In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I urge immediate action by Gov. Ned Lamont and our state legislators to again permit the use of no-excuse absentee ballots during the upcoming special elections.

Without no-excuse absentee ballots, many factors could work against Connecticut citizens who want to exercise their right to vote.   These include unpredictable COVID-19-related barriers such as the voter or a family member being infected, requiring isolation or quarantine; care-giving responsibilities for an ill family member; and switch-over to remote instruction in schools experiencing a high rate of COVID infection, requiring a parent to stay home on election day.

In addition, voters who are vulnerable to more serious consequences of COVID-19 may not wish to congregate indoors at polling places.  Access to absentee ballots for all registered voters would also prevent missed voting opportunities due to winter storms. Absentee voting by a higher percentage of registered voters will decrease crowding at polling places, providing a safer environment for in-person voters and for those who staff the polling places.

I cannot think of a single reason to prohibit no-excuse absentee voting for these special elections.  Let’s not deprive any C0nnecticut citizens of the right to cast their ballots.  I urge quick action on this to give our election officials and staff enough time to get out the ballots.

Karen Edwards MD lives in Stamford.