February 22, 2021

Sen. Kasser Supports Expanded Voting Rights in Connecticut

 HARTFORD – State Senator Alex Kasser (D-Greenwich) today gave her strong support to two bills that would modernize Conneciticut’s voting laws and improve ease and access for voters.

House Joint Resolution 59 would allow for early voting in Connecticut, and House Joint Resolution 58 would make permanent the no-excuse mail-in absentee ballot voting that so many Connecticut residents took advantage of last fall during the coronavirus pandemic.

Connecticut is one of just six states in America that does not offer early voting and one of just16 states that does not offer no-excuse absentee voting. “Despite being a modern state in many ways, Connecticut has antiquated voting laws that put us in the same category as Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama,” Sen. Kasser said.

Approximately 1,000 people submitted testimony online for today’s virtual public hearing of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. The overhwhelming majority agree that early voting and no-excuse absentee voting are needed and necessary now. 

“Last year Trump told people to fear early voting and voting by mail because ‘it doesn’t work out well for Republicans’,” Sen. Kasser said. “Election outcomes should not determine our voting rights. It shouldn’t matter which party wins as long as our elections are fair and every eligible person was able to exercise their right to vote safely and easily. Making it more convenient to vote is what’s right and best for our democracy, and that’s the ‘team’ I’m fighting for. As Americans, we should all agree that democracy works best when more people participate.”

For no-excuse absentee voting, the legislature would have to pass the bill by a three-fourths majority in each chamber. If it passes, no-excuse absentee voting is added to the ballot for the November 8, 2022 state election, allowing Connecticut voters to decide. If voters choose to support this measure, as data suggests they are inclined to, it would become part Connecticut’s constitution and the General Assembly would then be tasked with determining how to implement it. 

The early voting bill is a holdover from the 2019 legislative session where it passed by a majority in Senate and by three-fourths in the House. The early voting bills needs to pass the General Assembly again by simple majority votes in each chamber in order to be placed on the ballot for the November 8, 2022 state election, thereby enabling Connecticut residents to determine its fate.  Again,  Data suggests this measure will pass as well.

Last summer, the legislature voted to extend no-excuses absentee voting by mail on a temporary basis due to the pandemic. That proved enormously popular with the public and very successful, with less than 1 percent of absentee ballots rejected, which was one the lowest percentages in recent history, according to the Secretary of State’s office.