Being the “Land of Steady Habits” sometimes means we are simply too slow to embrace needed change. Our restrictive voting system is a good example.
I’ve said it before: Life is complicated and messy, and many people find it hard to carve out time on Election Day to get to the polls.
Can’t find childcare – it’s hard to vote. Have an unexpected business meeting in Manhattan that pops up on your calendar – it’s hard to vote. Work two jobs – it’s hard to vote. Taking care of your elderly family member – it’s hard to vote.
Establishing an early voting period is a move that addresses both voter equity and accessibility by allowing a longer time frame for you to vote. It could be a few days…a week…the weekend before Election Day (those specifics would be up for debate).
Your voice should not be silenced just because you can’t make it to the polls within a 14-hour span on a single day (Election Day). Childcare, caring for an elderly parent, work: these are all real issues in Connecticut residents’ lives. Early voting would allow you to honor your life commitments AND exercise your right to vote.
This November, you have the chance to modernize Connecticut’s archaic election rules. There is a constitutional amendment on the ballot that will allow voters to decide if the state should consider early voting.
By allowing early voting, I believe we will increase voter turnout and see shorter lines at some of our most active Election Day polling locations.
Listen, this is not an off-the-wall proposal… 43 states plus the District of Columbia offer some form of early voting. And it’s not a partisan issue. One of the “reddest” states in the country, Wyoming, offers early voting for its citizens.
The Land of Steady Habits needs to get moving and join the rest of the nation. I encourage you to vote Yes on the constitutional question on early voting.
Matt Ritter is Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives. He represents the 1st Assembly District in Hartford.