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No-Excuse Absentee Ballots Pushed by AARP-CT

Connecticut's voting rules are some of the most restrictive in the country. (svanblar/iStockphoto)
Connecticut's voting rules are some of the most restrictive in the country. (svanblar/iStockphoto)
May 1, 2020

HARTFORD, Conn. - The COVID-19 crisis has brought the issue of absentee-voting rules back to the forefront - and now Gov. Ned Lamont is facing calls to make the process easier.

Right now you have to have an excuse to vote by mail - be in the military, be ill or out of town. John Erlingheuser, advocacy director for AARP Connecticut, says the organization has just published an open letter calling on the governor to use his emergency COVID-19 powers to permit no-excuse absentee voting in the August primary.

"It's for the safety and security of workers in the polling places. The majority of them are 75 and older," says Erlingheuser. "As well as for all voters, especially those that are older who are at a higher risk for dying from coronavirus."

The state Legislature would have to get involved in order for no-excuse absentee ballots to be used in the November general election. The Legislature is expected to reconvene in the coming weeks for a COVID-related special session.

Erlingheuser says the state also should send an absentee ballot directly to all voters.

"Voting absentee ballot in Connecticut is a very cumbersome process," says Erlingheuser. "Requesting an application, mailing that back, getting the ballot mailed to you, mailing that back in. We believe the state should mail everybody a ballot so that we can have safe and secure voting."

AARP Connecticut also is promoting a constitutional amendment that would allow for early voting. A resolution to put it on the ballot passed last year, and it has to pass again this year.

If enacted, it would take effect in 2022. Connecticut is one of only 12 states that prohibits early voting.

Disclosure: AARP Connecticut contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CT