Protect Health and Voting Rights
To the Editor:
Absentee voting is a cornerstone of American democracy. Voting should occur wherever and whenever a voter feels most comfortable engaging with this fundamental right. Having the ability to vote absentee for any reason is always important but especially so now in the time of Covid-19.
I strongly support the CT legislature in its endeavor to extend no-excuse absentee ballots to apply to the general election in November. In the past few months, it has become clear that it is nearly impossible to predict the future of this pandemic. Second and third waves and vaccine availability all remain a huge mystery to everyone. Until we gain a much better grasp on Covid-19 and foresight into its movement, many people will rightly remain unwilling to cast their votes at a polling center in November. Thus, people should not have to provide an excuse to request an absentee ballot. This bill will protect our citizens and our voting rights immensely and is absolutely crucial for the legislature to pass in the special session.
Additionally, this bill proposes the placement of absentee ballot drop boxes around CT. This is the safest, most effective way of ensuring all ballots end up where they are supposed to. Voting should be made as convenient and flexible as possible in order to ensure everyone who can vote does vote. The legislature must protect our fundamental right to vote and pass this bill in special session.
Preservation of Democracy in Era of COVID-19
To the Editor:
During this month’s special legislative session in Hartford, lawmakers will vote on a bill regarding absentee voting during the November election. Access to absentee voting is necessary and critical to the preservation of democracy, especially in the era of COVID-19 where in-person voting is inaccessible to so many people.
Absentee ballot legislation will expand Connecticut’s restrictive conditions on absentee voting and will allow anyone to vote by an absentee ballot in November. Instead of limiting mail-in voting to those who are out of town or ill, any Connecticut resident will be able to mark Covid-19 as a reason to receive an absentee ballot.
While Republican lawmakers claim that an expansion to absentee voting is a gateway to fraud, mail-in voting policy is crucial to ensuring all Connecticut residents can safely and effectively vote. Additionally, evidence of voter fraud is extremely rare in Connecticut with just 196 of alleged cases of in-person voter fraud and 89 alleged instances of absentee ballot voter fraud between 2000 to 2012. Altogether, that totals only 285 cases of alleged voter fraud over the course of 12 years with approximately 12 million votes cast. In fact, an advanced mail-in absentee system might actually improve and update voter rolls in towns and lead to greater accountability and perhaps less fraud.
Overall, no one should have to choose between protecting their health and safety and exercising their right to vote. Lawmakers in Hartford should use this special session to advance absentee voting and advocate for voter rights in Connecticut.