HARTFORD – The Connecticut Senate yesterday voted 35-1 to approve a bill regarding absentee voting by mail for November’s general election. The Senate’s decision followed last week’s 144-2 House of Representatives vote approving the bill. With yesterday’s Senate approval, the bill passes the Connecticut General Assembly and awaits action from Governor Ned Lamont.
The following is a reaction from Dan Barrett, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut:
“Connecticut is in the midst of a deadly pandemic that does not yet have an end date. Allowing all eligible voters to vote absentee is a common-sense way for the state to guarantee democratic participation without exposing people to the threat of COVID-19. With this bill’s passage, the legislature has sent a message that it does not want Connecticut voters to choose between protecting their health and using their ballot, but that intention may not be realized by the bill’s language alone. The Secretary of the State must remove any doubt regarding the bill’s intent and make sure it is honored across our state by issuing binding guidance that all eligible Connecticut voters are eligible to vote absentee during the COVID-19 pandemic, not only if they are ill from COVID-19 themselves but also if they wish to avoid potential exposure. Our lawsuit in the federal court continues to ensure that all eligible voters may spare themselves the COVID danger and vote absentee in November.”
The ACLU of Connecticut and national American Civil Liberties Union represent two Connecticut organizations and an individual voter in a federal lawsuit seeking to make absentee mail-in voting available to every eligible Connecticut voter during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawsuit, NAACP v Merrill, was filed on July 2 in federal court on behalf of the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches, League of Women Voters of Connecticut, and a Connecticut resident who requires a safe alternative to voting in-person during COVID-19.