This Tuesday: A Vote On Voting

Many Connecticut voters — well, all those who don’t think Andrew Cuomo is their governor — are focused on the gubernatorial race between Dan Malloy and Tom Foley.

Some know that state legislature seats are up for grabs on Tuesday too.

Very, very few folks — myself included — had any idea that a ballot initiative could change the Connecticut constitution. If passed, legislators and the governor could change how and when we vote.

VoteAlert “06880” reader Bart Shuldman passed along a message from Toni Boucher. She notes that right now, absentee ballots can be used only by people who will be out of town, are on active military duty, are sick or physically disabled, or cannot vote on Election Day for religious reasons.

A “yes” vote could lead to broader absentee balloting, multiple voting days at polls, voting by mail and online voting.

A “no” vote would keep the rules as they are.

You’ll have the opportunity to vote on this ballot initiative on Tuesday. Even though you haven’t seen any lawn signs, for or against.

53 responses to “This Tuesday: A Vote On Voting

  1. Jeff Launiere

    When we moved from CT to Tampa, FL one of the nicest changes was early voting. For example we could vote starting October 25th, and the voting locations are very convenient, ours being in a vacant store front. It is so nice to vote on your schedule and be in and out within just a few minutes.

  2. John Hartwell

    Oregon and Colorado have changed to mail in voting, which saves money and is much more convenient. Our state constitution locks us into a 19th century approach when other states are in the 21st century. This amendment simply makes it possible for us to modernize, and it should be supported.

  3. cheryl mckenna

    while this is on the ballot all it asks is to allow our legislators to debate it. I am voting YES to have democracy work … Vote for those also who will vote as you want in Hartford.

  4. Jo Ann Davidson

    Thanks for reminding voters of the important Constitutional question in the upper right hand corner of the ballot. It might get overlooked when we vote for our candidates. Pass the amendment, start the conversation.

  5. Bart Shuldman

    I hope this response helps–Voting laws in CT are in our Constitution and your vote on Tuesday will NOT change how people can vote in Connecticut. If approved, it wouldn’t by itself make any changes in how or when people could vote in Connecticut. It would allow the legislature to make such changes and it ONLY gives the legislature the power to change how we can vote and they can change the constitution.

    I think we have learned that we should have more details as to what they will change. I am all for changing the absentee voting law to make it easier but what else will they change? Just remember Obamacare passing with no details and how much we all learned after. I would argue that some parts of Obamacare would not have been implemented if the public had the details. Remember–‘you can keep your doctor’? We learned–NOT once the REAL details came out.

    A big decision like changing the voter laws should be debated in public forums and then the details put on the ballot. There is no guarantee what the legislators will change. You are giving them carte blanche to make whatever change they want–whether you like it or not.

    You might not like the outcome. Whether Malloy or Foley are in office.

    • Dick Lowenstein

      If approved, this constitutional amendment would allow the legislature to propose changes AND which the governor would have to either approve or veto (subject, of course, to an override vote). As for the details in Obamacare, go back to the overlooked details in the Patriot Act, approved and signed less than two months after 9/11. Please, let’s leave the partisan politics out of the discussion. 🙂

      • Dick. I was leaving politics out. I don’t believe it is good to give any party a right to decide on changing voting laws. If you read the last part of what I wrote-it will give Malloy or Foley potential control.

        What I believe would be better is to put in the ballot exactly what they want to change so we can all vote on accepting those changes. It would allow ALL of us to understand the changes and vote based on the DETAILS.

    • cheryl mckenna

      This is not about Obama …
      Please read the amendment and allow a debate. Watch government ,vote and be well informed in your lovely town of Westport and in the people you elect on Nov. 4 th to represent your interests .

      • This is the wording of the proposed change where I highlight what will be deleted and what will be added. Not much detail–JMHO:

        Section 7 of article sixth of the Constitution is amended to read as follows:
        The general assembly may provide by law for voting in the choice of any officer to be elected or upon any question to be voted on at an election by qualified voters of the state who THIS WILL BE DELETED [are unable to appear at the polling place on the day of election because of absence from the city or town of which they are inhabitants or because of sickness or physical disability or because the tenets of their religion forbid secular activity] AND THIS WILL BE ADDED ‘do not appear in person at a polling place on the day of an election.’

      • Cheryl. One more point-this is not about Obama but it is about our government-whether state or federal-and trusting them with such an open ended change. I gave an example. There are many more–where I believe it gives pause to pass anything of this consequence without the details.

    • Why would we want to give the legislature this power? Makes absolutely no sense.

  6. This sounds very sane and logical to me. Let’s allow Democracy to work here. Vote for the proposal AND for whichever public servants you want to debate this important question to move Connecticut out of the 19th century. Remember, “freedom isn’t free” so please vote on Tuesday. 🙂

  7. Let me get this straight. Mail ballot voting and advance voting are NEW concepts in CT? What is the problem? Why so difficult?

