There is an important referendum on this November’s ballot to expand voter access and inclusion: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting?”. To explain: Without amending the Constitution, voters will continue to be restricted to voting in-person on Election Day only. Voting YES will give the General Assembly the ability to pass legislation on early in-person voting. Voting YES does not implement, nor specify any parameters for, early voting. And, voting YES still provides an opportunity for the public to express its views on any early voting legislation considered by the General Assembly.
It is time for Connecticut to catch up to the 21st century, and leave behind its place as 1 of 4 States that does not permit voting in person on the days leading up to an election; and, its reputation as being one of the “Most Restrictive States” in the nation, ranking 30th when it comes to ease of voting. Early voting is (or should be) a non-partisan issue with strong support. A January 2021 press release by the CT Secretary of the State highlighted a poll of 808 CT registered voters, which “found widespread support [79%] for allowing voters to choose to vote in-person early, prior to Election Day”. This support was “consistent across gender…, race…, and age…” and regardless of political affiliation.
It is time for the General Assembly to commence discussions on giving voters as much flexibility as possible to cast their votes. To continue to require voters to appear in person during prescribed hours on one day leaves no room for uncontrollable circumstances such as inclement weather and illness, and disenfranchises those who must work or cannot arrange for time off, transportation, childcare or bring their children with them to the polls. Every effort should be made by our legislators to eliminate barriers to voting and to increase civic engagement.
Please support the early voting referendum on the ballot by voting YES–and tell your friends and family!