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    Editorials
    Friday, January 27, 2023

    Time for early voting

    It is time for Connecticut to make voting more convenient for its citizens. Voters can help make that possible by answering “yes” to the only proposed state constitutional amendment on the ballot.

    If approved, the constitutional change would pave the way for early in-person voting in Connecticut. The Connecticut Constitution now restricts voting to Election Day — the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November — or by absentee ballot. Only Connecticut, New Hampshire, Alabama and Mississippi prohibit pre-Election Day, in-person voting.

    If Connecticut voters approve the amendment — and they should — it would allow the state legislature to set the details for early voting.

    The question voters will find on their ballots is straight forward: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting?”

    Restricting voting to a single day, one that is a working day and a school day for many, provides a burdensome challenge for busy families and individuals. Participation in our democratic system of governance should be encouraged. Improving convenience by spreading out in-person voting over several days should boost participation.

    Criticism of the proposed amendment, coming largely from the Republican base, centers on its lack of specificity about early voting. The amendment instead leaves it to the state’s elected lawmakers to set the parameters, whether that be a week of early in-person voting or more or less than that.

    While these concerns are understandable, the method the legislature has taken in preparing the amendment is the right one. The alternative would be for the amendment to be specific; voting shall take place for seven days prior to the scheduled election from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., for example. The problem with that approach is that even small tweaks to the early-voting rules would require the difficult, years-long process of amending the constitution.

    Any legislation setting the rules for early voting would be subject to the normal law-making process.

    This would include public hearings, a debate over how far in advance voting should begin, and a discussion as to what financial and administrative assistance towns and cities should receive to make early in-person voting possible.

    Early voting is commonplace in the United States. To the detriment of its citizens, Connecticut is an outlier. It is time for the state to join most of the country in allowing early voting. The Day Editorial Board strongly urges a “yes” vote on the constitutional question.

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