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Merrill calls for easier access to absentee ballots for this November election

Conn. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill
Jessica Hill
Conn. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill

Connecticut’s Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has urged lawmakers to pass legislation to allow voters easy access to absentee ballots this November.

In the 2020 election, an executive order by Governor Ned Lamont allowed people to vote by mail to curb the spread of COVID-19. Merrill said that led to the highest voter turnout in decades. But Lamont’s executive order has expired. That’s why she wants lawmakers to pass legislation that would make it easier for voters to obtain absentee ballots for this year’s election, said Merrill, during testimony before the Government Administration and Elections Committee.

“It does not allow universal access to absentee ballots without the voter providing an excuse. But it is an important and reasonable step to take while a constitutional amendment to allow all voters to vote by absentee ballot, if they chose to do so, is awaiting second approval by the Legislature in 2023 or 2024,” she said.

Lawmakers are considering two bills, one that would specify illness as grounds for claiming eligibility to vote by absentee ballot in the November 8 election. The other does not limit the change to this year’s election.

Republicans oppose the bills. They claim the bills might make it easier for election fraud to take place.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.