Connecticut towns want more money for early voting. Lawmakers say no way | John Moritz/CT Insider

Amid budgetary constraints at the State Capitol, local officials have been cautioned not to anticipate additional assistance for the ongoing implementation of early voting during the upcoming presidential election this fall. House Speaker Matt Ritter emphasized that while municipal aid might see an increase in funding, none of it would be designated for early voting support. With Connecticut becoming the 46th state to introduce in-person early voting during this year’s presidential primary, the cost burden on municipalities has been significant, with estimates ranging from $4,000 to $70,000 per town. Read Article

Connecticut: Aging Equipment, Limited Funding a Challenge for Early Voting | Angela Carella/CT Examiner

Connecticut is introducing early in-person voting for the first time, creating challenges for managing voter traffic and security. Additionally, the state’s AccuVote ballot tabulators are no longer manufactured, making it difficult to find replacement parts when needed. The state approved $25 million for the purchase of new tabulators and other items, in October, a  request for proposals for new tabulators was issued and the process of evaluating vendor responses is underway. However, new tabulators will not be ready in time for the April 1 presidential preference primary, or for the Aug. 13 primaries and Secretary of State Stephanie Thomas has said it’s unlikely there will be new tabulators for the high-turnout Nov. 5 election. Read Article

Connecticut scrutinizing new voting machines | Paul Hughes/Republican-American

Connecticut is evaluating four voting systems to replace the AccuVote OS scanners and IVS Ballot Marking Devices currently in use in the state. With $25 million in funding released for the purchase of new machines, four manufacturers – ClearBallot, ES&S, LHS Associates (representing Dominion Voting Systems) and Smartmatic – responded to the state’s solicitation for proposals by the October 29th deadline. The State hopes to use the new voting system in the November 2024 elections, with a contingency plan for a pilot program if necessary. Read Article

Connecticut: How a nullified mayoral primary election became a rallying cry for Trump supporters | Marshall Cohen/CNN

An illegal voting scheme has become a rallying point for former President Donald Trump and his supporters who continue to propagate false claims about the security of the 2020 elections and are seeking to sow doubt ahead of the 2024 presidential contest. While election experts argue that fears of widespread fraud in U.S. elections are exaggerated, the case in Connecticut underscores potential vulnerabilities with mail-in voting. A state judge recently nullified the results of September’s Democratic mayoral primary in Bridgeport, ruling that allies of the incumbent mayor violated state law by stuffing hundreds of ballots into dropboxes. This incident has been seized upon by right-wing figures, including Trump and Elon Musk, to bolster unfounded claims of nationwide vote-rigging. Read Article

Connecticut city’s ‘mishandled ballots’ fuel election skeptics. Experts call problem local, limited | Susan Haigh/The Washington Post

A judge’s decision to order a new primary in Bridgeport, Connecticut, due to mishandling of absentee ballots has raised concerns about the security of U.S. elections and fueled conspiracy theories related to the 2020 presidential election. However, election experts emphasize that the situation in Bridgeport is unique and not indicative of widespread issues. An Associated Press review found fewer than 475 potential cases of voter fraud in the six contested states from the 2020 election, a number that wouldn’t have affected the outcome. The Bridgeport case involves “ballot harvesting,” which is prohibited in Connecticut but allowed in some other states. The judge’s ruling creates a complex scenario with Bridgeport voters participating in both a mayoral election and a potential new Democratic primary. Read Article

Connecticut: Towns to get $25 million for voting machine upgrade | Patrick Skahill/Connecticut Public

Connecticut is poised for a significant upgrade to its voting machines, as Governor Ned Lamont announced plans for a $25 million allocation from the State Bond Commission in October. This funding will go towards purchasing new ballot-counting machines, marking the first statewide replacement since the elimination of lever voting machines 17 years ago. While the current machines are still operational, they are showing signs of aging, prompting the need for updated technology. The allocation will cover the purchase of several thousand traditional tabulators and dozens of high-speed tabulators. Read Article

Connecticut advocacy groups push Governor to fund new voting machines | Andrew Brown/CT Miror

