Poll workers handed out I Voted Today stickers in Guilford during the 2021 election. Today's Q poll indicates that both Gov. Ned Lamont and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal maintain comfortable leads over their Republican challengers. Yehyun Kim / ctmirror.org

Some people are unaware that there will be a referendum question on the ballot on November 8. Depending on what town you live in, it might appear on the back of the ballot — look for it and vote YES for the freedom to vote early in person!

The ballot question will ask: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting?”

Here is what this is about:

Connecticut is one of only four states that do not permit any early in-person voting. (Yes, only four. The other three States are Mississippi, Alabama and New Hampshire).

Connecticut is an outlier. Why? Because, unlike most other states, our voting rules are in our State Constitution. That makes them hard to change even when they are outdated and no longer serve us.

In 2021, the Connecticut legislature agreed, in a bi-partisan vote, to put the Early Voting Referendum on the November ballot.

The ONLY thing the referendum is asking you to decide is: Do you agree with the idea of amending the Connecticut Constitution to allow for early in-person voting? Vote YES.

If the referendum passes, then the legislature will decide what early in-person voting will look like. They will decide how many days of early in-person voting to allow and the mechanics of how it will happen.

Naysayers will profess concerns about voting yes when we don’t know how many days will be allowed. That is the whole point. We want to allow the legislature to decide what makes sense for our state in consideration of any costs involved and logistical concerns. We trust our legislators, who we elect, to make all kinds of decisions regarding our health, safety, environment, etc. They can handle this.

Plus, no one is forcing a person to vote early. If a you need more time to research candidates, you can vote on Election Day.

Keep in mind that we are talking only about in-person early voting. Any claims that early in-person voting is not secure are disingenuous. We trust our registrars of voters to keep our ballots secure for the 14 hours of Election Day and to secure the absentee ballots as well. Early in-person voting does not provide any additional security risk.

Finally, some people opposed to giving voters the freedom to vote early argue that the absentee ballot option is sufficient. That is not true. Absentee ballots are only available to voters who meet very specific constitutional requirements. Not everyone is eligible to vote absentee.

Early in-person voting offers all voters the ability to go to their town hall, or other designated location, and cast a ballot prior to Election Day at a time that meets their needs. This flexibility is crucial for those who work multiple jobs or long shifts. It also is necessary for parents of young children, seniors and people caring for elderly family members who are home bound.

I urge you to vote YES on November 8 for the freedom to vote early. The more voting access we provide to our citizens, the stronger our democracy will be.

Vicki Volper lives in Westport.