Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

January 16, 2019

Kushner Joins Secretary of the State Merrill in Seeking Early Voting

photo of Senator Kushner.

State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) joined Secretary of the State Denise Merrill Tuesday to announce that they are seeking an amendment to Connecticut’s constitution that would allow Connecticut voters to enjoy a minimum of three days of early voting.

Last year, nearly 40 million Americans voted prior to election day, which was a record for mid-term elections. Connecticut is currently one of only 12 states in America with no provision for early voting, and is one of only nine states that actually requires voters to provide an ‘excuse’ in order to vote by absentee ballot.

The proposed constitutional amendment—which would need legislative and voter approval—would allow for at least three days of in-person, early voting in Connecticut.

“Connecticut’s absentee voting laws were set in stone in 1932, when Herbert Hoover was running for president, and they’ve barely changed since then. That’s nearly 90 years of national progress on voting rights for women and minorities and of striking advances in voting technology that have all but fallen by the wayside here in ‘the land of steady habits’,” Sen. Kushner said. “I’d like to see Connecticut become a more participatory democracy, so we need to look at every possible avenue to achieve that, from more government transparency to better communication with constituents to ensuring that everyone has the ability to vote. Our participatory democracy would be enhanced by early voting.”

“A record number of Connecticut citizens registered to vote leading up to the 2018 election, and we had record turnout, despite long lines and heavy rains. We should continue to remove barriers to Connecticut voters exercising their most fundamental right to vote by joining the overwhelming majority of states that allow their voters to cast a ballot before Election Day,” said Secretary Merrill. “This popular, common-sense election reform will help ensure that not only can every Connecticut citizen easily register, but that every registered voter can conveniently vote.”

Representatives from AARP Connecticut, the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, the ACLU, ConnPirg, Indivisible and the African-American women’s sorority Delta Sigma Theta also spoke Tuesday in support of early voting, as did other Democratic state senators.

“Throughout our history, access to the ballot box has increased with progressive changes to our laws and our Constitution,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-New Haven). “Connecticut should take the next step in expanding voter participation and enact early voting as so many other states have done. This expansion of enfranchisement will strengthen our democracy and encourage responsible citizenship.”

“Many Americans before us fought for and defended our democracy and our right to vote, yet we have failed to make the way we vote work for the lives we lead today,” said Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson), who is Senate Chairman of the Government Administration and Elections Committee that will consider the constitutional change. “Too many residents in Connecticut still cannot exercise this sacred right. I hear from college students, seniors, working people, and so many others from my district about how difficult it is to vote. We need to secure reasonable access to voting for all Connecticut residents and make early voting a reality.”