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Connecticut officials push for anti-bias voting changes at the polls

Mike Lyle
WSHU Public Radio
Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill advocates for the passage of voting rights reform.

Connecticut lawmakers and civil rights groups met Thursday outside the State Capital to push for voting rights legislation.

Officials said Connecticut has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation. In some cases, they could lead to discrimination such as inaccessible polling locations in urban communities of color and voter intimidation.

“It’s important for us to be able to lead by example and to send a message to others that if you’re going to try to undermine democracy, that you’re going be able to try and undermine the right to vote, that you can’t do it here,” said state Representative Hubert Delany, a Democrat of Stamford.

Claudine Fox, a member of the Connecticut ACLU, said the time is now for the state to set a new standard for voting measures. The bill would help create language assistance for voters who are non-native English speakers and provide legal tools to fight discriminatory voting rules in court.

“This Voting Rights Act would continue to do the push that we need to make sure that everybody has an opportunity, regardless of who they are or how they showed up in this world,” Fox said.

With two weeks left in the legislative session, State Senator Matt Lesser, a Democrat of Middletown, said the state General Assembly is working hard to make the bill a reality.

“I think it’s good for everyone to have more confidence in our election system and more confidence that every vote in this state no matter what town you’re in will be counted,’ Lesser said. “This bill will help make sure that happens.”

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.