A coalition of advocacy organizations, including the ACLU, League of Women Voters, AARP, Common Cause CT, Safe Vote CT, and others, is urging Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont to authorize funding for new voting equipment ahead of the 2024 presidential election. This call for action follows malfunctions and issues with the state’s existing ballot tabulators, which were first used in 2006 and 2007. The state legislature has passed a bill to borrow more than $25 million to replace the aging equipment, but Lamont and the State Bond Commission need to vote to officially allocate the funds. The coalition is concerned that delays in securing new tabulators could jeopardize voting accessibility and election integrity. Read Article

Connecticut: ‘Time is not on our side’: Secretary of State expresses urgency in quest for new voting equipment | John Moritz/CT Insider

Connecticut’s plans to modernize its election infrastructure by purchasing over 3,000 new tabulators might not be ready for the 2024 elections unless officials approve borrowing for the machines soon, according to Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas. A proposed $24.5 million bond package for new equipment and poll worker training, approved by lawmakers in June, awaits final approval from the State Bond Commission. The cancellation of the commission’s August meeting has raised concerns about the timeline, and Thomas hopes to introduce the new machines during the state primary election next August. The current tabulators are outdated and prone to issues, with the planned new models offering enhanced security features and efficiency. Read Article

Connecticut: Funding for new voting machines now up to Governor | Andrew Brown/CT Mirror

Connecticut lawmakers approved over $25 million for the purchase of new voting machines, but it remains uncertain when the equipment will be available for use by local election officials. The decision on whether to spend the funds and purchase the new tabulators lies with Governor Ned Lamont. The state’s existing tabulators are over 16 years old and prone to jamming and breakdowns, prompting concerns among election administrators. The procurement process and implementation of the new machines would require time, training, and coordination with local officials, making it important to decide on the purchase soon to ensure they are in place for the upcoming presidential election. Read Article

Connecticut Senate approves constitutional amendment for no-excuse absentee voting | Christopher Keating/Hartford Courant

The Connecticut Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday night to allow absentee voting for any reason in all elections. The resolution will now go to the public for a vote in November 2024. Currently, residents can only obtain an absentee ballot for specific reasons, such as sickness, physical disability, or serving overseas. The resolution has been controversial, with Republicans concerned about potential voter fraud. However, Democrats argue that the amendment is necessary to expand voting rights. Read Article

Connecticut House votes to join 46 other states with early, in-person voting | Christopher Keating/Hartford Courant

Following 46 other states, Connecticut legislators voted Thursday night to allow residents to vote earlier than Election Day for the first time. After more than four hours of debate, the state House of Representatives approved the bill by 107-35 with all negative votes coming from Republicans. The caucus was split as 15 Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the measure. The bill calls for early, in-person voting for 14 days before a general election in November, seven days before the statewide August primaries, and four days before special elections and presidential primaries. Local referendums on budgets and other issues are not included. The 33-section bill gives wide latitude to cities and towns to run their elections, but each municipality must have at least one early-voting location. The locations will be required to be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but have extended hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday and Thursday before statewide primaries and general elections. Early voting would not be enacted until the presidential primaries in early 2024 as vendors and local officials need time to prepare for the change.

Full Article: Connecticut could join other states in allowing early voting

Connecticut: Voting advocates, state legislators work to put state on the “cutting edge” of voter accessibility | Yash Roy/Yale Daily News

As federal efforts to protect voting access have stalled amid Republican opposition, Connecticut advocates are pushing the state legislators to protect voting rights in the state. The Connecticut Voting Rights Act, which has been dedicated to late Civil Rights Leader John Lewis, was passed by the Government and Elections Committee on Monday and now faces a vote in the State House. The bill will expand language accessibility at polling sites, require preclearance for voting rule changes in municipalities with a history of voter intimidation and allow voters to sue municipalities for laws or actions that are intimidatory or discriminatory. Meanwhile, advocacy groups across Connecticut are working with state legislators to pass legislation to enact the state constitutional amendment allowing for early voting. The amendment was proposed in a referendum in the 2022 midterm elections where state voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of the change. Prior to the referendum that authorized the amendment, Connecticut was one of four states that did not allow early voting. Legislators and advocacy groups are currently working to decide if the early voting period will be 14 or 18 days and if cities with larger populations will have more than one early voting location.

