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CT Senate passes CT voting bill that would expand voting access to residents

Senate Bill 5 passed the State Senate Tuesday evening on a final vote of 25-10.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut State Senate passed a voting bill Tuesday night that would expand voting access to residents. 

Senate Bill 5 or "An Act Concerning Increased Opportunities For Absentee Voting, Safe and Secure In-Person Voting, Voter Registration And Certain Other Changes Regarding Election Administration," would allow different state agencies in Connecticut to automatically enroll residents through a state-approved electronic system. 

The agencies would include libraries or any state-funded program that helps people with disabilities and would have to include a voter registration application for any sort of change like a change of address. 

"As Connecticut works to return to normalcy following the coronavirus pandemic, certain procedures are being worked on to improve the standards of voting in the state," said Senator James Maroney (D-Milford). "Instituting an automatic electronic way for voters to register increases the odds for residents to access their voting rights. This creates a more effective way to utilize applications online and allows for more voter participation."

The bill would restore voting privileges, as of July 1, for felons on parole or special parole, or confined in a community residence. 

“Our elections are most effective when the highest number of citizens cast their ballots and exercise their rights,” said Senator Saud Anwar (D-south Windsor). “I am highly supportive of this bill because of the opportunities it seeks to make voting registration easier, expands access to absentee ballots and takes further steps to benefit our state’s election systems. It will make sure access to the ballot is expanded and gives more Connecticut residents opportunities to cast their votes.”

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill released a statement Tuesday night praising the bill passing the Senate: 

“As other states across the country have moved to curtail voting rights, tonight the Connecticut Senate took a significant step to increase voter access for the citizens of Connecticut.

Codifying and expanding Automatic Voter Registration will make it easier for Connecticut citizens to register to vote and help local election officials to keep accurate voter rolls; secure absentee ballot drop boxes give voters the ability to conveniently deliver their ballots without having to rely on the US Postal Service; and allowing people on parole to vote, just as people on probation can already do, expands the franchise and helps fight recidivism by reintegrating people into the civic life of their communities.

Senate GAE Chair Mae Flexer, Senate President Marty Looney, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff deserve a tremendous amount of credit for putting together this bill and passing it tonight.”

SB 5 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

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