HARTFORD – The Connecticut Senate today voted to pass a bill to create early voting in the state beginning in 2024. The bill, which previously cleared the House of Representatives, would establish Connecticut’s early voting system for general elections to mandate 14 days of early voting, including weekends, beginning in the 30 days before Election Day, with early voting locations open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday and Thursday before the election. Each municipality would have at least one designated early voting polling location, established by the local registrar of voters, and municipalities of more than 20,000 people would have the option to establish additional early voting locations. The bill also requires seven days of early voting prior to a primary (except presidential primaries) and four days of early voting prior to a special election or presidential primary. The legislation now awaits action by Governor Lamont.
The following is a reaction from ACLU of Connecticut public policy and advocacy director Claudine Constant:
“Connecticut voters want and need inclusive, expansive early voting options that make voting more accessible for every voter, especially voters who already face the biggest barriers to the ballot box. Early voting is good for all of us, and it’s especially good for Black, Latinx, and other voters of color, LGBTQ voters, women, parents, elderly people, and disabled people, because it makes the ballot box more accessible. If implemented correctly, early voting is a step forward for racial justice, gender equity, and disability rights. Our democracy is only as strong as its accessibility, and today’s vote is a critical step toward better, more inclusive access to the ballot box for Connecticut voters. We urge Governor Lamont to swiftly sign this bill. If it becomes law, we will be carefully monitoring its implementation.”
In November 2022, Connecticut voters overwhelmingly supported a ballot question to allow early voting in Connecticut. The ACLU of Connecticut Rise PAC conducted polling at the time, which showed the majority (52 percent) of Connecticut voters of color say they would vote early at least sometimes, if they had the option, with Black voters (65 percent) especially likely to say they would vote early at least sometimes.
When asked why they would vote early if they had the option, the top four reasons given by Connecticut voters of color were: work/family obligations on Election Day, being unable to make it to the polls on Election Day, flexibility, and long lines and crowds on Election Day.