WASHINGTON, D.C. — As of Friday, Jan. 20, Connecticut lawmakers have introduced at least six bills outlining an early in-person voting process for the state, one of only four without the option. Along with Alabama, Mississippi and New Hampshire, Connecticut does not currently offer in-person early voting options for all voters. During the 2022 midterm elections, Connecticut voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution that allows the state to enact in-person early voting. The amendment itself did not add the law to the books, but permitted the Connecticut Legislature to do so. (A Connecticut resident, representing herself in court, filed a lawsuit challenging the ballot measure, asserting that once passed, she would be “in danger of losing substantial rights, power and privilege over ballot security and election integrity.” On Dec. 15, a court dismissed the case.)
Now, there are several competing proposals before the Legislature to implement the new procedure. Secretary of State Stephanie Thomas (D) recommended 10 days of early voting, starting with the 2023 municipal elections. House Bill 5721 would create a scheme that does just that. Other proposals from Democratic lawmakers include two weeks of early voting, two full weekends of early voting and a general statute change allowing for early voting.
Two bills filed by Republican legislators also add an early in-person voting period, but with numerous restrictions. House Bill 5722 would only permit two days of early voting, but not the Sunday or Monday before Election Day. House Bill 5428 would only permit a narrow list of qualified absentee voters to take advantage of early voting, with none offered the four days prior to Election Day. There is a Democratic trifecta in Connecticut’s state government; the more generous proposals for early voting will likely advance this session.