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Incoming state election boss suggests up to 5 days of early voting in CT, but lawmakers must approve

Secretary of the State candidates (from left to right) Stephanie Thomas (D) and Dominic Rapini (R) debate Tuesday, October 18, 2022, at the University of Hartford, Lincoln Theater in West Hartford.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
Secretary of the State candidates (from left) Stephanie Thomas (D) and Dominic Rapini (R) debate Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at the University of Hartfors Lincoln Theater in West Hartford.

Connecticut’s incoming top election official will create recommendations for how early voting could work, after residents approved a ballot measure last week to amend the state constitution and institute the option.

Stephanie Thomas, who begins her term as Connecticut's next secretary of the state in January, said there are many details yet to be worked out for how Connecticut could adopt the practice.

“Every state does it differently,” Thomas said Wednesday on Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live. “We also need to think about the days of the week, is it going to include one weekend, two weekends? The number of hours per day?”

The state constitution limits in-person voting to Election Day only, making Connecticut one of just four states that did not offer some form of early voting in the 2022 midterm elections.

Meanwhile, a New Britain resident is pursuing a legal challenge to the early voting ballot question. The lawsuit aims to prevent early voting in Connecticut and is headed for a hearing Dec. 14. The hearing could end the lawsuit before it goes to trial.

The New Britain resident is representing herself in the lawsuit. She claims early voting would threaten the security of elections.

“From what I understand, the lawyers are confident that because of the results, it will go through. It won’t be seen as a problem,” Thomas said.

Over 60% of voters said yes to early voting, according to tallies by The Associated Press.

After she takes office, Thomas plans to offer recommendations to state lawmakers, who will ultimately decide the details of Connecticut's early voting procedures.

Thomas said she favors between three and five days of early voting. Early voting could look like all-day voting available on a Saturday, she said, but during the week it might be just two hours a day to limit costs.

To save money, central locations could be used for early voting in buildings that would be open anyway during the week.

Thomas said she would also ask the General Assembly to provide funding to help cities and towns with expenses connected to early voting.

Matt Dwyer is a producer for Where We Live and a reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department.

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