  8. Nancy, it’s difficult because no one thought this possible/desirable at the time the state constitution was last written/amended (whatever). This constitutional amendment simply opens up the possibility for the legislature (with the Governor’s approval) to introduce some modern practices that are already the norm in other states. Even Florida has early voting, and it’s high time that we put this in place.

    • Whatever makes it easier to get eligible/registered electors to the polls makes for a democracy. Yes, it’s high time to catch up with the logical voting practices in other states, in other countries.

  9. Bart, your insistence that we vote on the changes themselves as opposed to voting on a process whereby changes can be made, would lock us into another constitutional straightjacket that would make subsequent changes very difficult.

    I trust the legislature, backed up by the courts, to take care of this. We have representative government, not direct democracy, and it works pretty well. If they get it wrong we can vote them out and make fixes, which is what we do all the time. It’s not that difficult and there’s little to be scared of.

  10. This is a simple straight-up invitation to election fraud. Multi-day voting results in no fixed election day, a throw-back to fraud-plagued eighteenth and nineteenth century practices. Mail-in voting, as in Colorado, lowers standards even further, and creates massive opportunities for rampant unchecked fraud. Voting day registration is another invitation to fraud, and the ability to recall and expunge the vote of a same-day registrant later discovered to be fraudulent is limited at best.

    The guarantee of “one man, one vote” depends on clear and enforceable rules to prevent fraud that dilutes legitimate votes and creates cynicism in the electorate and distrust of the elected.

    There should be one election day. If you are going to be out of town, you should be able to swear to it and get an absentee ballot. Otherwise, on election day should entail showing up at the polls, showing photo ID that proves you are the citizen who registered in advance, and getting your index finger dipped in indelible ink so you can’t go and do it again at another polling station later in the day.

    That’s how you protect the votes of legitimate voters. I wasn’t born a citizen of this country: I chose to become one. And unlike many who were born citizens, I don’t take my rights for granted, and I don’t want them diluted.

    • Electors wishing to vote by mail ballot should apply to the Chief Election Officer. Do you have one?

    • And this is why we need the details before giving an open ended opportunity for people in Hartford to decide. We need the fact. We need the details. Voter fraud is real. Internet voting a scary proposition.

      We are voting to CHNAGE the constitution. CT residents deserve a voice.

      • No one is seriously proposing internet voting, and to suggest that they are is simply using scare tactics. Voter fraud at the polls is so negligible that every time those who use this argument are challenged they are unable to come up with meaningful statistics. It’s a smoke screen to mask their real intentions, which is to depress the vote.

        We have had a representative system of government for more than two hundred years. Usually they do a good job, sometimes they don’t. Nothing’s perfect. If you don’t like your representatives then get out and campaign for someone else, or run yourself.

        • Once you give the legislature the opportunity to tamper with voting procedures and requirements, you have no idea what they will propose. The reason we have a written constitution is to constrain the actions of the government, including the legislature.

        • State Rep Christina Ayala (D-Bridgeport) was arrested in September on 19 charges of voter fraud. That sounds meaningful to me.

          The proposed amendment to the Constitution would not prevent the legislature from proposing internet voting, nor the Governor from approving it.

          The risk of fraud is real. Negligibility is in the eye of the beholder. One fraudulent vote is a crime and a dilution of the votes of legitimate voters. And at the risk of stating the obvious, it is one fraudulent vote too many.

          Mr. Hartwell says that people who use anti-fraud arguments are simply masking “their real intentions, which is [sic.] to depress the vote.” Mr. Hartwell purports to read my mind, and like carnival clairvoyants, he is wrong. One can as easily say that those who deny the existence of voter fraud only do so to mask their intentions, which are to suborn election fraud.

          I want to prevent election fraud. What is wrong with that? Why is that goal not universal?

          • Voter fraud is minimal. If it really is so prevalent where you live, then your system, your culture has lost its way. Don’t you have scrutineers?

            • How do you know voter fraud is minimal? If you don’t look for it, or it is done well, you won’t see it.

              • Like rats, you mean?
                Seriously, how do you manage to live with such utopian ideals. Or, is it paranoia?
                If you don’t like what you’ve got, then fix it with your vote (that is, if it isn’t fraudulent).

                • This is not an answer. It is, rather, a glib and cynical ad hominem attack, and a failure to engage on the point. Your assertion that fraud is minimal is backed by nothing other than your blind faith. Deer ticks are small, but they are dangerous. Why should we not strive for the ideal? Why should we accept criminality? Why should we accept fraud of any magnitude?

          • Yes, Ayala was arrested. That’s what happens to people who break the law. Yes, one fraudulent vote is too many, but so is one murder, one drunk driver, one bank robber, one whatever. But we don’t pass a new law or go into a panic when one person is discovered to have broken the law.