Full Article: Voting advocates, state legislators work to put Connecticut on the “cutting edge” of voter accessibility – Yale Daily News

Connecticut: Overheated voting machines and poll workers disrupted last week’s primaries | Sten Spinella/The Day

Voting machines throughout the state were damaged on primary Election Day due to high temperatures, election officials said this week. Norwich and Stonington registrars told The Day that multiple machines at polling locations in the two municipalities malfunctioned during the state’s primary election on Aug. 9. Approximately 50 machines were affected throughout the state, according to the Secretary of the State’s office. Machines that were not at air-conditioned polling locations partially “melted,” officials say, and were unable to tabulate vote totals. With low voter turnout and only Democratic and Republican primaries for the Secretary of the State and U.S. Senate, Norwich and Stonington election workers were not made to stay much later than usual to count ballots, and none of the vote counts were affected by the machine errors. Norwich had four tabulator machines “melt down” at two separate locations on Aug. 9, according to Republican Registrar Cheryl Stover. The malfunctioning machines were at Moriarty Elementary School and Stanton Elementary School. “At first we began opening new tabulators not knowing what was going on. Once we lost more tabulators we realized something is happening due to the heat,” Stover said. “At the end of the day we opened tabulators in air-conditioned facilities and ran all those ballots through. We only had to do that for one of our stations. We had three tabulators at that specific location that melted down during the day, so we were unable to get any numbers off of them because they were completely nonfunctional.”

Full Article: Meltdown: Overheated voting machines and poll workers disrupted last week’s primaries

Connecticut Governor signs bill aimed at widening mail-in voting opportunities | Ken Dixon/CTInsider

Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday signed legislation to allow more mail-in balloting, while state election officials prepare for a permanent change to the state Constitution that they hope to ask statewide voters in 2024. But Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, who used federal pandemic relief funding to mail absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in 2020, said that her office still needs a legal opinion on who will actually be eligible for mail-in voting this year. During a virtual news conference from the Governor’s Residence in Hartford, Lamont, who is quarantining himself after testing positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, said the new voting law had bipartisan support in the General Assembly and will give busy state residents, especially commuters, the ability to mail their ballots rather than be limited by the narrow list of reasons, including personal illness, in the state Constitution. “I want people voting,” Lamont said. “I want people to know that their vote matters. I want people to have a stake in the election and a stake in the outcome. I do believe that the more people who vote, vote with integrity, vote with safety, is the right thing to do for this state.”

Full Article: Lamont signs bill aimed at widening mail-in voting opportunities

Connecticut Bill easing access to absentee voting wins final passage | Mark Pazniokas/Hartford Courant

A bill that would allow out-of-town commuters and caretakers of the disabled or chronically ill to vote by absentee ballot won final legislative passage on a 30-4 vote in the Senate. The measure stops short of allowing no-excuse absentee voting, a step that would require passage of a referendum amending the Connecticut Constitution — something that cannot happen before the 2024 election. Instead, it amends statutory language that is more restrictive than the standard set in the constitution, which disenfranchises voters in some circumstances. The constitution empowers the General Assembly to allow absentee voting by anyone “unable to appear at the polling place on the day of election because of absence from the city or town of which they are inhabitants or because of sickness, or physical disability or … the tenets of their religion.”

Full Article: Bill easing access to absentee voting in Connecticut wins final passage – Hartford Courant

Connecticut: Bipartisan support in House to ease absentee voting | Mark Pazniokas/CT Mirror

Statutory restrictions on absentee voting that can deny ballot access to Connecticut voters in some circumstances would be repealed under legislation passed Monday on a 117-28 vote by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate. Absentee ballots are unavailable to some voters with reasonable or even compelling excuses for not going to the polls: firefighters working 24-hour shifts, nurses anticipating overtime and parents home caring for sick or dying children. “We know there are thousands of people throughout the state in every election — commuters, health care professionals, people who have to take care of a family member who is sick or disabled — who cannot make it physically to the polls and can also not qualify under our current statutes to obtain an absentee ballot,” said Rep. Matt Blumenthal, D-Stamford. The Connecticut Constitution empowers the General Assembly to allow absentee ballot voting only in cases of “absence from the city or town of which they are inhabitants or because of sickness, or physical disability or because the tenets of their religion forbid secular activity.” Separate from an effort to amend the state Constitution to allow no-excuse absentee voting, the bill would remove additional limits imposed by state law: Absences must be during “all hours of voting” and sickness and disability are defined as those of the voter.

