Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

May 31, 2023


HARTFORD – State Senator Christine Cohen voted for two provisions to provide Connecticut residents with more voting options. The Senate gave final passage to House Bill 5004, “AN ACT IMPLEMENTING EARLY VOTING,” which establishes a framework for early, in-person voting for all general elections, primaries, and special elections in Connecticut held on or after January 1, 2024. Senator Cohen also joined her colleagues to give final passage of a bill that will remove the Connecticut constitution’s current restrictions on absentee voting and allow for “no-excuse” absentee voting should Connecticut residents approve of the measure when the question is placed on the 2024 general election ballot.

“During the pandemic it was made perfectly clear – when we make voting accessible, convenient and secure, more people participate in our democracy,” said Sen. Cohen. “I’m so pleased that today we were able to put real policy behind the charge to allow for early voting, and I am eager to put the question back to the voters in 2024 as to whether they want to avail themselves of no-excuse absentee voting.”

The early voting provision passed the House and Senate this session after 60% of Connecticut voters approved of an early voting change to the state constitution last fall. Forty-six American states already allow some form of early voting.

Specifically, the bill requires a fourteen-day early voting period for general elections, a seven-day period for most primaries, and a four-day early voting period for special elections and presidential preference primaries.

Every city and town in Connecticut must establish at least one early voting location and may establish more. Early voting locations must be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., including weekends, except that on the last Tuesday and Thursday before the election, when the locations must be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The bill also sets various requirements and procedures for early voting including voter eligibility, same-day election registration, ballot custody, staffing and training, and materials.

HB 5004 now heads to Governor Ned Lamont for his signature of the bill into law.

The “no-excuse” absentee voting provision was approved with a simple majority in 2021 and required an additional vote in the General Assembly this year, before it could head to the voters on the 2024 ballot. With that accomplished, the residents of Connecticut will have the opportunity to use their collective voices to determine whether or not they would like to see this constitutional amendment.

Under current Connecticut law, voters can only vote by absentee ballot if they’re going to be out of town on Election Day, if they’re sick, if they’re on active military duty, because of a religious prohibition, or if they are poll workers who are working all day in another town.

Twenty-seven other U.S. states already allow for no-excuse absentee voting, including Arizona, Florida, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.