Secretary of the State to Propose Amendment for No-Excuse Absentee Ballots

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Faced with the possibility that voters might have to choose whether to risk going out and voting in a pandemic, the state decided months before the November election to allow any registered voter to vote by absentee ballot in 2020.

Now, a day after an election in which more than 650,000 people voted by absentee ballot, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said she will again be proposing an amendment to the state constitution that would allow Connecticut voters to choose to vote by absentee ballot without an excuse.

“As our local election officials are working hard to complete the counting of an historic number of absentee ballots, one result is absolutely clear – the voters of Connecticut want to be able to vote conveniently by absentee ballot without an excuse,” Merrill said in a statement.

Her office said 44 states allow voters to vote before election day, either through in-person early voting, no-excuse absentee balloting or both, and only Connecticut, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky and Missouri require voters to vote in-person on Election Day unless they have a “statutorily defined excuse.”

“The legislature should pass this Constitutional Amendment this year, and with a 75% supermajority so voters can have their say in the next election. Voters should be allowed to decide for themselves if they would like more options to vote, as voters have in the vast majority of other states. Connecticut voters should not have to wait years to make it easier for them to cast their votes and make their voices heard,” Merrill said in a statement.

According to her office, a Constitutional Amendment to allow No-Excuse Absentee Balloting, if it passed each chamber of the General Assembly with a three-quarters majority, would go to the voters in 2022. If it passed each chamber with a simple majority, it would go back to the legislature seated in 2023 and then, if passed again, could go to a referendum in 2024.

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