubt and we all make mistakes, but the administration of Election Day is as consequential and serious as piloting a 747 or brain surgery.  She has proven time, and time, and time again, that she is simply incapable - and worse - UNWILLING to heed the warnings of the Secretary of State.  Since she can’t be fired, she should RESIGN.  All alders should pressure her to do so.

When I went to vote Tues, to avoid the fiasco that was 2016, I spend an hour calling to TRIPLE CHECK my polling place and was directed to the library, but once there, was then directed to city hall, only there to be directed to Orange St.  Once there, they ran out of pens!

This was worse than a third world country.  Did Evans not HEAR OF A BLUE WAVE??  Did she not contemplate rain, or pens?

This is EXACTLY why youth are so disillusioned with government.  Incompetent, negligent, w/ no recourse!

posted by: Jim425 on November 9, 2018  4:40pm

As a ward moderator I had 1st hand experience on Tuesday. While I agree with many of the facts mentioned in the article I would like to make a few corrections:
1) The “tabulators” ( the machines that you feed the completed ballots into) were delivered to each
polling place along with the other election day supplies prior to election day and did not have to be returned to the registrar. A “tablet” required for the IDV voting system (impaired voters) did have to be picked up and returned but it was simply a tablet computer weighing less than lb.
2) The staff of the registrar’s office were incredibly helpful throughout the day/night & prior to election day.
3) The reason for the different polling places in odd/even numbered years boils down to the
aldermanic redistricting after the 2010 census when the alders failed to follow the state       legislative district lines.  Alders wanted to protect their turf and were warned of the possible       outcome when the redistricting was approved. This however does not excuse the registrar’s
office sending out wrong information concerning polling locations.
4) The City should not be responsible for paying for a vast EDR system.The mandate comes from the state (via HAVA?)and the state should pick up the tab for this process.
5) More “election day staff” needs to be hired by the registrar’s office. As mentioned above the staff was incredibly helpful when they could be reached - often phones went unanswered and there were very long waits when materials were returned.
6) I don’t know what preventative maintenance, if any, was done on the tabulators. At the polling place where I was there were no problems at all.
7) Finally, congratulations to all the election day workers who did manage to do their best during a hectic day. Remember that many of the folks are elderly and at least where I was stationed not one break in the line all day. Minimal rest room time. Just above minimum wage paid to most.

Thank You All!!

posted by: Esbey on November 9, 2018  6:26pm

1644:

There is zero evidence of in-person voting fraud ever effecting a US election and the national commission set up by DJT to prove the existence of voting fraud disbanded itself in shame, with nothing to show. On the other hand, intentional voter suppression changes election results all the time (just happened in GA). 

When I google “CT non-driver id” it says $22.50 to obtain and $22.50 to renew and a potential $5 processing fee, plus a trip to the DMV office, which could take hours including bus transport + waiting time. For hourly workers, time is $$.  For people without child care, its worse.  It’s a poll tax, which is the reason you like it, you think it suppresses voting in favor of candidates that you support and you are correct.

This country put up with chattel slavery and legalized Jim Crow and open racial voting suppression—-backed by hideous violence—-for over 350 years. And during those years?  No government ID needed for white folks to vote, no sir. Your appeal to the 400-year long sad American history of restricting the franchise does not move me. In the year 1644, New Haven denied the right of Catholics and Baptists to vote, there’s your 400 year history. 

(PS, the US constitution grants the “right to bear arms” only in the context of a “well-regulated militia.”)

posted by: Ex-HVN on November 9, 2018  6:47pm

RE: IDs and supposed Poll Tax

For NON-First Time Voters
You do not need to present a Drivers License in order to vote
You can present any ID with Name and a Signature, such as a Credit Card or DSS EBT Gray Card
-OR-
An ID with name and Photo and no signature, such as school IDs
-OR-
You can tell the checker you do not wish to present an ID, you will be asked to step out of line and see the Moderator or Asst. Registrar and fill out and sign Form ED-681 entitled “Signatures of Electors Who Did No Present ID (Form 3) swearing or affirming that the elector whose name appears on the official check list is the elector signing the form.

At 3:45 on Tuesday, I saw a former student of mine waiting while his mother voted. I asked him if he was voting and he said I forgot my wallet, I don’t want to walk home and back in the rain. I took him to the Moderator’s table and had him fill out the ED-681 and he voted.

Each election we get some b*llbusters who refuse to present ID on principle and we offer the form. We also get those who say they don’t have an ID. Some of these are sent to check on poll workers and make sure we know that non-first time voters could vote without ID. We do our best to make sure no one is disenfranchised.

That said, there are names on the Voters List with an asterisk (*). These people MUST present ID. They may have registered by mail or at DMV and the election officials must verify identity, OR it has been placed by the Federal Government when electing Federal offices (even years) and is in compliance with HAVA (Help America Vote Act).

