Connecticut Committee Takes Steps To Expand Voter Rights

NBC Universal, Inc.

Voting rights have been a hot topic of discussion since Election Day 2020. Monday, Connecticut lawmakers took the first steps to try to expand voting rights. 

“Obviously we’re all about getting more access for voters across Connecticut,” Carol Reimers, president of the Connecticut League of Women Voters, said.

Reimers said they support bills that would expand automatic voter registration, allow individuals on parole to vote, make Election Day a holiday and expand voting rights. 

“Caring about the issues that impact your community and being able to vote on them is a priority for all citizens,” Reimers said.

More than 250 bills that would restrict voting access have been introduced in 43 states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

“Some of the voter suppression tactics that were outlawed or voters had recourse to address is no longer as available to them,” Reimers said. 

Sen. Matt Lesser of Middletown said limiting access to ballot boxes or polling places is a method of voter suppression used by some. 

“Which communities have very long lines and which ones don't depending on how many ballot boxes there are available. For voters to have to stand in line at all for 11 hours I think is an outrage,” Lesser said. 

Republican Sen. Rob Sampson said he’s also concerned about long lines at the polls. 

“But I also don’t think that it’s racially motivated when it happens,“ Sampson said. 

He added that the testimony during the March 31 public hearing "implies that somehow there is racial motivation behind these things is misguided and I think it doesn’t help your cause.”  

Sampson said he’s also concerned about the security of ballot boxes. 

“I have a lot of problems with the drop boxes,” he added

The ballot boxes were first used in the 2020 election when the U.S. Postal Service struggled to keep up with the delivery of absentee ballots. 

The bills approved Monday by the committee would also expand absentee ballot access and now head to the Senate. 

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