Legislators debated Monday whether Connecticut should ease restrictions on absentee ballots and also join 37 other states by allowing early voting. Early voting is common around the country but has never become law in the Land of Steady Habits. To ease the restrictions, lawmakers are proposing two separate constitutional amendments for “no excuse” absentee ballots and early voting. In November 2014, Connecticut voters rejected a constitutional amendment on absentee ballots that asked them in a one-sentence question if the Constitution should be changed.
The question was: “Shall the Constitution of the state be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?” That came off as an unpalatable idea, and 53 percent of voters shot it down. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill testified Monday that the 2014 language confused voters at the ballot box.
“My attitude is we do need the state constitution to address these issues,” Merrill told lawmakers on the committee overseeing elections. “It’s not a simple question. The state constitution requires that voters appear on Election Day.” As the state’s chief elections officer, Merrill said she wants “to make it easier for eligible citizens to cast a vote.”
Republicans, though, voted against the constitutional amendment in the past, saying the language was too vague and needed to be changed. This year, the issue will be debated in detail at a time when the Senate is evenly divided at 18-18.
Full Article: Lawmakers Consider Allowing Early Voting – Hartford Courant.