Full Article: Bipartisan support in Connecticut House to ease absentee voting

Connecticut: Funding for Election Upgrades Won’t Change How State Votes | Nicole McIsaac/CTNewsJunkie

Connecticut has a total of $8.5 million in state and federal funds to upgrade its election structure, but it will be up to lawmakers to improve access to the ballot. “It is time for us to put aside our very restrictive voter access laws and move forward,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said Wednesday. The financial investment, according to Bysiewicz, will ensure that elections remain free, fair and accessible to all eligible voters. Specific changes focus on modernizing the central voter registration system, election management system, and other pieces of infrastructure that have been in place for two decades. “The right to vote is the most precious civil right that we have,” Bysiewicz said. “COVID-19 proved that we had a lot of obstacles in making sure people were safe when they went to vote.” Connecticut has one of the oldest voter registration systems in the country and the current system is nearing the end of its functional life, according to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. “When we applied for this funding, we knew it was time to make some changes to modernize some of our election’s infrastructure,” Merrill said. State officials said the replacement of the central voter registration system as a way to enhance functionality and security, improve experience of voters and officiate flexibility when managing potential changes in future elections.

Full Article: Funding for Election Upgrades Won’t Change How Connecticut Votes | CTNewsJunkie

Connecticut: Paper Ballots Integral to Election Security | Alex Wood/Journal Inquirer

With election officials around the country under very public attack, Mark Dobbins, the Democratic registrar of voters in Glastonbury, wants Connecticut residents to know more about the procedures election officials here use to make sure that all legal votes — and only legal votes — are counted. One is the old-fashioned paper trail, which Connecticut election officials use for many records, including ballots. “We use a lot of paper, and you can’t hack paper,” Dobbins says. In addition, the tabulating machines that count ballots aren’t connected to the Internet and can’t be hacked into, he says. He adds that the tabulating machines are useless without memory cards. When the cards aren’t in use, he says, LHS Associates, an election services company based in Salem, New Hampshire, holds them securely. Gabe Rosenberg, general counsel to Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill, says the University of Connecticut’s Center for Voting Technology Research, or VoTeR Center, takes the memory cards before and after the election to make sure there are no problems.

Full Article: Paper Ballots Integral to Connecticut Election Security

Connecticut secretary of the state urges Constitutional amendment allowing ‘no excuse’ absentee ballots | Kenneth R. Gosselin/Hartford Courant

After a strong turnout by absentee balloting in Tuesday’s election, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced Wednesday she will propose an amendment to the state’s Constitution to allow for “no-excuse” voting by absentee ballot. “Connecticut voters have spoken, and they want options that make voting more convenient for them, just like voters across the country have,” Merrill said. “The availability of absentee ballots allowed more than 650,000 people to safely and conveniently cast their ballots and helped to drive what will ultimately be among the highest turnout elections in Connecticut history.” As of late afternoon Wednesday, the unofficial voter turnout number for Tuesday’s presidential election stood at 73%, as votes continue to be tabulated across Connecticut. Merrill has said that could climb close to 80%. The proposal drew immediate support from Connecticut’s two Congressional senators. “The success that we’ve had in Connecticut in expanding out absentee-ballot voting opportunities should cause us to once again try to fix the infirmities of our voting system in Connecticut and allow for universal mail-in voting and early in-person voting,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said.

Full Article: Connecticut secretary of the state urges Constitutional amendment allowing ‘no excuse’ absentee ballots – Hartford Courant

Connecticut Election Officials Get Help From Governor To Pre-Process Absentee Ballots | Christine Stuart/CT News Junkie

Gov. Ned Lamont inked an executive order Thursday that will give a do-over to election officials in 19 Connecticut cities and towns who missed the deadline last week to declare their desire to begin opening absentee ballots early. Eighteen towns told Secretary of the State Denise Merrill before the Oct. 24 deadline that they planned to open the outer envelope of the absentee ballots early. A total of 19 cities and towns gave notice too late and would not have been able to start processing absentee ballots early if not for Lamont’s executive order. The General Assembly passed legislation that allows election officials to open the outer envelope of the absentee ballot starting at 5 p.m. today. Town clerks have received more than 567,000 absentee ballots. “Five days before the election the governor had to issue an executive order to allow for ballots to be opened so that people who voted by absentee can have their votes properly counted,’’ House Minority Leader Themis Klarides said. “Uncertainty remained, after months of lobbying by Secretary Merrill, which makes it harder to deliver clean elections in the minds’ of voters.’’

