Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

May 31, 2023

Senator Gaston Applauds Passage of No-Excuses Voting Resolution And Early Voting Bill

Today, state Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport) applauded State Senate Passage of two pieces of legislation crucial to creating more ease of access at the polls. The first, no-excuse absentee ballot voting will remove the Connecticut constitution’s current, multiple restrictions on absentee voting and allow for “no-excuses” absentee voting if Connecticut residents approve of that when the question is placed on the 2024 general election ballot. The second, early voting 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.

“Voting is a human right. We should do everything we can to make voting accessible to residents around the state,” said Sen. Gaston. “Election Day is one day out of the year and things come up, people may not have a way to get to the polls, people may be too sick or may not be able to get childcare. Whatever the reason, those who may have a prior commitment still deserve to vote. Passing legislation that allows people to cast their vote early and send in an absentee ballot will afford those who are unable to get their on election day the opportunity to vote.”

No Excuse Absentee Voting

The resolution passed the Senate this evening on a 26-8 vote. This same resolution was approved by Democrats in both the House and Senate in 2021, but with enough opposition from Republican legislators to require an additional vote in the General Assembly this year.

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

But 27 other U.S. states already allow for no-excuse absentee voting, including the deep Red Republican states of Arizona, Florida, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.

On a related matter, last fall, 60% of Connecticut residents voted to amend the state constitution to allow for early voting.

Early Voting:

HB 5004 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.

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

Specifically, the bill requires a 14-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, 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.

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