Dominic Rapini faces seven terms from State Rep. Terrie Wood in the Aug. 9 Republican primary to be the party’s nominee for secretary of state. Rapini says resolving issues with Connecticut’s election process will build trust, and that his 25-year career in computer technology, as a senior account manager for the Consumer Electronics division of Apple, Inc., makes him the ideal person to do it.
“It was my dream job, but one I’m willing to retire from to serve our state,” said Rapini, a longtime New Haven County resident who has worked for the past few years to fight for what he sees. than electoral integrity.
He is known for his role in coaching over 1,000 children in the Pop Warner football and cheerleading program in Hamden over the past 32 years. He graduated from Trinity College in 1983 with a degree in Neuroscience and completed the Charter Oak Leadership program in 2020. Rapini has focused on electoral issues since 2019. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fight Voter Fraud, Board Member of Directors for Grass Roots East, a Federal PAC for the Second Congressional District and is a member of the Connecticut Republican Assembly as well as the Republican Branford Town Committee.
An unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018 helped him learn the political process, he said.
“I learned how to fundraise and build a team, how to use social media to campaign,” he said. “I see a lot of examples where Connecticut needs to improve. It became increasingly apparent to me that there was a lot I could do here, with my experience, to help with data integrity.
Rapini said he was proud to come to the campaign without any strings attached.
“I was never elected. I wear this as a badge of honor. I don’t owe anyone anything,” Rapini said. “The only thing I owe to voters is to give them the best product and service available – I see elections as both a product and a service.”
Fixing the current election technology system is urgently needed, he said, adding that there’s a saying in Silicon Valley, “You have to destroy the good to make room for the great.”
“I want to make it functional and then I want to destroy it and start all over again,” he said. “I consider Connecticut election software as a brand. I want to instill a sense of confidence in our constituents, so that we are best in class at every level. »
Part of the technological metamorphosis envisioned by Rapini is a new fleet of optical scanners.
“We need the next generation,” he said. “I want them to be paper-based and I want the ballots to be watermarked like US currency. I want to upgrade and resolve issues with the current software used by registrars. »
The current optical scanning machines are obsolete and will have to be replaced by the next Secretary of State, whoever is elected.
Rapini says he would also implement electronic ballot books for a faster registration process on Election Day. “It also shares information with local campaigns, so they know who hasn’t voted throughout the day. This would make Election Day more accessible to voters and bring out more voters. real-time data on changing election results You can have a much more efficient day if you have a dashboard of the entire election.
Former Secretary of State Denise Merrill was head of a task force that looked into the issue of electronic poll books and decided not to go ahead with the technology.
If elected, Rapini would also work to overhaul voter ID laws. Rapini, who worked as an Election Day moderator, would also like to require that government-issued identification be included with mail-in ballot applications.
“I’m here to talk with people who the Republican Party shares values with,” he said. “Our values are: God, country and family. I am here to fix the problems and make our elections stronger.
“About 75% of Americans want a voter registration card, so it’s a nonpartisan issue,” he said. “The first position I would eliminate would be election disinformation officer, and I will probably use an information officer. There are a lot of problems in our elections. When we address these problems, we build trust in our electoral process.
Rapini calls himself a principled conservative and says he is endorsed by the Republican Hispanic Assembly, the Paternal Order of Police and Moms for America.
“Every day and every week I meet with voters, I focus on Hispanic voters and I meet with leaders,” he said.
“I helped in special elections, I organized poll watchers,” he said. “I tried to learn all the different angles of the elections. It really helped prepare me for this.
Rapini and his wife, Susan, live in Branford. They have three adult children and an adoptive family.
Running for secretary of state was “not my long-term plan,” he said. But while volunteering to help with local elections, he noticed what he called issues that were either not being investigated or being dismissed. “I have a different perspective on how these things should play out…I can provide great leadership here.” In the corporate registration role of the post of secretary, he said he offered a lot of credibility to the business community. “There is an opportunity to reinvent this office and make things better for business.”
CT News Junkie runs an occasional series of profiles of candidates for state office.