Mae Flexer

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Deputy President Pro Tempore & Federal Relations Liaison

An Advocate for Us

March 20, 2019

Senator Flexer Leads Passage of Early Voting Amendment Proposal

HARTFORD, CT – Today, the Government Administration and Elections Committee advanced House Joint Resolution 161, a proposal that would create a statewide referendum to amend Connecticut’s Constitution on allowing early voting. State Senator Mae Flexer (D-Killingly) is Senate chair of the Government Administration & Elections Committee.

House Joint Resolution 161, “Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the State Constitution to Allow for Early Voting and No-Excuse Absentee Voting,” seeks to amend sections of the Constitution of the State Connecticut to allow for any elector to vote by absentee ballot without an excuse needed and to provide at least three days of in-person voting prior to Election Day.

“Voting is a fundamental right and we should be doing all we can to make it easier for people to exercise that right,” Senator Flexer said. “We must create more opportunities for people to vote, through extending the period for in-person voting and allowing for no-excuse absentee voting. Voter participation in our democracy is paramount and we want everybody’s voice to be heard.”

“I am pleased to see the committee move forward with this critical piece of legislation. With increased civic engagement, citizens want to exercise their fundamental right to vote, and Connecticut’s voters must have opportunities to participate in democracy that work with their busy and, sometimes, unpredictable schedules. Early voting would allow increased participation in elections and would ensure voters’ interests are fairly represented,” said State Representative Dan Fox (D-Stamford) who serves as House chair of the Government Administration & Elections Committee.

“39 states already allow their citizens to vote prior to Election Day and more than 40 million voters nationwide did in 2018,” said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. “Connecticut citizens deserve the same opportunity to conveniently cast their ballots. Allowing sixteen year olds to preregister to vote will make voter registration more accessible to young voters, a group that has lower historic participation in the electoral process. Encouraging voting early in life often creates a lifetime voter.”

Thirty-nine 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 nineteen states, an excuse is required. Connecticut is one of twelve 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 twelve states that do not have early voting.

“We should be doing all we can to reduce barriers to voting and encouraging civic participation in our communities,” said Senator Flexer. “Life is unpredictable and it is unrealistic to have one day to vote in-person and expect everybody to get to the polls on that day. I’m thrilled that we are one step closer to making early voting a reality.”

The bill now awaits a vote by the House.