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Lawsuit filed by CT Republicans challenges expanded absentee voting in upcoming election

Recently, Governor Lamont signed an executive order expanding absentee voting for the primary in August due to concerns over COVID-19.

CONNECTICUT, USA — A group of Connecticut Republicans are challenging the state's push for expanding absentee voting ballots. 

The 13-page suit was filed on Wednesday in New Britain Superior Court by Dominic Rapini, Linda Szynkowicz, State Senator Eric Berthel(R -Watertown), and State Representative Jason Perillo (R-Shelton). 

The plaintiffs argue for the removal of Secretary of State Denise Merrill's plan to people to vote in absentee due to concerns over COVID-19. Recently, Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order to expand the qualifications of absentee voting for the August primary. The suit calls Merrill's plan is "unlawful and unconstitutional." It also claims the plan is vulnerable to voter fraud. 

State laws currently allow an absentee ballot for six reasons, active service in the Armed Forces, absent from town during all of the hours of voting, illness, religious beliefs, duties of an election official, and physical disability.

Merrill says voters should not have to choose between their right to vote and their health. Connecticut has only recently expanded gatherings of up to 50 people for outside events. 

RELATED: Executive order makes all Connecticut voters eligible for absentee ballots in August primaries

RELATED: Merrill releases voting plan for primary, general election

The Secretary of State released a statement on the State's website Thursday evening addressing the suit: 

"No Connecticut voter should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. As America comes together to battle the COVID-19 virus and to ensure voter participation in an election that will be held under difficult circumstances, this suit seeks to harm both efforts in Connecticut.

"This suit would force people with serious health conditions to come to a polling place in person, despite the CDC warning that their health conditions increase their risk of COVID-19. Voters with heart disease, asthma, or who are immunocompromised because of cancer treatment are at high risk and should have the option of voting safely by absentee ballot.

"It would force doctors, nurses, and EMTs, who have already been putting their lives at risk for our safety, to enter a polling place and interact with poll workers who will see hundreds of other people on Election Day. No voter or poll worker should be forced to potentially infect their friends and neighbors.

"It would force senior citizens, already at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and less likely to recover completely, and their caregivers to enter polling places and risk their health, when a safer option is available, legal, and constitutional.

"This suit will make tens of thousands of my constituents unnecessarily vulnerable to COVID-19. It is wildly irresponsible and I intend to defend Connecticut's voters' right to vote to the full extent of the law."

Read the full suit below: 

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