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CT Town Clerks Association releases statement on the future of early voting in CT

The association argued both the pros and cons of having No-Excuse/early voting but called for a improvements on CT's other voting issues.
Credit: FOX61/Spencer Allan Brooks
A ballot drop box outside city hall in Hartford, Conn.

CONNECTICUT, USA — The President of the CT Town Clerks Association and Town Clerk of Windsor Anna Posniak released a statement Friday regarding no-excuse/early voting in future state elections. 

On November 4, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced she will be again proposing a new amendment to Connecticut's constitution to allow voters to vote absentee without an excuse. 

Posniak said a time for review should be taken to learn from Connecticut's most recent election - both good and bad- this year. 

CT residents were allowed to vote in absentee this year due to concerns about spreading COVID-19. Applications were mailed out to eligible residents so they could request an absentee ballot. 

The President of CT Town Clerks Association praised early-person voting for giving voters "more flexibility and convenience to cast their ballot." She added CT has the equipment and infrastructure and would be in a good position to make this type of change. 

However, Posniak said Connecticut doesn't have the resources other states' have for their mail-in voting system. She cited increased costs due to overtime and hiring and training new staff as some examples of CT shortcomings if it wanted to implement no-excuse/ early voting. 

There are currently 44 states that allow voters to vote before Election Day either through No-Excuse Absentee Balloting or in-person Early Voting. Some states offer both options. 

Connecticut, along with South Carolina, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Missouri requires in-person voting on Election Day unless the voter has a statutorily defined excuse. 

Read the statement from the CT Town Clerks Association below: 

“This election has proven once again that every vote counts and that Connecticut’s voting system, while cumbersome, is deliberately designed with multiple checks and balances to ensure that each voter gets only one vote and that vote is counted.  As Connecticut looks to change its election laws, we need to make sure that time is taken to review the lessons learned from this election – both good and bad – to make sure that any changes made to the system are done right.

For years, the CTCA has supported early in-person voting by tabulator as a means to give voters more flexibility and convenience in casting their ballot.  The State currently has the infrastructure and equipment and would be in a good position to implement early in-person voting.

On the other hand, as we have seen this year, no-excuse absentee balloting is a huge undertaking that the State and our towns simply do not have the sustained capacity to accommodate in the near future.  While Town Clerks and Registrars of Voters stepped forward during this public health crisis to implement for the first time ever in Connecticut a statewide vote by mail system out of thin air, Connecticut lacks the resources other mail voting states enjoy.

Other states that have utilized mail voting for years are vastly different from Connecticut.  They have county-based election systems, infrastructure, technology, and large staffs specifically and solely trained in election laws to handle mail voting. 

We have none of that in Connecticut, where elections are administered town-by-town with balloting responsibility split between Town Clerks and Registrars of Voters.  In this election, Town Clerks, who have many essential responsibilities aside from processing absentee ballots, faced a daunting and unprecedented task of administering and processing no-excuse ballots for the first time in Connecticut’s history.  While we are proud to have met this challenge successfully, it was not without repercussions including having to close our offices to other important services, incurring overtime costs and increased part-time employee costs, hiring and training new staff and volunteers, and finding appropriate physical space with our Town Halls all in order to process the ballot applications and ballots.  These considerations and many others, like the State’s aging election technology which caused slow processing times and system crashes, must be comprehensively reviewed and remedied prior to any attempt to implement no-excuse mail balloting in Connecticut.”


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