Government Administration and Elections Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HJ-28

Title:

RESOLUTION PROPOSING A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO PERMIT EARLY VOTING.

Vote Date:

3/23/2018

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/15/2018

File No.:

386

Disclaimer: The following JOINT FAVORABLE Report is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Rep. James M. Albis, 99th Dist.

Rep. Joseph P. Gresko, 121st Dist.

Rep. Josh Elliott, 88th Dist.

Rep. Michael Winkler, 56th Dist.

Rep. Brandon L. McGee, 5th Dist.

Rep. Henry J. Genga, 10th Dist.

Rep. Gregory Haddad, 54th Dist.

Rep. Bob Godfrey, 110th Dist.

Rep. Christine Conley, 40th Dist.

Rep. Peter A. Tercyak, 26th Dist.

Rep. Susan M. Johnson, 49th Dist.

Rep. William Tong, 147th Dist.

Sen. Paul R. Doyle, 9th Dist.

Rep. John "Jack" F. Hennessy, 127th Dist.

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would be placed on the 2018 general election ballot. The ballot measure would give voters more flexibility when exercising their right to vote, by allowing an early voting period. It would also reduce congestion on Election Day.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Denise W. Merrill, Secretary of State:

Secretary of State Merrill testified in support of HJ-28 to help people exercise their most fundamental right. More than one-third of voters voted early in the 2016 election. It would reduce the lines on Election Day and the majority of other states have early voting, which gives voters more flexibility.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Mark H. Bernacki, Legislative Committee Chair, Connecticut Town Clerks Association (CTCA):

CTCA testified in support of HJ-28. Allowing early voting by tabulator will ensure that more ballots will be cast and counted in an environment where ballot rejection is nearly impossible.

Absentee ballots account for approximately 7% of votes in an election, with 3-5% of ballots being rejected and delayed mail delivery. The current “paper” system is costly and lacks proper identification checks.

Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director, Common Cause in Connecticut:

Common Cause testified in support of HJ-28. Based on research, the benefits of early voting includes reduced stress on the voting system on Election Day, shorter lines on Election Day, improved poll worker performance, early identification and correction of registration errors and voting system glitches, and greater access to voting and increased voter satisfaction.

Common Cause made recommendations for the bill: begin early in person voting a full two weeks before Election Day; provide weekend voting, including the weekend before Election Day; set minimum daily hours for early voting and provide extended hours outside standard business hours; allow use of both private and public facilities; distribute early voting places fairly and equitably; update poll books daily; and educate the electorate about early voting.

Kaley Lentini, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Connecticut:

ACLU-CT testified in support of HJ-28 to help ensure equal access to the ballot box. It will decrease congestion at the polls on Election Day and improve the chances of members of the vulnerable population, such as the elderly and disabled, getting to the polls. 39 states and the District of Columbia have some form of early voting.

Susan Lloyd Yolen, Vice President, Public Policy & Advocacy for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England:

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England testified in support of HJ-28. If passed, this bill would ensure there are sufficient voting days, hours, and locations for all eligible citizens to cast their ballots without undue delay or obstacles. Early voting also allows election administrators to improve election performance by more effectively managing daily voter flow, poll worker training and staffing, and the resolution of potential registration problems before Election Day.

Yvonne Senturia, Election Law Specialist, League of Women Voters of Connecticut, Inc.:

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut strongly supports HJ-28. The League believes that every citizen should be protected in the right to vote and therefore encourage efforts to maximize voter participation and early voting.

Tom Swan, Executive Director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group (CCAG):

The CCAG testified in support of HJ-28. Many people do not have a fixed work schedule or have a commute and cannot guarantee they will make it to the polls before they close. Connecticut is one of only 13 states without early voting. Should that be changed, voter participation will increase and congestion at the polls will decrease.

QUEST, A Program of Leadership Greater Hartford:

Bria Day, Quest:

Elizabeth Eberhardt, Quest:

Maria McKinley, Quest:

Ryan Keating, Quest:

Larisa Kottke, Quest:

Kimberly Parsons-Whitaker, Quest:

Amanda Trothier, Quest:

Meg Taylor, Quest:

Keith Bernier, Quest:

Samantha VanSchoick, Quest:

Quest testified in support of HJ-28. It is convenient, will increase voter turn-out on and before Election Day, reduce bias to the wealthy and privileged, and save time from waiting in line.

The Committee received over 50 pieces of additional, similar testimony in support of the bill, stating its impact on convenience, flexibility, and the desire to align CT with much of the rest of the country.

Allen, Andrea K

Asgharian, Ahmad

Bacolini, Paula

Bossers, George W

Boye-Williams, Patricia

Bradley, Joseph W., Rev.

Brown, Eric S

Butlin, William

Byer, Marion

Casserino, Casey Beth

Coltz, Jessika J

Diamond, Ann

Durocher, Kristi

Ewing, Amy

Foss, Elizabeth Anne

Fritsch Jr., Walter S

Gallo, John

Gryk, D

Hanratty, Judith

Huttner, Sharon

Kaplan, Ira

Kaplan, Ronny

Kelley, Michael

Kleindienst, Jennifer

Kobasa, Stephen V

Kushner, Julie

L Heureux, Marie I

LaPenta-Duffek, Terri

Lounsbury, Amanda

McCullough, Christina

Messina, Len, Professor, retired

Miller, Christopher R

Miller, Susan C

Moulder, Frances

Nichols, William

Perloe, Jonathan

Quesada, Elizabeth

Rawls, Carol

Reeseman, Jim

Robertson, Mary M

Runyan, Claire

Ryan, Peter

Siegel-Miles, Alyssa

Siskind, Jen

Sullivan, Garrett

Truglio-Kirwin, Marilyn

Twiggs, Joan E

Tyler, Corinne

Vavasour, Robert

Waldron, Mary

Ware, David K

Winter, Steve

Zelinsky, V

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed.

Reported by: Stephen Hoyt

Date: 4/10/18