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State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Senator Needleman Joins Senate Passage of Early Voting Amendment, Expresses Disappointment in Broad Republican Opposition

HARTFORD – Despite broad and severe Republican opposition, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) today joined majority Democrats in the state Senate passage of a resolution that could ultimately allow for early voting in Connecticut.

House Joint Resolution 161, “Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the State Constitution to Allow for Early Voting,” passed the Senate on an almost entirely partisan 23-13 vote. The Republican-influenced vote margin now means that, if approved by voters at statewide referendum, the issue of early voting would have to be voted on again by the next legislature to be elected in November 2020, and if approved, would not take effect until the 2023 election – more than four years from now.

“I joined Secretary of the State Merrill last month at a forum on early voting because I believe in empowering the public with every tool at our disposal,” said Sen. Needleman. “It is incredibly disappointing that my colleagues in the Senate do not support early voting’s benefits. They decided voters would rather wait in long lines on Election Day than visit a polling place in the days prior on their own schedule. They decided it’s fine for voters dealing with work, childcare, transportation issues and other challenges to simply become discouraged and stay home instead of gaining additional freedom to cast their ballots. Regardless, I am happy we were able to move this legislation forward, and will continue to fight to support it.”

The House joint resolution seeks to amend sections of the state constitution to allow for early voting; that is, voting outside the normal 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. time period on Election Day.

Democrats are trying to have Connecticut join the other 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in offering some form of early voting to its busy state residents. Connecticut is one of only 10 states in America that doesn’t have any provision for early voting.

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