No matter what polling location you use tomorrow, you will find an additional question at the top right of the ballot sheet regarding a change to the state constitution.
Town Clerk Patrick O’Sullivan sent out a PDF sheet explaining the question and what it would mean to CT residents if it passes.
The Yes or No question on the ballot reads: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?”
A ‘Yes’ vote on this constitutional question would not change any laws immediately, but it would permit the General Assembly to loosen current restrictions on absentee voting and potentially enact some form of early voting, as 35 other states have done.
A ‘No’ vote leaves our constitution and our election laws as they currently are.
The CT League of Women Voters, which supplied the brochure that O’Sullivan sent out, is a strong supporter of the constitutional change.
“Connecticut lags behind 36 states and the District of Columbia, which have one or more methods for any eligible voter to cast a ballot before Election Day, either by Early In Person Voting, availability of absentee ballots for any voter requesting [them], or voting by mail,” said Judy Dolphin and Gloria Bent, league co-presidents. “If the constitutional amendment question on the ballot receives a Yes vote, then our state legislature can consider the voting alternatives most other U.S. residents already enjoy. If the question fails, then the state is left with its existing one day in person voting and limited absentee ballots.”
The League of Women Voters offers several reasons why it believes the amendment is a good idea.
• Current law denies certain individuals the right to vote, because prospective voters may face long working hours or commuting time, unpredictability of work schedules, or unanticipated personal obligations.
• Offering voting alternatives would lower barriers to participating in the electoral process.
• Voting alternatives help those who are vulnerable to disenfranchisement, such as the elderly, and those reliant on public transportation.
• Early voting allows more time to resolve voter registration issues or other confusion.
• Voting alternatives alleviate long wait times at polls.
• Requiring an excuse for absentee ballots does not improve security.
• Democracy works best with active participants, and flexibility in voting is a needed reform.
Currently, a portion of the Connecticut constitution outlines the state voting process, including the manner, time, and place in which voting may take place. It mandates that ballots must be cast in person at a designated polling place on Election Day, unless specific circumstances allow a voter to obtain an absentee ballot.
Exceptions to the in-person voting regulation include illness, disability, absence from town during all voting hours, or religious prohibitions.
Because the restrictions are in the state constitution, the General Assembly does not have the authority to pass any laws to change them. The constitutional amendment would give legislators greater authority to pass laws allowing voters to cast ballots without having to appear at the polls on Election Day and without having to provide a reason for voting absentee.
Some people believe in-person voting on Election Day only and restrictions on absentee balloting reduces the possibility of voter fraud.
Others fear that eliminating the constitutional restrictions could lead to unintended consequences.
If the ballot question on voting language passes tomorrow, it will not make any automatic changes to the state’s voting process, but legislators can consider and eventually vote on various early voting methods.
If the question doesn’t pass, no changes can be made to voting regulations.
Connecticut’s Constitution has been amended 31 times since it was adopted in 1818. Amendments have included prohibiting sexual discrimination, changing the voting age from 21 to 18, and eliminating county sheriffs.
Orange has three (3) different districts and two (2) polling places.
Those living in the 114th District will vote at Mary L. Tracy School; Go to High Plains Community Center to vote if you live in the 117th or 119th Districts.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.