The secretary of the state is pushing for a constitutional amendment to open the floor for voting law reforms that will allow early voting and absentee voting in any situation.
As part of a broad initiative to modernize Connecticut’s voting system that started in February, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is pushing for a constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to change the absentee voting rules or enact early voting.
Currently, the Connecticut state constitution allows absentee voting in only six very specific cases, such as physical incapability to travel to the polls or a religious prohibition on voting in person, and bans early voting. Both Republican and Democratic state legislative leaders have expressed support for the amendment, but are divided on whether early voting or absentee voting is a better reform to pursue after the constitution is changed.
In most states, the legislature can change voting rules by simply passing a statute. But in Connecticut, the constitution restricts the legislature’s ability to act.
If the amendment is passed, the floor will be opened for discussion on two main voting reforms. One possibility is allowing absentee voting for any situation, not just the six currently specified in the constitution. Another is early voting, which allows citizens to vote at their convenience.
An absentee ballot can be mailed in to the polling station, but early voting takes place in-person at a polling station. Av Harris, the director of communications for the Secretary of the State, said last Friday that both provide a lot more flexibility and convenience, making it easier to vote.
“You have to think of voters as your customers,” Harris said. “If you’re a business you have to serve your customers very well.”
Paul Gronke, a professor at Reed College and director of the Early Voting Information Center, said that the whole country was moving in the direction of early and absentee voting.
Full Article: Conn. voting laws up for change | Yale Daily News.