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Referendum Question Will Address Early Voting

Sec of the State Merrill discusses topic in Norwalk

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Norwalk, CT | Added on September 11, 2014 At 03:57 PM

When you vote this November you may notice a new question on your ballot.  

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill encouraged Norwalk residents Wednesday night to vote "Yes" for Question 1 on the November 4th ballot for early voting rights. Merrill spoke at the South Norwalk Community Center for a voting rights forum organized by Common Cause Connecticut, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, and the League of Women Voters. She says early voting rights can help improve voter turnout and our democracy. Studies presented show more than 33 states permit early voting and 27 states will mail an absentee ballot to any eligible voter who requests one, but this is not the case in Connecticut.

"The real problem in this country is not enough people have voted, period and that is a crisis, I would argue," said Merrill. "We have restrictions on how you get absentee ballots in this state, very, very restrictive restrictions. You can only get an absentee ballot based on a series of reasons. The one most people know about is if you're going to be out of town from 6 in the morning to 8 at night, all hours of the poll." 

This year all voters in Connecticut will notice a constitutional amendment question on their ballot. Question 1, which been approved twice by the state legislature, asks:

"Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?"

"All voters will be able to vote on whether they want to institute some of the changes in our voting structures that you're seeing all around the country today already," said Merrill. 

The studies also show an estimated 32 million American voters cast their ballots before election day in 2012, which is nearly 25 percent of the electorate and voting yes would allow Connecticut to do so as well. She says voting YES can help families, commuters, employees, employers, seniors and students by removing obstacles that often discourage eligible voters from casting their ballots. 

"This was your solemn duty to vote," Merrill said. "It wasn't just a privilege or even a right. Now something has changed and people don't feel that way anymore, particularly the younger people, they feel left out and I think it's our job to change that." 

Similar presentations on this topic will take place Monday, Sept. 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Unitarian Church in Westport  and Wednesday, October 15th at same time at the Ferguson Library in Stamford. For more information visit


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