ID Requirement
Acceptable forms of ID to fulfill federal HAVA requirement are a current and valid photo ID that shows the elector’s name and address, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

CT ID Requirement
Any acceptable HAVA ID satisfies all CT requirements.

There is no poll tax…......a UI bill is enough

posted by: 1644 on November 9, 2018  7:38pm

Essay;  Whether its $8 or $22 or $30, it’s still not much and even our state could issue the identification for free without any meaningful fiscal impact.  Have elections been affected by fraud?  We don’t know.  We don’t know because we do very little to verify that electors are actually qualified to vote.  Many local and a few state rep. elections are decided by a handful of votes, some tie.  I know it doesn’t happen in New Haven, but it does in places like Branford, a lot.  So, yes, it does matter whether someone actually lives in the district they say they live, or even in the town, and it does matter if they are legally entitled to vote.  As for DMV’s issues. much can be laid to the Malloy administration’s wanting to protect state employees.  The lines would be shorter if our AAA offices could process members’ renewals, but Malloy’s Commissioner vetoed that idea.
  BTW, I am all for putting an “express” DMV office in downtown New Haven.  There’re lots of empty storefronts where one could go.  Not just non-drivers, but area workers could go there during the day. The Hamden office isn’t convenient for drivers, anyway, as it’s nowhere near an interstate.
  Also BTW, in 1644 there were no Baptists or Catholics in New Haven.  Episcopalians couldn’t vote until the merger with Connecticut.  In 1659, Boston was hanging Quakers.  The requirement for voting in New Haven was church membership, and slaves could be and were church members
  .You are correct that the 2nd amendment says the need for a well-regulated militia is a justification for the right to bear arms (established in the 1689 Bill of Rights), but doesn’t make it a pre-condition.  Nonetheless, textually, the 2d amendment need not be applied to the states, and wasn’t until recently so that states could disarm blacks.  CT’s 15th article, though, does protect the right to bear arms in defense of self. I am also all for a draft that would force everyone to serve in defense of the state.

posted by: narcan on November 9, 2018  11:20pm

If New Haven wants a manageable and trustworthy polling process, they should stop same day registration and validate voters Connecticut issued identification.

posted by: robn on November 10, 2018  6:49am

Thanks again to the suburban union controlled BOA for their shameful 2010 gerrymandering (presented to the public as a “diversity” effort). This also contributed to this mess.

posted by: JCFremont on November 10, 2018  7:11am

@1644 New Haven can still claim most incompetent. What is going on in Florida and now Arizona is just plain Corruption.
If the Yale student body was still perceived as the Yale of “Yale, God and Country” how loud would the cry from The Townies, not only would they disallow them from registration but would probably calls for jailing them for fraud..Any confidence that 2020 is going to be any less chaotic in New Haven?

posted by: Ex-HVN on November 10, 2018  8:26am

@1644
You are WRONG about AAA and DMV. DMV did not stop AAA from processing renewals. AAA in southern CT told DMV they would not process license renewals for non-members. DMV told them all or none, and AAA bailed on the program.

In northern CT, AAA (Automobile Club of Hartford) said we’ll process everyone, but will charge non-members a service fee of $5.  I drove to Glastonbury and renewed my license there…happy to pay $5 and not wait 3 hours in Hamden.

When AAA in southern CT was still a local organization based in Hamden they cared about CT motorists. Now that they sold out to Automobile Club of New England and are headquartered in RI they could care less.

posted by: 1644 on November 10, 2018  11:24am

ex-HVN: No, I am not wrong.  I hope you conduct your electoral duties with more care than you read.  I shall repeat what I said so you may re-read it:  “The lines would be shorter if our AAA offices could process members’ renewals, but Malloy’s Commissioner vetoed that idea.”
Note that I spoke only of members’ renewals.  AAA offered to continue helping its members, but would not agree to continue to process non-members’ DMV renewals, at least not for what DMV would pay or allow them to charge.The “all or none stance” of DMV made lines at state run offices longer than they had to be, as AAA members who could have gone to their AAA offices now were clogging the DMV offices. 
  I used to go to AAA in Branford and renew for no extra fee. On the DMV site, it’s now $6 for members and $8 for non-members at the Hartford area.
https://ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=808&q=244578
  West Haven City Hall charges everyone $8.
The Hamden DMV is a disaster.  It’s poorly located, and poorly staffed.  Turning in plates took three hours on a weekday.  The limited weekend hours are worse, and it’s closed on Mondays because state employees only work 35 hours a week.  For now, I guess I will drive to Old Saybrook, which isn’t as bad as Hamden, at least during the week.
  BTW, I and my neighbor have always gotten good service from AAA.  For me, it’s the servicing garages, not the call center location, that matters, and those garages have been constant in Branford and Guilford for 50 plus years.