Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

April 8, 2019

Senator Cohen Joins Senate Passage of Early Voting Amendment Proposal

HARTFORD, CT – Today, the Senate passed House Joint Resolution 161, a proposal that will allow voters the opportunity to expand early voting in Connecticut. Though the legislation did not achieve the 75 percent supermajority required for it to appear on the ballot at the 2020 general election, its passing gives the legislature the opportunity to place it on the 2022 ballot, should legislators elected in 2020 pass an identical bill. State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) praised its passage.

House Joint Resolution 161, “Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the State Constitution to Allow for Early Voting,” seeks to amend sections of the Constitution of the State Connecticut to allow early voting. If the Constitutional change is approved by the voters, the legislature would have the ability to enact early.

“We strengthen our democracy when we make it easier for those registered to vote,” said Sen. Cohen. “I am proud to have cast a yes vote today, which brings us a step closer to allowing those constrained by current law to participate in something central to the democratic process. While I am deeply disappointed we were not able to reach a super majority, I am pleased the measure did pass, keeping the prospects of early in Connecticut alive. Forty other states and the District of Columbia have already passed early voting, and it is time that we join them.”

Forty states and the District of Columbia offer some form of early voting. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia allow any voter to vote by absentee ballot without needing an excuse, while in 19 states, an excuse is required. Connecticut is one of 12 states that does not have any provision for early voting and one of nine that requires an excuse in order to vote by absentee ballot. Neighboring states Rhode Island and New Hampshire are also in that group of 12 states that do not have early voting.

If approved in 2020, the Early Voting initiative will appear as a constitutional amendment question on the 2022 general election ballot, which will allow voters to decide whether Connecticut should expand early voting access.