Connecticut Governor Weighs Executive Order for Mail-In Primary Voting

Ballot Processing Manager Jerelyn Hampton sorts vote-by-mail ballots by party for the presidential primary at King County Elections in Renton, Washington on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)
JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said Tuesday he is looking into how his state’s voters may be allowed to cast their ballots by mail in the primary that has been postponed to June 2.

Lamont said during his coronavirus briefing:

I’m not inclined to cancel any type of a vote, and I do have a stay-at-home rule. So, I’m going to have to find a way people can vote — and especially seniors — so they don’t have to leave their houses and go vote. So, obviously the voting by mail makes a lot of sense to me. Now, I need the lawyers to figure out how to draft that.

Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) had previously recommended waiving regulations for the use of absentee ballots. The CT Mirror reported:

Connecticut is not among the states that have embraced voting by mail. In fact, it has the strictest rules in the country on the use of absentee ballots, one that invites voters to fib if they anticipate being too busy on election day, when the polls are open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

To obtain an absentee ballot, voters must attest that one of six reasons applies: military service, absence from town during voting hours, a religious prohibition from secular acts on election day, service as an election official, a physical disability or, as it is listed on the application, “my illness.”

Merrill said during the current pandemic any voter could use “illness” as a valid reason to cast an absentee ballot.

However, general fear of catching an illness would not be consistent with what is permissible under state law.

“Right now, in a pandemic, a real fear for people’s health, there is a sickness provision in there so our lawyers are working through that right now with the legislative leadership,” Lamont said.

According to CT Mirror, whether Lamont issues an executive order or not, Merrill “intends to mail an absentee ballot application to every voter eligible to participate in the Democratic or Republican presidential primaries. It would up to voters to return the application and obtain a ballot.”

Nevertheless, the Connecticut Constitution would have to go through the amendment process to allow mail-in voting for any reason at all.

The plan to consider using an executive order to waive requirements to allow mail-in voting echoes the push by other progressives, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and numerous organizations backed by billionaire activist George Soros, all eager to take advantage of the current coronavirus crisis.

President Donald Trump and other Republicans have condemned Democrat proposals for federal funding for absentee and mail-in voting options for fear of massive voter fraud caused by an ability to authenticate mail-in votes.

“We know that the most liberal organizations in the state are demanding in this time of crisis, they push every liberal agenda through executive action,” Connecticut Republican party chairman J.R. Romano said.

In a Fox News op-ed Wednesday, Liz Harrington, national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, wrote Democrats seeking voting reforms during the pandemic are “repackag[ing] old left-wing plans for today’s crisis.”

Harrington observed Republicans do not oppose mail-in voting.

“However, sending a ballot to every registered voter, while preventing states from making sure its rolls are accurate and up to date, is a recipe for massive fraud,” she asserted, adding:

President Trump is right, it is easier to cheat by mail. Votes can be bought and sold. Voters can be influenced by others. Are Democrats no longer worried about women “being under tremendous pressure” from “fathers, and husbands, and boyfriends, and male employers” on how to vote, one of the many reasons cited by Hillary Clinton for her loss?

Harrington said that while the current “stay-at-home” situation for many Americans is “unprecedented,” ultimately, “It will be safe to go outside again. It will be safe to go to work. And it will be safe to vote.”

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