Should CT expand absentee ballot access? Some are wary after Bridgeport ballot scandal

Connecticut is one of only 14 states where people must give a reason to cast an absentee ballot, like you're out of town or sick.

John Craven

Jun 26, 2024, 9:18 PM

Updated 22 days ago

Share:

This fall, voters will decide whether Connecticut should allow "no excuse" absentee balloting. If it passes, you would no longer need a specific reason to vote by mail.
On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union launched a statewide push for the measure. But after two ballot scandals in Bridgeport, some voters are wary of expanding absentee ballots.
"RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY"
The ACLU held simultaneous rallies across the state, including one in front of Bridgeport City Hall.
"This year, your vote is on the ballot," said ACLU field organizer Erycka Ortiz. "Connecticut has the opportunity to do the right thing and also just be on the right side of history when it comes to voting."
Connecticut is one of only 14 states where people must give a reason to cast an absentee ballot, like you're out of town or sick. This fall, voters will decide on a state constitutional amendment that would drop the restriction.
Ortiz called it a matter of fairness.
"When folks don't have child care, when folks are working multiple jobs or when they have to be at many places at once, this creates an opportunity," Ortiz said.
BALLOT SCANDALS
Supporters say you shouldn't need a reason to vote by mail. But after a 2023 ballot stuffing scandal in Bridgeport, and four arrests for fraud related to the 2019 election, convincing voters to expand absentee balloting may be a tough sell.
"Absolutely not. That was a disaster; it would be a disaster for Bridgeport. It's how they steal elections here," said John Torres, whose father once served on Bridgeport City Council. "Ballot harvesting is a thing here in Bridgeport. It's very simple to do."
Others are wary, too.
"People find every way to commit fraud – every way," said Fabiola Joseph, of Bridgeport. "Maybe doing it this way is not a good idea."
But Ortiz insisted that "no excuse" absentee ballots will not lead to more fraud.
"Two things can exist at the same time," said Ortiz. "We can address what is happening here, and also recognize that there's still harm that folks cannot participate in the democratic process."
Voters will decide on the ballot question on Nov. 5, the same day they cast votes for president, Congress and the entire state Legislature.


More from News 12