Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



May 25, 2021

Senator Needleman Joins Senate Vote to Approve Bill Modernizing Some Connecticut Voting Rules

HARTFORD – State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined the Senate today to pass Senate Bill 5 to modernize some Connecticut voting standards and improve voting access statewide through a variety of measures.

Updates to current voting laws in Senate Bill 5 include the development of an automatic electronic voter registration application, the development of an e-signature system for elections-related forms and applications, and distributing voter registration information in public high schools. The measure passed by a vote of 25-10.

“We know that higher voter turnout gives us the most representative government in our communities,” said Sen. Needleman. “Therefore, it simply makes sense for us to support increased voting turnout whenever possible. The automatic transmission of registration applications and eased access to the polls this legislation provides will strengthen our state’s voting laws and benefit future elections.”

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,” overhauls Connecticut’s voting standards.

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. Right now that 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