Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting? That’s the question Connecticut voters will decide on Nov. 8. This ballot initiative addresses early in-person voting. The state’s current absentee ballot rules will remain unchanged.
Currently, Connecticut is one of only four states that don’t allow any early in-person voting options (along with Alabama, Mississippi and New Hampshire). Early in-person voting time periods range from 3-46 days, and 23 states allow in-person votes to be cast on weekends.
Early in-person voting allows more citizens to participate in our democracy. When polls are only open for 14 hours, once every two to four years, a large number of people are excluded from taking part in this most important action. If you’re scheduled to work, need to travel, if you get sick, if you can’t find child or elder care, if you face transportation troubles or other logistical hurdles during this 14-hour window, you lose your right to choose your representatives due to situations beyond your control.
Early in-person voting can increase voter turnout while reducing long lines during peak voting times in the morning and evenings on election day. Finally, when voting is restricted to one day, there often isn’t time for a Registrar and voter to correct a registration problem before the polls close, which denies that voter of his/her vote. Early in-person voting allows time for any registration issues to be discovered and fixed, allowing everyone who’s entitled to a ballot to have his or her vote count.
A healthy democracy provides an election system that is free, fair and accessible to all eligible citizens. Using the same safeguards as in-person voting on election day, early in-person voting requires voters to verify their identity and is conducted with the oversight of the town’s Registrar of Voters. It simply allows greater participation in our democracy, and that’s something we should all support.