Governor Ned Lamont has signed an executive order allowing all registered voters in Connecticut to vote absentee in the August 11 primary elections.
Current state law authorizes the use of an absentee ballot for six reasons, including a voter’s active service in the Armed Forces; absence from town during all of the hours of voting; own illness; religious beliefs; duties as an election official; and physical disability.
“Nobody should need to make a decision between their health and their right to vote,” Governor Lamont said. “Our state has taken every responsible step to this point to ensure that our residents are safe, and the next step we must take is to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19 when Connecticut residents cast their ballots. We must guarantee access to the ballot, and this is a way to do that during these extraordinary circumstances. I do not take this decision lightly, and it is with the public health and welfare of residents in mind.”
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano says he understands the need for vulnerable populations, but is concerned.
"No matter how well reasoned the intentions are, the act of circumventing the constitution is not a luxury any governor should resort to and begs for legal challenges," Fasano said. "I also have significant concerns about the proposed drop box collection method for ballots which I have raised to the Governor's administration and Secretary of the State. Setting up unattended outside drop boxes for people to submit their ballots contradicts state law which requires in-person return of absentee ballots for security purposes and to protect the integrity of the voting system. Drop boxes present unique security issues related to stuffing ballot boxes, which is why state law clearly emphasizes the importance of in-person absentee ballot returns."
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill intends to mail every registered voter in the state an application they will need to fill out and return in order to obtain an absentee ballot. That application, which will be sent via U.S. Postal Service, will include a postage paid return envelope. After processing the applications at the local level, all voters who requested an absentee ballot will receive the ballots in the mail, which will also include a postage paid return envelope.
Each town will also have a secure dropbox in a prominent location to allow voters to deliver their absentee ballots in person without close personal contact.