HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Friday, Jan. 6, marks two years since the U.S. Capitol was under siege by a mob. There have been criminal convictions, a January 6th Commission Report, and an ongoing Department of Justice investigation.
At the core, keeping democracy safe and avoiding future chaos has been the focus of lawmakers.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he awoke to relieve the horror of two years ago.
“I remember the dash literally from the floor of the United States Senate.”
Armed Capitol police evacuated lawmakers.
Blumenthal said emotions were high.
“Right away, we could hear the sounds of the attack, the sights of the insurrection through the windows, the mob carrying pipes and bats.”
The vice president was secluded.
“Jan. 6, 2021, was an attempted insurrection,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said. “It was an attempted coup. And thankfully, our institutions did not break.”
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, nearly 1,000 people, including seven from Connecticut, have been charged in connection with the attack.
Approximately 140 police officers were assaulted at the U.S. Capitol that day.
These public servants say that day is a reminder of how fragile democracy is. In stark contrast, they reflect on Connecticut’s peaceful transition of power this week.
Congress passed a bipartisan electoral count law. The vice president’s role is clearly defined.
“Which makes clear that the responsibility of the vice president, in counting the electoral vote, is only ceremonial,” explained Blumenthal.
The law also raises the threshold from one member of Congress to challenge any electoral count to 20% of the Congress.
“It includes some really important provisions that help ensure that the future, our democracy doesn’t just depend on the decisions of one individual and makes clearer that the will of the people needs to prevail,” Bronin said.
There are also $75 million in grants controlled by a Congressional commission to help upgrade aging election infrastructure nationwide.
Giselle Feliciano, Hartford’s registrar of voters, explained the issue with old machinery.
“When we have our companies coming in to repair our equipment, and they can’t find the actual replacements for these machines, it becomes an object of how we are going to tackle this challenge?”
Now that early voting has passed in Connecticut, there is more urgency to replace old machines. State election officials must apply for federal funds.
Blumenthal would also like to pass a bill called the Election Worker Protection Act, which would make intimidation of a poll worker a federal offense.