Full Article: Election Officials Get Help From Gov. To Pre-Process Absentee Ballots | CT News Junkie

Connecticut: Absentee voting expansion presents challenges for municipal governments | Sten Spinella/The Day

In response to the expansion of absentee voting provisions, municipal clerks in the region are dealing with an unprecedented amount of ballots and ballot applications this election cycle. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced town and city election officials to alter how they normally do business. Norwich Republican Registrar Dianne Slopak, for example, said the city has 10 people set up to count votes, though there are normally six to eight, depending on the election. She and other registrars have said they’re bracing for a delay in final election results. “We have no idea how long this will take,” Slopak said. “By law, we’re supposed to have preliminary results by midnight of the same day — that’s kind of crazy when you think about it. Registrars start working at 4 in the morning. You can imagine what condition we’re in by midnight. Ballot counters will be starting at about 10 in the morning.” Waterford Clerk David Campo, Groton Town Clerk Betsy Moukawsher, Montville Clerk Katie Sandberg and Slopak offered illustrative examples. In Waterford’s 2019 municipal election, 248 absentee ballots were issued. In its 2018 state election, 672 were issued. And in its 2018 state primary, 93 were issued. As of July 29, 1,853 were issued for the upcoming Aug. 11 primary alone. The number of absentee ballot requests for the Nov. 3 presidential election are expected to exceed that. 

Connecticut: House Overwhelmingly Approves No-Excuse Absentee Ballots | Christine Stuart/CTNewsJunkie

Republican lawmakers loudly objected to the ballot boxes Secretary of the State Denise Merrill bought for every town in Connecticut, but only two voted not to expand absentee ballots in the November election. The House voted 144-2 in favor of a bill that allows anyone concerned about going to the polls on election day to vote by absentee ballot. Reps. Whit Betts and Cara Pavalock-D’Amato of Bristol voted against the bill. Republicans argued that they don’t want to suppress the vote in November. “It’s not about voter suppression as I heard before,” Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said. “It really is about making sure every vote is counted.” Candelora said the absentee ballot process isn’t as simple when you engage in it. He said many of these absentee ballots are often done incorrectly when they don’t have the ability to ask the town clerk questions.

Connecticut: A challenge to expanded absentee ballot use loses again in court, for the second time in two days | Edmund H. Mahony/Hartford Courant

The widespread use of absentee ballots in the August primary election grew more certain Tuesday when another judge – the second to do so in two days – rejected an argument by four Republican candidates that expanded use of the ballots is illegal. Superior Court Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher rejected the central claim in a suit by the candidates that an emergency pandemic order by Gov. Ned Lamont expanding absentee ballot access is illegal because only the General Assembly has the authority to decide who can vote absentee. The suit landed before Moukawsher Tuesday because a day earlier Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson dismissed the it on technical grounds, saying it had been improperly filed with that court. After hearing an hour of argument by video conference, Moukawsher issued a brief order rejecting the contention that the governor, under the state Constitution, lacks the authority to expand or restrict the use of absentee ballots. He said a written opinion would be forthcoming.

Connecticut: Judge Refuses to Block Mailing of Absentee Ballots | Christine Stuart/Courthouse News

Four Republicans running for Congress chose the wrong venue to challenge Connecticut’s mailing of absentee ballots to all eligible voters, the chief of the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. While the candidates styled their complaint as an original jurisdiction proceeding in the state Supreme Court, counsel for the state emphasized in a motion to dismiss that the law permitting such challenges “applies only to elections, not primaries.” Chief Justice Richard Robinson tossed the case Monday afternoon shortly after holding remote arguments on the motion. With the Connecticut primary scheduled for Aug. 11, Secretary of State Denise Merrill is set to mail the absentee ballots on Tuesday, having already mailed applications to all 1.25 million of Connecticut’s registered voters. In a 1-page order, the chief wrote that an original proceeding under state law 9-323 “is not a proper vehicle to challenge a ruling of an election official with respect to a primary.”

Connecticut: GOP voter fraud task force heightens dispute over balloting | Kaitlyn Krasselt/CTPost

With an eye on November, the state Republican Party has taken its concern for potential voter fraud to a new level, creating its own citizen task force to record and investigate cases of potential fraud. Party Chairman J.R. Romano, who has said he’s not opposed to expanding mail-in balloting, rails against the state’s decision to mail absentee ballot applications to every active voter eligible to vote in the upcoming August primary — about 1.2 million people — claiming the practice will lead to widespread voter fraud. “If someone reported to us that they got an absentee ballot application for someone that has been dead for 12 years, we’re going to investigate to see if this person has actually cast a ballot to be listed as an active voter,” Romano said. The task force would ease reporting of possible abuses to party and elections officials. But as Democrats see it, charges of fraud in elections are a Republican lie and a task force is not needed. “The last 30 years of voting statistics in Connecticut prove that voting by absentee ballot is not a problem, and has never been a problem, in Connecticut,” said state Sen. Mae Flexer, who co-chairs the legislature’s Government Administration & Elections Committee. “The Connecticut Republican Party has got to stop parroting President Trump’s lies about voter fraud, and it has to stand up for democracy and individual rights.”

Connecticut: Another suit seeks to expand absentee voting in an already litigious election year | Edmund H. Mahony/Hartford Courant

In what is shaping up as a litigious election season, a new lawsuit was filed Thursday to force the state to expand access to absentee ballots in the November election as a precaution against the coronavirus — a day after another suit argued that doing so would increase the likelihood of election fraud. Connecticut’s laws limiting the exercise of absentee ballots are among the country’s most restrictive, and the run-up to the next two elections — an Aug. 11 primary and Nov. 3 general election — has put COVID-19 at the center of the argument between those who want to expand access and those who don’t. The American Civil Liberties Union sued in federal court Thursday to force the state to make absentee ballots available to every eligible Connecticut voter in November. Failing to do so during a pandemic, when waiting in long poll lines could increase viral transmission, is a violation of the right to vote, the suit claims. The ACLU sued on behalf of a voting rights group, an elderly voter vulnerable to viral infection and the NAACP. The suit claims Blacks in Connecticut suffer disproportionately from health and voter access problems as victims of years of systemic racism. It filed similar ballot suits in Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota.

Connecticut: Republicans sue to block Lamont emergency COVID order permitting all-absentee ballot primary election | Edmund H. Mahony/Hartford CourantHartford Courant

Four Republican candidates for Congress are trying to block the state from implementing an emergency pandemic order by Gov. Ned Lamont that could dramatically increase the use of absentee ballots for the state’s delayed Aug. 11 primary by distributing them to any voter who claims to be worried about contracting the coronavirus at the polls. The candidates are part of a group called Fight Voter Fraud and their suit targets Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, the state’s chief election officer. The suit contends Merrill has interpreted the emergency order so broadly that the absentee ballot applications prepared by her office encourage absentee voting by everyone, putting the integrity of primary elections at risk. “Today Fight Voter Fraud Inc. filed a lawsuit with the Connecticut Supreme Court on behalf of candidates on the August 11, 2020 ballot who wish to have a fair, honest, and constitutional election.,” the candidates said in a statement. “The lawsuit asks the Court to order (Secretary of the State) Denise Merrill to stop sending voters applications that misinform about the true legal requirements for voting by absentee ballot.”

Connecticut: Voters will be allowed to cast mail-in ballots for the presidential primary if a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t available by August | Zach Murdock/Hartford Courant

Every Connecticut voter will be able to cast a mail-in or drop-off absentee ballot in the state’s delayed-to-August presidential primary election if no COVID-19 vaccine is widely available by then, per a new executive order issued Wednesday by Gov. Ned Lamont. The order comes the same day that President Donald Trump blasted officials in Michigan and Nevada for their plans to send absentee ballot applications to millions of voters — as Connecticut already had announced — and said that he would withhold some unspecified funding from those states in retaliation. Lamont shrugged off the president’s threats at his daily coronavirus news briefing Wednesday afternoon, and pledged to work toward a similar measure for the upcoming November general election.