Government Administration and Elections Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HJ-88

Title:

RESOLUTION AMENDING THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO GRANT AUTHORITY TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY REGARDING ELECTION ADMINISTRATION.

Vote Date:

3/23/2011

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/14/2011

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Government Administration and Elections Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The reason for this resolution is to allow the General Assembly to pass a law to allow for an elector to vote without appearing in person at a polling place on Election Day.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Denise Merrell, Secretary of the State: Supports this bill because it would allow the state to use different types of voting including “absentee balloting or early voting”. The 35 states that have absentee balloting see a higher turnout rate among the electorate and there is “less pressure on Election Day”.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director, Common Cause in Connecticut: Supports this bill because it is “the essential step of amending the State Constitution to allow this change to take place.”

Carole Young Kleinfeld, Vice President, League of Women Voters of Connecticut: Supports this bill because it would “loosen the standards for obtaining an absentee ballot.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Essie Labrot, Town Clerk, West Hartford & Vice Chair, Connecticut Town Clerks Association, Inc.: Opposes this bill because the numbers of voters using absentee balloting have doubled or tripled, but at the same time voter turnout has not increased, because the voters who typically come out to vote at the polls on election day prefer to vote by mail. No excuse absentee balloting would “quickly strain an outdated, inefficient and manual process for mailing, accounting for and counting of Absentee Ballots.” The local municipalities would have to “hire temporary workers for the thirty days prior to the election since statutorily, we must mail out ballots within 24-hours of receipt of the application.” No Excuse Absentee Balloting would also add significant cost on the town's budget. There could also be potential fraud and errors as the volume of absentee ballots increase. There is potential for disenfranchisement of voters if there is an error in the handling of the ballot.

Reported by: Tristan Stanziale

Date: 3/25/2011