Mae Flexer

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Deputy President Pro Tempore & Federal Relations Liaison

An Advocate for Us

March 5, 2021

Sen. Flexer, Rep. Fox, Sec. Merrill Laud Passage of Voting Rights Bills

HARTFORD – State Senator Mae Flexer and state Representative Dan Fox (D-Stamford), Co-Chairs of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, today celebrated the passage of several popular Democrat-led voting rights bills that were approved today by the GAE Committee despite strenuous Republican opposition.

The GAE Committee voted to approve various voting-rights bills that would allow for no-excuses voting in Connecticut, early voting in Connecticut, and extending the existing COVID-19 voting protocols through June 30.

“Across our nation, especially since November 2020’s historic election, we have seen Republican state legislatures try to restrict the right of American citizens to vote, and to vote easily. Today in Connecticut we stood firmly on the side of democracy, on the side of fairness, and on the side of voting being a fundamental right for all Americans,” Sen. Flexer said. “Today, members of the GAE Committee passed bills that are supported by the vast majority of Connecticut residents, whether they be Democrats, unaffiliated voters or Republicans.  The committee represented the will of the people. Today we honored our commitment to democracy and to free and fair elections.”

“Each of these four bills goes towards helping to increase participation in elections – the keystone of our democracy,” Rep. Fox said. “I strongly support each of these measures and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to move these bills through the legislative process.”

“This is an important first step in bringing Connecticut in line with 43 other states in allowing its voters to conveniently cast their ballots prior to Election Day,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said. “I look forward to the passage of these amendments in the House and the Senate so the voters of Connecticut can decide if they want the choice to vote early in-person, in-person on Election Day, or by absentee ballot without needing an excuse.”

  • House Joint Resolution 58, A resolution proposing a state constitutional amendment to allow for no-excuse absentee voting, passed on a party-line vote of 13-6, with all Democrats voting “Yes” and all Republican committee members voting “No.” 73% of Connecticut voters support no-excuse absentee voting, including half of all Republicans, 75% of unaffiliated voters and 90% of Democrats. 43 U.S. states currently allow their voters to vote in person prior to Election Day or to vote by absentee ballot without an excuse. Connecticut is one of just a handful of states – including Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and South Carolina – that require their residents to vote in-person on Election Day, unless they have a valid reason for not appearing (i.e. illness or being out of town all day).
  • House Joint Resolution 59, A resolution approving an amendment to the state constitution to allow for early voting: The bill passed 15-4, mostly along party lines, with 13 Democrats and two Republicans voting “Yes,” and four Republicans voting “No.”  79% of Connecticut residents support early voting, including 70% of Republicans, 80% of unaffiliated voters, and 85% of Democrats. A record number of Americans – more than 101 million people — voted early in the 2020 presidential election, including 36 million in-person early votes and more than 65 million ballots cast by mail or absentee ballot.
  • Senate Bill 901, an act extending to June 30, 2021 the changes implemented for the 2020 state elections as a result of COVID-19, passed on a party-line vote of 13-6.
  • A similar bill, House Bill 6464, an act extending to May 31, 2021 the changes implemented for the 2020 state elections as a result of COVID-19, passed 16-3, with three Republicans joining all Democrats in voting “Yes,” and three Republicans voting “No.”  

Because the House Joint Resolutions seek to amend the state Constitution, they must follow a different path than typical legislation.

The language in H.J. 59 already passed the legislature in 2019 without a supermajority in both chambers, so it needs to pass again by a simple majority in the General Assembly before voters can vote on the measure at a referendum during the 2022 statewide elections.  

H.J. 58 is the first time this amendment has come before the General Assembly, so it needs a supermajority vote of 75% in favor in each chamber before voters can vote on it at referendum in 2022.