Photo of Senator Miller.

State Senator

Patricia Billie Miller

Representing Darien and Stamford

Senator Pat Billie Miller Votes to Extend Absentee Ballot Option for Connecticut Voters Through November 3

In the face of Republican opposition, Democrats opt for more democracy


HARTFORD – Despite unanimous Republican opposition, Connecticut Senate Democrats approved a bill that will extend the option to vote by absentee ballot to all Connecticut voters through November 3, thereby allowing residents to participate in local budget or referendum votes, mayoral and town council elections, school board elections and other electoral processes without the fear of any potential public health concerns.

Senate Democrats approved an amended version of Senate Bill 901 today on a 24-12 vote; the bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. The bill received zero Republican votes when it was passed out of the Government Administration and Elections Committee on March 5, and received zero Republican votes when it was approved by the Appropriations Committee on Monday.

"November's high election turnout was a result of what happens when restrictions are removed from our absentee ballot voting process," said Sen. Miller. "This legislation allows those who are unable to leave their homes, for reasons including one's health, to access their personal right to vote. While other states are disenfranchising voters by making it difficult for them to vote, I'm proud that Connecticut is working to maximize voter participation by making voting more accessible."

S.B. 901 extends through November 3 certain temporary changes that were made to state law for the 2020 elections due to the deadly COVID-19 viral pandemic. Among other provisions, the bill:

  • Expands the reasons people can vote by absentee ballot to include the COVID-19 sickness
  • Authorizes town clerks to mail absentee voting sets using a third-party vendor that the secretary of the state approves and selects
  • Requires town clerks to designate secure drop boxes and allows voters to deposit absentee ballots in them
  • Authorizes municipalities to conduct certain absentee ballot pre-counting procedures

Despite today's action, public voting rights in Connecticut remain severely outdated and restrictive. For instance, Connecticut remains one of just 16 states in America that does not offer "no-excuses" absentee voting, and is one of just six states in America that doesn't offer early voting, joining Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire and South Carolina in restricting the rights of its citizens.

Today's successful vote by Senate Democrats comes amid a national debate about expanding democracy to more Americans in the face of fierce and determined Republican legislative efforts to disenfranchise voters at the state level.

For example, the chief executives of Michigan’s 30 largest corporations – including Ford, General Motors and Quicken Loans – publicly came out in opposition to proposed changes by Michigan Republicans to make voting more difficult in that state. Nevada Republicans have censured their own secretary of state for refusing to investigate bogus Republican claims of supposed election fraud there. Arizona and Texas Republicans are pushing new state laws to limit mail-in voting and instituting other anti-democracy restrictions, and Major League Baseball pulled the planned 2021 All-Star Game of Atlanta, Georgia in protest of Republican efforts there to institute more restrictive voting regulations.