Connecticut’s Top Election Official to Step Down

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill


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HARTFORD – Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill will resign on Thursday to spend more time taking care of her husband, who has been dealing with health issues, she announced on Tuesday.

Merrill, whose third term as the state’s chief elections official ends in six months, already announced that she is not seeking a fourth term. Merrill told the Associated Press that she needs to spend more time at home with her husband, Dr. Stephen Leach, who has been dealing with Parkinson’s disease.

Merrill said her husband’s health requires her full attention, and can’t wait the six months left in her term, in a news release on Tuesday. Merrill told the AP that she needs to be at home, and that it’s too much to try to both care for her husband and serve as Secretary of the State.

“It is after long and serious consideration, and with a heavy heart, that I have decided to resign my office as Secretary of the State at the end of this month,” Merrill said in a news release. “My family’s health, and in particular my husband’s diagnosis of a degenerative disease, requires my full attention at this time, and cannot wait the six months left to finish out my term.”

In a statement, Gov. Ned Lamont thanked Merrill for her service to Connecticut, and said that he plans to appoint someone soon to serve the rest of Merrill’s term – including overseeing this year’s elections. The responsibility for filling the vacancy falls to Lamont because the legislature is not in session, Lamont’s office said in a news release.

“Denise Merrill is a dear friend to me, and her exit from public service is a tremendous loss for the people of Connecticut,” Lamont said in his statement. “Denise has had a long history of serving the public good in Connecticut and has become one of the most respected secretaries of state in the country. I am proud to have partnered with her on our collected efforts to increase access to voter registration, increase access to casting a ballot, increase election transparency, and streamline the way businesses interact with our state government.”