Matthew Lesser

April 4, 2011

REP. LESSER VOTES TO ALLOW "NO EXCUSE"
ABSENTEE BALLOTING AND EARLY VOTING

State Representative Matt Lesser announced a resolution proposing a state Constitutional Amendment to take the first steps to allow “no-excuse” absentee ballots and early voting was approved today by the state House of Representatives. The legislation passed 97-50.

Lesser, who serves as Vice Chair of the Government Administration & Elections Committee, is a sponsor of the Amendment.

The proposed amendment eliminates the requirement for electors to vote for legislative and statewide offices solely on Election Day and remove restrictions on absentee voting—allowing registered voters to vote by absentee ballot, without having to provide an excuse, such as being out of town on Election Day.

"Currently Connecticut has the tightest restrictions on voting in the entire country," Lesser said. "Incredibly, our State Constitution prevents us from making absentee voting easier for our men and women in uniform, for caregivers or simply for working parents with busy schedules. People are demanding more flexibility and it's high time we followed the lead of other states"

According to the Office of the Secretary of the State, 35 states that have implemented early voting or no-excuse absentee ballots have experienced higher voter turnout and less pressure on election officials on Election Day.

The resolution sets the foundation for allowing the legislature to change the way elections are conducted in Connecticut, particularly relating to the use of absentee ballots and early voting rules.

A resolution to amend the state Constitution must be passed by at least ¾ of the members of the House and Senate in order to go before voters as a ballot initiative in the 2012 election. Since the resolution received approval from less than ¾ of House members it will be taken up again in the 2013 Legislative Session where a simple majority will allow the amendment to appear on the 2014 general election ballot.

"The people will have the final word," Lesser added. "And that's the way it should be."