Patricia Billie Miller


Patricia Billie Miller



May 26, 2021

Senate Approves Bill Modernizing Connecticut Voting Rules

Democrats in the state Senate approved an important modernization of Connecticut voting laws that will improve voting access for everyone by allowing different state agencies to automatically enroll new voters, restore voting rights for all inmates when they are released from custody, and allow people with developmental disabilities to have a legal representative assist them with registering to vote and with voting.

State Senator Pat Billie Miller (D-Stamford) voted in favor of Senate Bill 5, “An Act Concerning Increased Opportunities For Absentee Voting, Safe and Secure In-Person Voting, Voter Registration And Certain Other Changes Regarding Election Administration.” It passed the Senate on a 25-10 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“This legislation helps ease the process for residents to access their right to vote and for candidates running for an election,” said Sen. Miller. “With the pandemic forcing people to stay indoors, we saw numerous voters acquire ballots and vote absentee which increased voter participation. This alone is why it is imperative that we continue to make online applications accessible to those who are unable to leave their homes. The 2020 election has taught us that the easier an electoral process is, the more likely voters will participate in an election.”

Some of the new voting provisions in SB 5 include:

  • Requires the DMV, various state agencies, and public higher education institutions to use a Secretary of the State-approved electronic system to automatically transmit voter registration applications for qualified applicants to the Registrars of Voters. Under existing law, the DMV must include a voter registration application as part of each motor vehicle driver’s license application or renewal, or each identity card application. Under SB 5, state agencies like public assistance agencies, libraries, and any state-funded program that provides services to people with disabilities must include a voter registration application with each service or with each assistance application, recertification, renewal, or change of address. Public higher education institutions must also distribute mail voter registration application forms.
  • Restores, as of July 1, voting privileges to convicted felons who are on parole or special parole or who are confined in a community residence. Currently, automatic restoration of voting privileges is only granted to people who are on probation or who have completed their sentences and are released from physical incarceration.
    Eliminates the prohibition on so-called ‘mentally incompetent people’ being admitted as voters; it allows people with developmental disabilities to have a legal representative assist them with registering to vote and voting
  • Requires the implementation of e-signature systems for most elections-related forms and applications
  • Requires Registrars of Voters to annually distribute voter registration information at public high schools
  • Requires Town Clerks to post notices for state, municipal elections on the town website
  • Adds “sibling” to the list of immediate family members and adds designees allowed to return absentee ballots on behalf of voters
  • Electors suffering from long-term illnesses will be made eligible for permanent absentee ballot status