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B. Rae Perryman,, (860) 992-7645

June 26, 2024

(CONNECTICUT) — On Wednesday, nonpartisan voting rights group ACLU of Connecticut RISE PAC, and community partners including the League of Women Voters of Connecticut and Stamford, the CT League of Conservation Voters, the NAACP Windham/Willimantic, and Full Citizen’s Coalition gathered in several locations across the state of Connecticut to launch a multi-month voting rights effort in support of the No-Excuse Absentee Voting ballot referendum.

On November 5th, the people of Connecticut will see the following on their ballots: Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to allow each voter to vote by absentee ballot?

ACLU of CT RISE PAC and community partners urged voters to “Vote Yes!” on the ballot referendum at the press conference and rally, which was held in person in Hartford, Stamford, Willimantic, and Bridgeport, and simulcast online. The statewide event included each site able to view the others and synchronized speeches from RISE PAC, NAACP Windham/Willimantic, League of Women Voters of Connecticut and Stamford, and the CT League of Conservation voters. The event was simulcast online.

“This was a true statewide effort in a place that can often feel provincial,” ACLU of CT RISE PAC chairperson David McGuire said. “We want to be crystal clear: Connecticut voters should pass the ballot referendum on November 5th and vote ‘Yes’ on No-Excuse Absentee Voting. This is a matter of racial justice, as it ensures that everyone, including marginalized communities have equal access to voting. We’re confident that making voters aware of this ballot referendum and explaining why and how this gives people more rights and more of a voice in their government will encourage passage. There’s an enthusiasm and a demand for voting rights nationwide that’s particularly salient in Connecticut. We wanted to capture that energy across the state today.”

ACLU of CT RISE PAC is a non-partisan political action committee focused solely during this election cycle on the expansion of voting access in the state, specifically by passage of the No-Excuse Absentee Voting ballot measure. In the coming months, the organization will have events, canvassing, and an increased media footprint in an effort to educate voters about the referendum.

“Your vote is on the ballot, and every Connecticut voter deserves to know” said McGuire. “More than half the states in this great country have no-excuse absentee voting rights. Connecticut is behind the curve where it should be a natural leader. No matter who you are, you deserve to have as much access to voting as your fellow Americans.”

Last year, more than 320 bills were introduced in legislatures across the country to restrict voting access. The people of Connecticut have the power this election cycle to further expand their voting access for eligible voters in the state. A person shouldn’t have to produce a “need” to request an absentee ballot.

When voting access is restricted, Black and Brown people are more likely to see their voices silenced at the polls and have less say in their democracy and community. When absentee voting is restricted, there is also a disproportionate impact on people with disabilities, caregivers, and people with multiple jobs. Restrictions on voting access means restricting the civil rights and liberties of the very people who should be encouraged to participate in democracy.

“Voting rights came through our ancestors, and a lot of them actually died fighting for our right to vote,” said Leah Ralls, president of NAACP Windham/Willimantic. “We support the RISE PAC and everything they’re doing to get the message out, and we will also carry this message to our community to encourage early voting.”

“We know for a fact that the most disenfranchised voters in both Connecticut in the country are Black and Brown voters,” said McGuire. “So expanding access and ways for folks to vote, particularly folks that are working multiple jobs or have odd hours is really what we're identifying.”

ACLU of CT RISE PAC does not endorse or work with candidates in this electoral cycle. Along with civic organizations including the League of Women Voters, the CT League of Conservation Voters, and the NAACP Windham/Willimantic, RISE PAC is firm in its civic aim. “We aren’t playing the partisan game,” said McGuire. “We have one goal: Pass the ballot referendum in November. It’s going to take all of us to rise to the occasion.”

Research shows that no-excuse absentee voting is popular among all voters, and does not have a statistically significant partisan impact on elections. But systemic disenfranchisement creates a cycle of negative impact on voter turnout and civic engagement.

“Expanding voting options is essential for ensuring everyone can have their voice heard, especially as climate change poses increasing challenges to our democratic process,” said Julianna Larue, CT League of Conservation Voters. “More ways to vote means more people can vote, regardless of the disruptions caused by extreme weather events. By supporting the No-Excuse Absentee Ballot initiative, we are not only making voting more accessible but also taking a stand for our environment and our democracy.”

“The League of Women Voters believes that our democracy — our nation — is stronger when everyone participates and when everyone votes,” said Patricia Rossi, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut. “People shouldn’t have to work around demanding and changing work schedules, caretaking responsibilities, or unreliable transportation to exercise their right to vote. Connecticut needs to join the modern world and provide all eligible voters access to the absentee ballot.”


If you'd like to access the full recording of the event, visit here for the archived livestream.