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06/03/2020 08:00 AM

Not a Partisan Issue

As we begin to indulge in the pleasures of summer, the COVID-19 pandemic continues its negative impact on our lives. Although the November election is months away, we are faced with the reality that Connecticut residents may be unnecessarily exposed to illness in order to exercise their right to vote.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill plans to send out absentee ballots to all registered voters for the primary on Tuesday, Aug. 11, and Governor Ned Lamont has issued an executive order expanding the use of absentee ballots to all eligible voters. While the executive order ensures safe voting for the primary, it will expire in September. Safe voting in November is only possible if the Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) acts now. Minor changes in the state statute would remove restrictions to the absentee ballot allowing all eligible voters to vote safely from home.

State Representative Christine Palm (D-36) has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, urging all Connecticut legislators to call for a special session of the CGA to expand access to absentee ballots. Unfortunately, support for these measures is divided along party lines and state leadership has failed to respond. Voters should not have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Safe voting is not a partisan issue. I encourage your readers to call State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33) and State Representative Christine Palm and express support for a special session. It is their responsibility to act now.

Claire M. Walsh

Deep River