Lawmakers To Tackle Early Voting, Absentee Ballots

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More than 650,000 Connecticut voters voted last year by absentee ballot and some lawmakers want to make sure they can do it in the future.   

“A resolution to propose an amendment to allow for no-excuse absentee voting, is there a motion?,” Rep. Dan Fox (D-Stamford) said. 

“So moved, second.” 

The Government Administration and Elections Committee plans to debate a resolution to change the state constitution and allow for no-excuse absentee voting. 

Last year Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order that allowed voters to cast their ballots this way to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

“We may not have dispelled all the myths about absentee ballots that some people are clinging to. I think that we will definitely want to continue that practice,” Cheri Quickmire, executive director of Common Cause in Connecticut, said. 

Quickmire said they were pleased with the no-excuse absentee ballot process. 

“We were very pleased with the success of this previous election in terms of turnout, in terms of actual ballot cast, in terms of people's actual enthusiasm for using the absentee ballots and using the ballot boxes set up in every town,” Quickmire said.

More than 1.86 million Connecticut voters cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election. That’s nearly 80% of the state’s registered voters. 

However, this past election cycle was an exception in many ways because Connecticut does not have any form of early voting.

Connecticut voters rejected the idea of early voting back in 2014, but some lawmakers are hoping they give it a second look.

“The concept will be identical to the one we voted on in 2019,” Fox said.

But not everyone agrees they should have the debate. 

“I spent a lot of time objecting to this policy in the legislature two years ago not because I’m very much against early voting, but because this particular language is extremely vague,” Sen. Rob Sampson (R-Wilton) said.

The request to amend the state constitution to allow for early voting doesn’t say how long early voting would occur, it simply asks voters if they would like the legislature to explore early voting opportunities. 

“It basically says early voting has no limitations. It means early voting could occur the day after the completion of the previous election,” Sampson said.

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