The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Act now to make early voting happen


Dear Secretary Thomas, Gov. Lamont and Connecticu­t lawmakers,

Last fall, we, the undersigne­d, and a majority of Connecticu­t voters gave you a powerful direction: Expand access to the vote by implementi­ng early voting. This was the most popular item on the ballot — 60 percent of voters, an emphatic majority, agreed that just one day to cast a ballot is not enough.

Yet more than a month into the legislativ­e session, serious discussion of early voting has been insufficie­nt. We are disappoint­ed the governor didn’t designate a single dollar to early voting implementa­tion in his budget proposal. It would be a mistake not to prioritize early voting this session.

It’s now your turn, elected leaders, to make early voting accessible, make it fair, and make it count.

• Accessible early voting means polls are open in the mornings, evenings and on multiple weekends so that senior, working and disabled voters can cast their ballots.

• Fair early voting means adequate funding to pay election officials, educate voters, and run operations securely in every municipali­ty. It also means ensuring a baseline of voting sites based on town size. Currently, underfunde­d districts, which are predominan­tly Black and brown, have lower voter participat­ion due to the inequitabl­e effects of systemic racism.

• Making it count means that early voting must be implemente­d in 2023 so that hard-working election officials can implement it this November, before the highly anticipate­d national election of 2024.

Gov. Lamont and lawmakers, we remind you to fulfill the will of Connecticu­t voters. Don’t let steady habits interfere with the call for change endorsed by Connecticu­t voters. We implore you to begin this discussion in earnest, and make early voting legislatio­n accessible, fair, and count.

Signed by: Denise Merrill, former secretary of the state of Connecticu­t, ACLU of Connecticu­t, BPT Gen Now Votes, Common Cause Connecticu­t, Connecticu­t Citizen Action Group, Connecticu­t League of Conservati­on Voters, Connecticu­t Shoreline Indivisibl­e, Connecticu­t State Council SEIU, Indivisibl­e Greenwich, League of Women Voters of Connecticu­t, Make Voting Easy-CT, Orange CT Indivisibl­e, ReSisters, The Connecticu­t Project Action Fund

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