Poll of Connecticut Voters Shows Broad, Bipartisan Support for Early Voting; Expanding Access to Absentee Ballots; Common-Sense Voting Reforms
79% of voters support Early Voting; 73% of voters support giving all voters the option to vote by absentee ballot without needing an excuse
79% of voters support secure absentee ballot drop boxes; 66% of voters support allowing voters to request an absentee ballot through a secure website; 79% of voters support allowing local election officials to notify voters of disqualifying mistakes and giving them the opportunity to fix those mistakes; 77% of Connecticut voters support Automatic Voter Registration; 66% of voters support allowing voters on parole to regain their right to vote
HARTFORD – A recent public opinion poll of Connecticut voters conducted by Secure Democracy showed strong, bipartisan support for Early Voting, expanding access to absentee ballots for every voter without needing an excuse, and other common-sense election reforms that will make it easier for Connecticut citizens to participate in the election process.
73% of Connecticut voters support giving all voters the option to vote by absentee ballot while keeping polling places open, including 79% of voters aged 18 to 34 and 75% of voters aged 65 and up. Despite becoming a polarized, partisan issues during and after the 2020 election, 48% of Republican voters and 44% of Trump voters, along with 75% of unaffiliated voters, 89% of Democrats, and 92% of Biden voters, support expanding access to absentee ballots.
“After the success of temporarily expanding access to absentee ballots to every voter in the 2020 election, Connecticut voters are saying loud and clear that they want that option in every election going forward,” said Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. “No voter should ever have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Allowing voters the option to vote by absentee ballot without needing an excuse will ensure that no Connecticut voter is put in that position again.”
79% of Connecticut voters support having the option to cast their ballots in person prior to Election Day with Early Voting, including 84% of voters aged 18 to 34 and of voters aged 65 and up. Early Voting is embraced by a majority of voters regardless of the political party with 69% of Republicans, 86% of Democrats, 79% of unaffiliated voters supporting allowing early, in-person voting.
“No issue generates more calls to my office than Early Voting. In today’s busy, modern world, voters want the flexibility of being able to vote early in person,” said Secretary Merrill. “Connecticut is far behind the rest of the country in allowing this convenient, secure method of voting – we have waited too long to implement Early Voting.”
Connecticut is currently one of only seven states (along with Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and South Carolina) that doesn’t allow their voters to cast a ballot prior to Election Day without an excuse, and one of only sixteen states that requires an excuse for a voter to vote by absentee ballot.
The restrictions preventing Early Voting and expanded access to absentee ballots are in the Connecticut Constitution and amendments are necessary to remove them. The constitutional amendment to allow Early Voting passed the General Assembly in 2019 with a simple majority; it must pass again in order to go on the 2022 ballot for the voters to decide. The constitutional amendment to expand access to absentee ballots will be before the legislature for the first time – if it passes each chamber with a 75% supermajority it will go on the 2022 ballot for the voters to decide; if it passes with a simple majority it would have to come back to the legislature in 2023 or 2024, and if it passes again it would go on the 2024 ballot for the voters to decide. In both cases, the constitutional amendment would only remove the restrictions and allow the legislature to implement Early voting and/or expanded absentee ballot access.
“The Survey USA poll affirms the League of Women Voters of CT's commitment to protect every citizen's right to vote safely, conveniently, and with confidence in the results,” said Carol Reimers, President, LWVCT. “Voters should be able to choose the method that works best for them: in-person Early Voting, in-person Voting on Election Day, or No-Excuse Absentee Voting.”
“Connecticut should enact measures that encourage maximum participation in the electoral process by expanding the range of voting choices, such as establishing a vote by mail program, including no-excuse absentee voting by mail, and allowing in-person early voting,” said John Erlingheuser, AARP Connecticut Director of Advocacy and Outreach. “The 2020 electoral experience in Connecticut demonstrates the popularity, safety, and security of expanded voting options.”
“Despite the significant temporary reforms through executive orders, Connecticut still lags behind the rest of the country when it comes to voter access,” said Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director of Common Cause in Connecticut. “We urge all members of the Connecticut General Assembly to prioritize an ambitious voting rights legislative agenda that will strengthen our democracy, that includes constitutional amendments to allow all voters to vote by absentee ballot without an excuse and early, in-person voting, as well as legislation for Automatic Voter Registration (AVR), and to unlock voting rights for people on parole. These steps are commonsense, bipartisan, long overdue, and will make Connecticut a national leader when it comes to voter access and voting rights.”
“At a time when some partisan players are working overtime to disenfranchise voters to seize power, it is encouraging to be from Connecticut where we are considering reforms to our voting system that meets the needs of citizens in the 21st century,” said Tom Swan, Executive Director of Connecticut Citizen Action Group. “This poll reinforces the actions of voters in 2020 in terms of how popular these reforms are.”
“It is long past time for Connecticut to join the 21st century and most other states by allowing early voting and no-excuse absentee voting for all,” said Kelly Moore, ACLU of Connecticut Interim Senior Policy Counsel. “By making the ballot box more accessible for people for whom voting during limited hours on one Tuesday is difficult or impossible, early voting and absentee voting make our democracy stronger. Connecticut voters have proven that absentee voting can work here, and the legislature must give voters the chance to decide whether to enact no-excuse absentee voting and early voting in our state.”
Connecticut voters registered strong support for a variety of election reforms that would make registering to vote and casting a ballot more convenient for every voter:
- 79% of Connecticut voters support providing secure ballot drop boxes for voters to drop off their absentee ballots, including 82% of voters aged 18 to 34, 84% of voters over age 65, 58% of Republicans, 80% of unaffiliated voters, and 84% of Democrats, and both voters who live in cities (80%) and voters who live in rural areas (77%).
- 66% of Connecticut voters support allowing voters to request an absentee ballot through a secure website, including 76% of voters aged 18 to 34.
- 79% of voters support allowing local election officials to notify voters of disqualifying mistakes and giving them the opportunity to fix those mistakes, including 86% of voters aged 18 to 34, 84% of voters aged 65 and up, 70% of Republicans, and 79% of unaffiliated voters.
- 77% of Connecticut voters support making voter registration easier through Automatic Voter Registration at the Connecticut DMV and other state agencies, including 64% of Republicans, 76% of unaffiliated voters, and 88% of Democrats.
- 66% of voters support allowing voters on parole to regain their right to vote, just as voters on probation do, including 52% of Republicans, 61% of unaffiliated voters, and 78% of Democrats.
Survey USA conducted the online survey of 808 registered Connecticut voters between January 11 and January 17 2021 for Secure Democracy. The pool of respondents was weighted to US Census targets for gender, age, race, and homeownership. The Margin of Error of this poll is +/- 4.3%. The full poll is attached and can be found here: www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=ff2d7691-1aa7-4aa6-b0f4-0baf490bb16d
Secure Democracy is a nonpartisan organization that works to educate policymakers and the public about secure and fair elections. By collaborating with state leaders, election administrators, and election security experts the organization helps to ensure that all eligible citizens have the freedom to vote and the confidence to know that their vote is counted.
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