How and when people should be allowed to vote has become a highly partisan issue around the United States in recent years, and Connecticut’s turn is now arriving smack in the middle of a heated political campaign season. Democratic and Republican state lawmakers squared off Wednesday at a legislative meeting over the seemingly innocuous issue of how to explain to voters a proposed state constitutional amendment that’s on the ballot this November. The real debate wasn’t about the wording, but about the proposed amendment itself, one that would remove current restrictions on the General Assembly’s ability to allow things like early voting and “no excuse” absentee ballots. Republicans insist the change could lead to more voter fraud, but Democrats say all they want to do is make it easier for people to vote.
Connecticut’s constitution doesn’t allow early voting measures like those now used in 33 other states, such as opening the polls on the Saturday before an election. At least 27 states permit registered voters to use “no excuse” absentee ballots — but Connecticut will only allow an absentee ballot if someone is too sick or is out of state on Election Day.
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The 2013 General Assembly passed a resolution to have a proposed constitutional amendment on this year’s general election ballot. Because the resolution didn’t achieve a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, both chambers had to pass it again this year to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot.