Connecticut voters defeat early voting measure

Connecticut voters have rejected an amendment to the state’s constitution giving the General Assembly power to consider allowing early and expanded absentee voting.

The effort to let Connecticut join 34 other states that offer early voting was defeated in a 53-47 percent vote, unofficial results from the Secretary of the State show.

The question posed voters on the ballot Tuesday 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?”

Gov. Dannel Malloy and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, both Democrats, supported the amendment. But Republicans like gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley urged people to vote “no.”

Early voting is considered most advantageous to Democratic candidates. Currently the state Constitution says voting is limited to “the day of the election” and voters can cast absentee ballots only under strict conditions. Those conditions are “an 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” when a religious holiday falls on Election Day.

If voters had approved the amendment, state lawmakers could draft legislation easing those restrictions and perhaps allow “no excuse” absentee ballots — which means anyone who wants one is entitled to one –or the opening of some polling places days or weeks before an election

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