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Connecticut mayors ask for extra cash to support early voting

M. Spencer Green

Early voting passed in the Connecticut General Assembly — but the fight isn't over.

Municipal leaders from the state's big cities say they need more money to open extra early voting locations.

The bill passed by the legislature funds one polling location per municipality. Extra locations may need to be funded, at least in part, by the local government.

Lawmakers, local leaders, and advocates gathered at the state Capitol on Thursday to ask the legislature to provide extra funding for additional polling locations.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said he wants to make sure all Connecticut residents have equitable access to early voting.

“This is not a big city, small town issue,” Bronin said. “This is a question of access to democracy. This is because we believe that our democracy here in Connecticut is stronger when more people are able to cast their vote.”

Jess Zaccagnino, policy council for the ACLU of Connecticut, said the voting system is already inequitable, and the state can not afford to make it worse.

“It is crucial that our budget reflects the will of the people to create an inclusive, accessible early voting system in our state,” Zaccagnino said. “Connecticut voters deserve a fair opportunity to vote early if we want to. We cannot afford to implement early voting in the wrong way.”

Mayors and advocates say $8 million will be enough to help municipalities secure additional polling places.

Early voting is expected to be in place by the 2024 presidential election, according to the the state Secretary of the State's office.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.