Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo)

HARTFORD, CT — Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Republicans in the Senate are holding up passage of a bill that would increase voter turnout and cut back on long lines at the polls.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said if the bill was really that much of a priority for Merrill and the Democrats then they should have started debate on it Tuesday.

He said he never received a call from Merrill about the legislation.

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Merrill said Republicans objected to allowing people who weren’t registered to vote before 8 p.m. to vote if they were in line at an Election Day Registration location. Merrill said they removed that provision from the bill.

She said the remaining legislation would require towns to submit their Election Day Registration plans to the Secretary of the State and have more than one site for Election Day Registration.

“This should not be partisan,” Merrill said.

Fasano said that having served as House majority leader, Merrillknows how choreographed the last day is for bills that can’t go on a consent calendar.

“Where was she yesterday?” Fasano said.

Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo)

Fasano said they have other concerns about the legislation, including allowing people on parole and who are still serving their sentences to vote.

“Our caucus has a firm belief that until you pay your debt to society … that you shouldn’t be allowed to vote,” Fasano said.

Fasano said there’s also a concern about the automatic voter registration portion of the legislation that would require a lot of debate and “other bills will die.”

“You gotta understand if this comes out other bills will die. That’s management of the calendar,” Fasano said.