Derek Slap

STATE SENATOR

Derek Slap

DEPUTY MAJORITY LEADER

YOUR VOICE COUNTS

May 25, 2021

Sen. Slap Votes for Significant Step Forward in Connecticut Voting Rules


HARTFORD – State Senator Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) this evening joined his colleagues in the state Senate to approve a modernization of Connecticut voting laws that will immediately improve voting access for many state residents 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.

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,” passed the Senate on a 25-10 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“We have some of the most restrictive voting laws in the Northeast, even in America, right here in Connecticut,” Sen. Slap said. “This bill is a good step forward in correcting that and in expanding voting access to more Connecticut citizens. Combined with some other bills that we are supporting in the legislature – bills that seek to update our state constitution – we are on track to making significant, long-lasting changes to Connecticut’s antiquated voting laws.”

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