The state House of Representatives has passed a joint resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to remove the requirement that people vote in person on Election Day. The resolution passed by a 90-49 vote, with 12 members absent. It goes next to the Senate and then to a public vote in the 2014 election. Currently, the state constitution exempts people from voting in person if they are out of town on Election Day, are sick, have a physical disability or hold religious tenets that prohibit voting on Election Day. The only alternative to voting in person is by absentee ballot.
The amendment would allow the General Assembly to pass laws permitting any voter to use absentee ballots and early voting. Early voting could entail practices ranging from voting a month in advance at a polling place to voting online.
The ballot measure, if passed in the Senate, would read: “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?”
“By doing this, (we) give the General Assembly the authority to pass certain laws like no-excuse absentee ballot and other initiatives that allow voters to vote without having to appear on Election Day,” said state Rep. Ed Jutila, D-East Lyme, co-chairman of the legislature’s Government Administration and Election Committee.
Republicans spoke in opposition and said they would rather have a resolution that would allow anyone to use absentee ballots as opposed to a resolution that addresses absentee ballots and “early voting,” which they say is not clearly defined.