Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas made her first policy recommendation Thursday, urging legislators to pass a law authorizing 10 days of early voting, beginning with the 2023 municipal elections.
One of only four states not allowing early in-person voting, Connecticut is primed for change after the passage in November of a constitutional amendment striking a prohibition against expanding the days of voting.
“You now have the important task of shaping legislation that provides increased access to voters, creates minimal strain on our municipalities and election officials, and is easily understood by the public,” Thomas wrote to lawmakers.
Thomas, a supporter of early voting who was elected in November and took office two weeks ago, made her recommendation in a letter to lawmakers attached to a state-by-state study of early voting commissioned by her office.
The study by the Center for Election Innovation & Research found that the length of early voting in statewide general elections ranged from three to 46 days, with uniform standards in some states and town-by-town flexibility in others.
“These periods can begin as early as 50 days before election day or as late as only five days in advance,” the study found.
A half-dozen bills concerning early voting already have been referred to the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee. They would authorize as few as two days and as many as 14.
The center offered four models for Connecticut to consider, with early voting periods of six, nine, 10 and 14 days. Hours of voting could vary based on the size of a community, with one central polling place.
Whatever model is adopted, Thomas urged lawmakers to provide state funding to cover the added costs to municipalities.