Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



June 3, 2021

No-Excuse Absentee Voting Gets Final Approval from Democrats in the State Senate; Voters Decide in 2024 with One More Vote

HARTFORD – Despite significant Republican objection to improving democracy in Connecticut, Democrats in the state Senate today approved a measure that will allow residents to vote in 2024 on whether they want to allow for “no excuses” absentee voting in Connecticut – thereby removing the state’s five current restrictions for voting absentee and finally moving Connecticut into the 21st Century of voting rights and responsibilities, like most other American states.

The state Senate voted 27-9 to approve House Joint Resolution 58,

“A RESOLUTION PROPOSING A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO ALLOW NO-EXCUSE ABSENTEE VOTING.” The measure will now be considered by Connecticut voters at the polls in November 2024 should it be approved again by the Legislature in 2023. State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined the Senate in approving the ballot measure.

“Only 32 percent of states do not have freely accessible absentee voting laws, despite widespread approval of the policy from the public, no matter their political affiliation,” said Sen. Needleman. “During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, absentee voting allowed Connecticut voters to safely cast their ballots on their own terms; in future years, that flexibility will remain valuable to countless voters, and they deserve to make the final decision on this issue in 2024.”

The resolution proposes a constitutional amendment to remove Connecticut’s current constitutional restrictions on absentee voting. Connecticut currently only allows absentee voting in five very particular circumstances:

  1. you’re out of town all day on Election Day
  2. you’re sick or have a physical disability and cannot make it in-person to the polls
  3. your religion forbids you from any secular activity on Election Day
  4. you’re on active duty in the Armed Forces; or
  5. you’re an election official whose duties will keep you from voting on Election Day.

73% of all Connecticut voters support expanding access to absentee ballots to all voters without requiring an excuse, including 90% of Democrats, 75% of unaffiliated voters and almost half of all Republicans.

In November 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and after legislative Democrats allowed for people to vote from home to avoid contracting COVID-19, more than a third of all the ballots cast in Connecticut were cast by absentee: 650,000 out of 1.8 million ballots cast.

As of 2020, 34 other U.S. states had no-excuses absentee voting laws on their books: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Delaware and New Hampshire are also considering legislation this year to allow for no-excuse absentee voting.