To The Editor:
On November 8, we will see a question: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting?” The Monroe Democratic Town Committee believes that you should vote “yes” on this constitutional amendment. The Connecticut Democratic Party also supports a “yes” vote on this constitutional amendment.
In a previously published letter to Monroe Sun, State Representative Tony Scott asked voters to defeat this ballot initiative by voting “no”. Rep. Scott’s objection to this constitutional amendment has many unfounded assumptions and ignores the positive effect that this legislation could bring to Connecticut.
There is no evidence that voting “yes” on this amendment would raise our taxes nor would it result in another unfunded state mandate.
The use of absentee ballots may seem like early voting to Rep. Scott, but it is not at all the same. Absentee ballots, as he points out, create burdensome work for Town Clerks. A process for early voting could ease the burden created by absentee ballots and streamline the counting on election day.
Rep. Scott, in his letter, also considers allowing our state legislature to formulate the voting laws to be a negative factor, along with partisan debate, as an outcome if this amendment is approved. These are principles upon which our democracy was founded and to which Rep. Scott swore to uphold when he was elected to serve us in Hartford.
Let’s enable our Connecticut General Assembly, of which Representative Scott is a member, to perform the work that we have elected them to do — create laws that improve our lives.
Today, Connecticut’s state Constitution restricts voting in a way that prevents us from having early voting. By voting “yes” on this early voting question, the Connecticut General Assembly could create and pass a law that would remove another barrier to voting. Representative Scott would have the ability, and obligation, to be part of that legislative process to assure his constituents that the law was fair and balanced. It was bipartisan votes in the Connecticut House and Senate that put this measure on the ballot so we have their support.
It’s important to understand what laws govern early voting in other states. As of June 2022, 45 states and the District of Columbia had enacted early voting laws. Only four states — Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi and New Hampshire — do not offer pre-Election Day in-person voting options for all voters, though they may offer pre-Election Day in-person voting options for eligible absentee voters.
More than 46 million people nationwide voted early in 2016, but not in Connecticut. Connecticut is behind the rest of the nation. We need to bring our voting laws up-to-date in ways that fit the way we live. Voters need secure, flexible ways to cast their ballots.
We need to take the first step by trusting our Democrat and Republican state legislators by giving them the power to modernize our elections. A “yes” vote on November 8th will begin the process.
Digital Director Vice Chairman
Monroe Democratic Town Committee
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