Governor Ned Lamont on Wednesday announced that in the coming days he will sign into law legislation that was recently approved by the Connecticut General Assembly implementing a system of early voting for general elections, special elections, and primaries in Connecticut.
The legislation, House Bill 5004, requires 14 days of early voting for general elections, 7 days of early voting for most primaries, and 4 days of early voting for special elections and presidential preference primaries. It will apply to elections and primaries that occur on or after January 1, 2024. Every municipality in the state will be required to establish at least one early voting location and has the option of establishing more.
After Governor Lamont signs this bill, Connecticut will become one of the last states in the nation to adopt a system of early voting. The only other states that do not permit early voting are Alabama, Mississippi, and New Hampshire. All other states allow it.
“We are one of the only states in the nation that do not allow early voting, and once I sign this bill Connecticut will finally implement this long-overdue, needed reform,” Governor Lamont said in a relase. “In today’s economy, it is not realistic to expect every eligible citizen to travel in person to one specific location during a limited set of hours on a Tuesday to cast their ballot. Early voting will enable more people to become active participants in our democracy and increase the number of voters who cast a ballot – something that every American should support. I applaud the bipartisan members of the General Assembly who voted in favor of this bill, and I also thank Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas for her commitment to getting this done. I look forward to adding my signature to this bill in the next several days.”
The bill passed the House of Representatives on May 4, 2023, on a bipartisan vote of 107-35, with nine people absent. It passed in the Senate on May 31, 2023, on a bipartisan vote of 27-7, with two people absent.
As required under legislative rules, now that the bill has been approved by both chambers of the General Assembly it will be transmitted to the nonpartisan Legislative Commissioners’ Office for engrossing and supervision of printing in its final form. Once engrossed, it is required to go through an approval process by the Office of the House Clark, the Office of the Senate Clerk, and the Office of the Secretary of the State before it can finally be transmitted to the governor for his signature. This engrossing and approval process usually takes several days to complete.