The right to vote is a Constitutionally guaranteed right, yet in many states, it fails to be properly protected. One such state is Connecticut. Connecticut’s state Constitution prevents early voting and no-excuse absentee voting, severely reducing the ability of many eligible voters to cast a ballot. However, this can be changed. Currently, there is a ballot initiative in 2022 that if approved, will amend Connecticut’s Constitution to allow for early voting.
If a resolution is passed by the state legislature in 2023, a similar ballot initiative for no-excuse absentee voting will be present in 2024. It is up to Connecticut’s voters to decide the future of early and no-excuse absentee voting in our state, and both ballot measures should be approved.
There are multiple reasons why Connecticut’s voters should approve a measure in 2022 that allows for early voting to be passed by the state legislature and then implemented. First of all, the ballot measure doesn’t guarantee that we will even have early voting. Instead, it allows for the state legislature to pass a law that creates early voting in the state. Therefore, this ballot measure is allowing the state legislature to do what it thinks is best, rather than the current limitations imposed on how much it can do to better our state.
Even though the ballot measure doesn’t actually implement early voting, it is still crucial that Connecticut implements early voting. According to Corrie Betts, a member of Connecticut’s NAACP, this measure gives Connecticut, “a chance to be a leader in expanding the right to vote and making our democracy accessible to all citizens.” It is crucial that we have early voting, as it dramatically increases the ability of many registered voters to actually cast a ballot, and therefore increases their ability to participate in our democracy.
Currently, Connecticut is one of seven states not to have early voting. This difference between Connecticut and the majority of America is unfortunate, as Connecticut is behind most of the rest of the country in allowing as many eligible people to vote as possible. The measure on the ballot in 2022 will address what Connecticut’s Secretary of State Denise Merrill calls “burdensome and restrictive laws,” and will “make voting more accessible to every eligible Connecticut citizen,” if passed.
Further, “early voting is important for racial justice,” according to David McGuire, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Connecticut. He says that “limits on early voting disproportionately hurt voters of color, people with little job flexibility, people lacking transportation, people lacking childcare, people with disabilities,” and more. The indirect discrimination that is Connecticut’s lack of early voting needs to end, which can be done by implementing early voting.
In Connecticut’s state legislature, there was little opposition to the early voting measure. However, some Republicans argue that no-excuse absentee voting opens the door for fraud, and reduces voter trust in the system. However, allegations of widespread fraud are baseless, and there is little fraud, especially with early voting. The bipartisan nature of the support for both measures (especially the early voting measure), makes clear the importance of increased access for eligible citizens to vote in Connecticut.
Early voting and no-excuse absentee voting are clearly crucial measures necessary in order to expand voter enfranchisement in Connecticut. The implementation of these two systems would reduce voter discrimination in Connecticut, and increase the ability for citizens to participate in our democracy.
The right to vote is fundamental to our nation’s ideals, and early voting helps to ensure the protection of that right. Therefore, in 2022, Connecticut voters should approve the amendment to allow for the state legislature to provide for early voting.
Andrew Greden is a student at Hall High School in West Hartford.