Jorge Cabrera

State Senator

Jorge Cabrera

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together to Solve Problems

April 7, 2021

Senator Cabrera Joins Secretary Merrill to Support Constitutional Amendments Allowing Early Voting and Expanding Access to Absentee Ballots

HAMDEN, CT – Today, state Senator Jorge Cabrera (D-Hamden) joined Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and the Hamden legislative delegation at the M. L. Keefe Community Center in Hamden to support the passage of amendments to the Connecticut Constitution that would allow Early Voting and expand access to absentee ballots without Connecticut registered voters needing to provide an excuse.

Forty-four states currently allow for either Early Voting or access to absentee ballots without an excuse, or both, with Kentucky joining those states this week. Connecticut, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are the only states that restrict voters from casting their ballots prior to Election Day, either in-person or by absentee ballot without an excuse.

“Today we stand up in support of new laws that make it easier for Connecticut voters to cast their ballots,” said Sen. Cabrera. “Early voting, no excuse absentee ballot voting, drop boxes, making it easier to register to vote—all these measures make our government stronger and help busy residents have a voice in who represents them in the legislature. It is in the best interest of Connecticut residents and our democracy that we do all we can to make voting easier.”

“Connecticut voters deserve to be able to choose to vote conveniently in-person on Election Day, in-person prior to Election Day, or by absentee ballot without needing to provide an excuse – just like almost every other voter in the country,” said Secretary Merrill. “As other states move to erect obstacles to voters exercising their right to vote, I’m proud that Connecticut is moving to eliminate barriers and ensure that every voter can conveniently cast their ballot and make their voice heard.”

The constitutional amendment for Early Voting is HJ 59 and the constitutional amendment for expanding access to absentee ballots is HJ 58. The Early Voting constitutional amendment passed through the Connecticut General Assembly in 2019, so if it passes again it would go on the 2022 ballot for voters to decide. The constitutional amendment to expand access to absentee ballots has not been voted on by the General Assembly before. If it passes each chamber with a 75% supermajority, it would go on the 2022 ballot for voters to decide; If it passes each chamber with a simple majority, it would need to be voted on again by the legislature elected in 2022 and, if passed again, would go on the 2024 ballot for voters to decide.

The constitutional amendments would allow the legislature to pass legislation allowing Early Voting and/or expanding absentee ballot access to all voters without the voter needing to provide an excuse; the amendments would only remove the restrictions from the Connecticut Constitution.

About Sen. Cabrera: The senator was the first in his family to attend college, earning a degree in Political Science from Quinnipiac University. The senator is a business representative with UFCW Local 919 and has devoted the last 25 years fighting for working families across the 17th District and country. Sen. Cabrera is Senate Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Vice Chair of the Labor Committee.