The Absentee Ballot issue is before the Legislature!
Dear Progressive Women,
It's here, finally! On Tuesday, July 21, 2pm, the legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee will host a virtual, online Listening Session via Zoom regarding proposed absentee ballot legislation. This Listening Session will be recorded and broadcast live on CT-N, and will also be available on-demand from CT-N.
Even if you have already written to your representatives, take 10 minutes and submit your written public testimony to the Committee. There is still time, do it today or tomorrow! We need a huge outcry in support!
Below are all the details you need. Joan Twiggs shared the testimony she and her wife Irene wrote - you can adapt this as you wish. For those of you who want even more information, Joan shared additional information from the League of Women Voters ( a non-partison organization), which is also below.
We need you to speak out, please! There is push back from the Republicans to limit the use of absentee ballots.
1/ To read the working draft of the bill, click here.
2/ Submit written testimony in Word or PDF format to: GAEtestimony@cga.ct.gov. When submitting written testimony, you should provide your name and town.
(The deadline for signing up to testify via zoom has passed.)
Note: All public hearing testimony, written and spoken, is public information. As such, it may be made available on the Government Administration and Elections Committee website and indexed by internet search engines.
Thank you for taking the time to do this!
TESTIMONY FROM JOAN AND IRENE
July 20, 2020
Written Testimony of Joan E. Twiggs & Irene Scheibner of Bloomfield CT
Before the Government Affairs & Elections Committee concerning LCO No. 3576, An Act Concerning Absentee Voting at the 2020 State Election and Election Day Registration
Dear Members of the Government Affairs & Elections Committee,
We write in support of expanded access to the use of absentee ballot voting during the health crisis of the threat of COVID-19, a highly dangerous, infectious and transmissible disease.
For the past several months, government officials and residents of Connecticut have been responding to this public health crisis with great seriousness, earnestness and responsibility. Both government and residents are to be commended and because of our collective efforts, Connecticut has been successful in lowering the rate of infection and concomitant deleterious impacts.
However the threat of this disease is ongoing as we are regularly reminded. This danger will continue during election day, both the primary August 11 and the general election of November 3.
Voters should not be asked to risk their health and safety in order to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Contrary to the on-record statements of some elected representatives here in Connecticut, governments SHOULD make it as easy as possible for citizens to exercise our right to vote rather than erecting or maintaining barriers to that right. Similarly, elected officials – again here in Connecticut- should not engage in fear mongering and incendiary tactics and words by suggesting that ballot collection boxes are intrinsically unsafe. Such boxes are similar to mail collection boxes in the laws that prohibit tampering. Further, states that have adopted vote by mail regularly use ballot collection boxes and these receptacles are widely accepted and respected as are the results of the vote by mail elections. It is incredibly disappointing that those elected to represent the citizens would themselves seek to impede and discredit the election and election officials.
In summary we fully support legislation to extend absentee voting to all otherwise qualified voters in the time of the pandemic. Again, voters should not have to choose between protecting our health and exercising our right to vote.
Joan Twiggs & Irene Scheibner
Bloomfield, CT 06002
From the League of Women Voters (info has been adapted for this email) These times demand ACTION of our duly elected legislators. And that time of ACTION has arrived in the special session called by the Governor to begin July 21. Absentee Ballot Use in November 1. LWVCT will be testifying on behalf of the State League. 2. KEY function of bill and our KEY concern = permitting any eligible voter to vote by absentee ballot in November because the “sickness of COVID” could easily continue to be a threat to their health. No one should have to choose between voting safely and their health.
3. We have prepared these "talking points" that reflect some of the questions we hear from a few legislators about the need to remove all barriers to use of the absentee ballot by eligible voters in November. LINK to Our Talking Points: https://app.box.com/s/eovpjsoewyounw9yotg8g9tmmdupn8bo 4. Special Session dates: House in session Thursday, July 23rd to vote on Absentee Ballot question, to the best of our current knowledge. But as of this writing, the Thursday House session not yet listed on the CGA.ct.gov calendar for this week. Senate may be in session as early as this Friday, July 24, but not confirmed. 5. Decision on Absentee ballots must be made no later than July 29 or possibly July 30 at the latest. 6. Another concern: Cost of Postage to Mail Absentee Ballots Varies and is Prohibitive https://apnews.com/524741faf588ec3c7b4f9ea759805352
It is time for our legislators to stand up and be counted. Let us be sure to stand behind and support those who do.
In League, Carol Reimers, President, League of Women Voters of CT Judy Lhamon, VP, Advocacy, League of Women Voters of CT