A ballot question in Connecticut this fall could give Democrats the power to rewrite the state’s historically strict election laws. With Democrats controlling both chambers and every statewide office, this fall’s ballot initiative could spur a series of election reforms aimed at expanding voter access. Republicans argue that passing the law – which could mean changes to Connecticut’s restrictive absentee ballot or early voting policies – would lead to fraudulent voting. Currently, voters in Connecticut, as well as 20 other states, can only cast absentee ballots if they provide a reason why they are physically unable to get to the poll, such as military service or attending college out-of-state. In every other state, voters don’t need an excuse to mail in their ballots rather than appear in person. And unlike voters in a majority of states, Connecticut voters are not allowed to vote early.
Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy has declared support for changes to the law, which he said could increase turnout. Malloy will seek a second-term this fall in one of the country’s most competitive gubernatorial races. Less than 20 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the state’s primaries this year.
Some in the GOP also warned that allowing Democrats to control the process would give the party an edge in future elections. However, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley told the Hartford Courant that he “supports measures to make voting easier.”