HARTFORD, CT – COVID-19 cut short the legislative session in March and left 151 races for the state House of Representatives with very few issues to campaign upon.
Ron Schurin, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut says the Police Accountability bill has become an issue in some races.
“Every race has its own dynamic. And because there’s no gubernatorial race, the legislative races have their own particular dynamic,” Schurin said.
In July, the General Assembly passed the Police Accountability bill during a special session. The law calls for training in the use of de-escalation, requires police to undergo regular drug and psychological testing, and adds provisions allowing the Police Officer Standards and Training Council to “decertify” officers accused of wrongdoing.
“Many of the police unions have endorsed Republican candidates, which they did not used to do,” Schurin said.
Deputy House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said that when candidates are knocking on doors they are hearing about the public safety issues they believe resulted from the legislation.
“I think what we’re hearing about is the public safety issues, you know the shootings, car thefts. There’s just a conversation around that. The impact it’s had on our officers,” Candelora said.
Candelora said they’re hearing it in certain communities more than others like Ansonia and North Stonington, where a police officer jumped into the race because of the legislation.
However, Democrats who largely backed the legislation don’t believe it’s going to sway voters.
“That is not a defining issue in any one district,” House Majority Leader Matt Ritter said.
Ritter said once people understand what the bill did, it’s clear there was a misunderstanding about the legislation.
Ritter said the new law may influence some voters, “but do I believe it will swing one district? I do not.”
The polls open today at 6 a.m. and stay open until 8 p.m.
More than 636,000 voters had already cast their absentee ballot as of Monday.