            What the “voter fraud” people have conclusively failed to prove is that there is a problem with the laws as they now stand. If you want new, more restrictive laws that take away fundamental rights, you need to show that the current laws aren’t working.

            Ayala was arrested, so the law seems to work (assuming that she’s guilty). what no one has shown is that there is a pervasive problem of in-person voter fraud running rampant across the country that can only be fixed by demanding stringent ID systems at the polls. Of course we don’t want non-citizens or underage people or convicted felons to vote, but you need to show that this is happening now before changing the rules and shutting out thousands of people who’ve voted all their lives.

            The “one fraudulent vote” argument is ridiculous. Tomorrow we’ll see a million votes cast for governor. Four years ago the margin was the closest in decades — 6407 votes. Where is the evidence that stricter voter ID would have prevented 6407 fraudulent in-person votes? You can’t even point to 64 arrests (1% of the difference between Malloy and Foley), much less 640 or 6407.

            And as to my comment about the underlying motive of these restrictive laws, the evidence for that is clear. t’s an incredibly cynical attack on the very foundation of democracy, the modern equivalent of Jim Crow, and the people who support it should be ashamed.

            But they aren’t, and so the political system is in a contorted argument around an alleged problem that doesn’t exist instead of focusing our energy on solving real problems that are with us everyday.

            • Cheryl McKenna

              Nicely stated John Hartwell!

            • Bart Shuldman

              I don’t know what you are talking about regarding stricter voting rules. In fact, that is why this vote is so wrong. Without any details as to what we will change, someone like you can imagine a more restrictive law. My fear was something that was too ‘loose’. Internet voting worries me and is easily an idea that can be ‘on the table’. If the vote had more details we would not be writing about our thoughts-we would be debating whether we like their suggestions or not. You are actually helping to prove why asking for a vote without the needed details is wrong.

            • Rubbish, Mr. Hartwell.

              The desire for clear identification and proof of eligibility is not “a cynical attack on the very foundation of democracy”, but rather a defense of the very foundation of democracy: one man, one vote.

              The invocation of Jim Crow is a cheap and deplorable deployment of the race card by debaters who appear to have no intellectual argument to support their views. Mr. Hartwell’s imputation that I am a racist s repugnant and it is Mr. Hartwell who should be ashamed. It says a lot more about him than it does about me. It is a low tactic that surprises me coming as it does from the chairman of the Democratic Town Committee.

              There is little in this society that can be done without a photo ID: you can’t board a plane, enter a federal or state office building (or any office building in some cities, like New York), ride Amtrak, or any number of other things. Photo IDs are cheap or free from state governments. The only people disenfranchised by tight voter ID laws are illegal voters.

              • Bart Shuldman

                Voter fraud or manipulation has already started by Malloy. This is why we need the facts and details. Malloy is now playing games with the election.

                In his own district (including Denise Merrill) they are claiming there was election issues early this morning. I find it difficult in his own area of the state something as simple as the election list could become an issue

                But Malloy will now try and use this to keep the polls open later. I can only hope the courts stop this.

                The election will again have a cover of darkness if Malloy and his cronies get away with this. Does not pass the smell test.

            • Anyone who thinks election fraud is minimal is not located in the same country as Chicago. The measure is a blatant attempt to further corrupt the election process. It is unambiguously a bad idea put forth by certain politicians for their own benefit.

        • John. With all due respect you cannot say what the final decision will be regarding how they change voting in CT. There are so many options and opportunities that could have a potential negative effect that I, for one, am not supporting this very open ended CHNAGE to the CT constitution.

          As for voting on Tuesday-rest assured I will. And I hope others take this part of the ballot very seriously and decide.

          As for testing this to Hartford-no way. I was heard Malloy emphatically say..I will not raise taxes. Then he did and made the new tax retroactive to the beginning of the year. I had employees who were clearly hurt. So no-I won’t trust Hartford to do this right. I want and deserve details and not leave it in anyone’s hands, especially Hartford.

          Good luck on Tuesday. The best part is each and everyone of us get to vote. It is wonderful.

  11. Christian Ritter Friedrich

    Well they very well couldn’t make the voting more a pain in the ass. They still have to answer to us if they try something crazy. Although I do agree, more details would of been nice.
    A system like Oregon’s would be very nice, Family out there loves it.

  12. Bart Shuldman

    CT now known at the ‘Detroit in the Sound’ due to the horrible financial condition will also be known as the ‘Chicago on the Sound’ now that voter shenanigans has shown up in Hartford-the voting district for Malloy. We could end up not trusting the vote if the issues in Hartford and the judges decision effects the election.

  13. Perhaps Mr. Petrino, Mr. Bruce and Mr. Shuldman should begin a movement to secede.

  14. Bart Shuldman

    Looks like voters rejected the amendment to give the state legislatures control over a change to the voting laws. Wonderful news. 😀😀😀😀