Vote 2022: Election leaders urge approval of early voting amendment
Election Day is two weeks away, but what if you could go to the polls before then? Connecticut is one of only four states without early in-person voting, and supporters are making a major push to get it passed this year.
"It's about time," said former Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat. "Other states have been doing this for many years -- sometimes decades."
Connecticut's state Constitution doesn't allow early voting. This fall, voters will decide whether to amend it.
Margaret Harris, of Norwalk, says she's voting yes.
"There are too many people, especially those in low-paying jobs, who simply cannot take the time off on one day," she said.
But others say one day to vote is plenty.
"You have the full day, right?," said John Pinto, of Norwalk. "The polls are open till what time? Eight o'clock, yeah."
Voters rejected an early voting amendment in 2014, but Merrill believes this time is different.
"There was not an organized effort to get it passed," she said. "And I think, as a result, it did not pass because people didn't know what it was."
This year, Merrill isn't taking any chances. On Tuesday, she and Democratic leaders held a rally for the measure.
"Don't wait; the time is now," said Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons. "Make your voice heard. Help us expand voting rights."
Supporters also launched a new TV ad on Tuesday.
But even if early voting passes, it probably won't take effect until 2024. First, state lawmakers must decide how many days to offer early voting. Up to five days looks likely.
Then, local officials would have to find enough poll workers – and locations to vote. In many states, early voting sites are different than Election Day polling places. Since schools will not be available over multiple days, community centers and libraries might be options.
"With early voting, we're going to have to figure out what they're going to do as far as districts," said Rick McQuaid, Norwalk's town clerk. "Are they going to have, you know, maybe four or five central places that you can do early voting?"