The Senate on Wednesday approved a rare Constitutional amendment that would make it much easier to vote by absentee ballot, requiring no reason or excuse at all. The measure, if passed by voters in a statewide referendum in November 2014, would remove all restrictions on obtaining absentee ballots, which are currently granted under certain circumstances such as being away at college or being disabled. The House has already approved the measure. The Senate voted 21-14 in favor of the amendment on a party-line vote. One Democratic senator, Edith Prague of Columbia, was absent. Sen. Gayle Slossberg, a Milford Democrat who co-chairs the legislative committee that oversees elections, said the move would open up voting for more citizens who arrive home too late to cast a ballot by the time the polls close at 8 p.m. “This is important to commuters,” Slossberg said.
But Republicans complained that the measure would also open up a wide variety of potential issues, including Saturday voting, online voting, and early in-person voting that would allow citizens to cast ballots over a period of a week or more. They said they were concerned about potential voter fraud. The voting rules are important because many elections have been close in Connecticut in recent years. DemocratDannel P. Malloy, for instance, was elected governor in November 2010 by 6,400 votes in the closest gubernatorial election in 56 years.