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Senate passes bill to expand absentee voting during special session

The bill which will expand the criteria on who can fill out an absentee ballot is in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The absentee ballot bill is just one of four bills being discussed and voted on during the special session and in a 35 to 1 vote, Connecticut senators voted to pass the act concerning the absentee voting Tuesday afternoon.  

The bill which will expand the criteria on who can fill out an absentee ballot is in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a fear of general large crowds and the ability to social distance for the upcoming August and November elections. 

"Allowing every voter to cast their ballots by absentee ballot due to COVID-19 was absolutely necessary to making sure that every voter can participate in the 2020 election,” said Connecticut Secretary of the State Denis Merrill. “No Connecticut voter should ever have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote.” 

The bill will move to Governor Lamont’s desk for his signature. Merrill also expressed the desire for even more change regarding early voting and no-excuse Absentee Ballots.  

"This should be a first step, not a last step however. According to recent polling, there is a broad and bipartisan consensus – Connecticut voters want to be able to vote more conveniently, through Early Voting and No-Excuse Absentee Ballots, every year, not just in 2020, just like the voters in 43 other states. The legislature should act this year to pass constitutional amendments for these reforms with a super majority and let the voters decide in November,” added Merill.  

The absentee ballot bill is just one of four bills being discussed and voted on during the special session. The polarizing police accountability bill is also expected to be voted on Tuesday evening.  

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