Vote 2023: Early voting won’t happen this year

Lawmakers have settled on offering 14 days of early voting. In 2024, it would run from Oct. 21 to Nov. 3 – including weekends.

John Craven

May 1, 2023, 9:39 PM

Updated 384 days ago


A key legislative committee advanced two plans for early in-person voting on Monday, but it won’t happen this year.
“I am now saying early voting won't be able to roll out until 2024,” said Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas, Connecticut’s top elections official.
Thomas was hoping to launch this fall, using the local municipal elections as a trial run before next year's presidential race. But time ran out because the General Assembly still hasn't passed legislation.
“The biggest sticking piece had to do with the third-party vendor, making sure they had enough time to build out the infrastructure,” said Thomas.
Monday’s Appropriations Committee vote advances two identical bills to the full House and Senate.
Lawmakers have settled on offering 14 days of early voting. In 2024, it would run from Oct. 21 to Nov. 3 – including weekends. Thomas pushed for 10 days, but many voters prefer more time.
“Definitely 14 days I would go with,” said Stacey Sawyer of Norwalk.
Early voting hours would run 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Election Day voting runs from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.
“That's not enough because you can't do anything if you have a working schedule,” said Bobby Hanson of Easton.
The proposal on the table would only require one central location for early voting, but larger communities could offer more polling places.
Questions still remain about cost. A non-partisan fiscal analysis estimates it at $7.7-9.2 million. But the Appropriations Committee’s budget only includes $3.5 million, while Gov. Ned Lamont's proposal allocates no money for early voting.
Recently, local voter registrars said they shouldn’t have to swallow all the cost of extra staff and training.
“Staffing is probably the biggest issue for early voting.” said Ron Malloy, Stamford’s Democratic registrar. “We're going to have it. And the question will be, what's the smart way to have staffing?”
Registrars and Thomas are also concerned about using early voting for local referendums, arguing it’s logistically impossible in many towns.
Connecticut is one of the only states left without early voting. That’s because the state constitution didn’t allow it – until voters approved an amendment last fall.
Now, lawmakers have five more weeks to pass an early voting bill, but they also have to approve a new state budget – and take final action on some 500 bills covering everything from gun control to red light cameras.

More from News 12