Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



March 22, 2019

Senator Needleman, Representatives Orange and Haines, Secretary of the State Merrill to Hold Forum On Early Voting April 1

COLCHESTER, CT – On Monday, April 1, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Colchester), Representative Linda Orange (D-Colchester), Representative Irene Haines (R-Colchester) and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill will hold a public forum on early voting. This event will be held at the William J. Johnston Middle School Cafeteria, located at 360 Norwich Avenue in Colchester, from 6 to 7 p.m.

This public forum will specifically involve discussion of the recent House Joint Resolution No. 161, which proposes an amendment to the state’s Constitution. That amendment would be placed on the ballot on Nov. 3, 2020, allowing voters to determine whether access to absentee ballots should be expanded to all voters and whether there should be an additional period of at least three days before Election Day where individuals can visit a polling place to cast a ballot.

Currently, Connecticut law has several limits on access to absentee ballots, according to the Secretary of the State’s office. Only active members of the military, individuals with illnesses, physical disabilities or religious beliefs preventing them from voting in person, election officials who will work at polling places other than their own, and individuals who will be away on all of Election Day are allowed to vote absentee. Connecticut is additionally one of only 11 states that currently does not permit early voting, where a voting booth would be held available in a public location for individuals who may not be able to traditionally vote on Election Day itself.

In 2014, a similar amendment was placed on state ballots but was narrowly defeated, despite 59 percent of polled voters supporting the expansion of early voting access.

“I encourage the discussion about this potential amendment, as giving more people access to the ballot is proven in other states to increase voting participation,” said Sen. Needleman. “The more people who participate in our elections, the more accurate our representation of them can be in the state legislature.”

“Connecticut residents live busy, hectic and sometimes unpredictable lives, and it is essential that everyone who can vote is able to exercise that right. The early voting bill will grant flexibility to working families who may not be able to make it to the polls and will expand participation in this fundamental right,” said State Representative Linda Orange, D-Colchester. “We must work to repeal barriers to voting to ensure that all voters’ interests are fairly represented.”

“Early voting is the most important thing we can do this year to address long lines on Election Day and make voting easier for every Connecticut citizen,” said Secretary of the State Merrill. I’m fighting to make sure that every Connecticut citizen can conveniently register, and every registered voter can easily vote. Voters in 39 states already can vote before Election Day and Connecticut voters deserve to be next.”