Contact: Andrew Ammirati
February 19, 2013
HARTFORD, CT—State Senator Gayle S. Slossberg (D-Milford) today joined State Representative Russ Morin (D-Wethersfield), veterans of the U.S. military, and election officials from Rhode Island in voicing support for reforms to Connecticut’s military voting policies. Sen. Slossberg and Rep. Morin have introduced legislation this session that would enable military servicemen and servicewomen serving overseas to return their ballots by electronic mail or facsimile.
According to statistics from the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office, around 40 percent of absentee ballots transmitted to members of the military overseas are not returned. Some of the ballots do not reach the service members, and when they do reach them, many are not successfully returned to Connecticut to be counted in elections. S.B. 647 aims to remedy this problem by allowing for easier and more secure methods of return for these ballots.
“Our servicemen and servicewomen put their lives on the line to fight for our freedoms,” said Sen. Slossberg. “Why should they have any less of a right to vote than us? To disenfranchise 40 percent of our military is unacceptable. They risk their lives for us, and we need to do better for them.”
“It is appalling that we cannot confidently say to members of our military serving overseas that their votes will be counted,” said Rep. Morin. “This bill gives us a chance to stop the disenfranchisement of our servicemen and servicewomen abroad, and it would be a shame if we did not seize this opportunity to do so.”
Sen. Slossberg noted that 28 states currently allow for these ballots to be returned via fax, and 20 of these allow for e-mail submission. Officials in these states have confirmed that there have been no incidents of voter fraud as a result of this policy. Election officials from Rhode Island, where they allow for ballot return via fax, attended the press conference and attested to the absence of such fraud in their state.
Slossberg and Morin hope to see results similar to those of Maine, where the rate of return for these ballots pre-reform was less than 49 percent. Post-reform, the rate of return jumped to 74.5 percent.
Testimony on S.B. 647 is scheduled to be heard at a public hearing in the Veterans’ Affairs Committee later today.
Vice Chair: Human Services
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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