April 6, 2021

Senator Haskell, Rep. Thomas Cheer Advance of Voting Access Expansion to Senate Floor

Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) and State Representative Stephanie Thomas (D-Westport) cheered the Government Administration and Elections Committee’s approval of legislation increasing access to absentee voting and overhauling voting access and registration statewide. Sen. Haskell and Rep. Thomas, respectively Senate and House Vice Chairs of the Committee, joined in voting to send the legislation to the Senate for further consideration.

“We’ve known for years – well before the COVID-19 pandemic – that we need to modernize our voting systems,” said Sen. Haskell. “The pandemic only further highlighted the barriers that make our democracy inconvenient for some. Expanding opportunities for absentee ballots will help more people cast their votes without undue interruption to their work and family life, and helping young voters learn about the voting process will strengthen our democracy for the long-term. This legislation will increase Connecticut’s voter turnout and make the process of casting a ballot easier and safer. After all, the right to vote is too easily rendered meaningless without the opportunity to vote.”

“SB 5 is a giant step in the right direction to provide safe and secure voting options for the electorate,” Rep. Thomas said. “What I have heard loud and clear from voters in my district is that the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy and they are in favor of legislation that makes the voting process equitable and accessible.”

Senate Bill 5, “An Act Concerning Increased Opportunities For Absentee Voting, Safe and Secure In-Person Voting and Voter Registration,” has significant changes and overhauls for state voting practices currently followed. These include:

  • Allowing online voting registration or information changes through the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • The development of an online absentee ballot application through the Secretary of the State’s website
  • Distribution of information regarding voting eligibility at public high schools each September, informing students of how to register to vote
  • Naming Election Day as a legal holiday, with voters allowed two hours of paid time off on that day to cast a ballot
  • Voters would be disallowed from bringing a firearm within 200 feet of a voting location