Last fall, more than 60% of Connecticut voters from both parties voted in to join the 46 other states and D.C. that allow early voting. In doing so, these voters affirmed their desire to strengthen our democracy by providing equitable access to voting for everyone — regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you do for a living. Treating all voters fairly and equally requires that state lawmakers mandate multiple early-voting polling sites in our largest cities along with adequate funding. As the General Assembly determines the details of what early voting will look like once it’s implemented, one vitally important aspect must not be overlooked: we will not have equitable access to early voting unless and until early voting is adequately funded and multiple sites are guaranteed.
Budgets are about priorities, and strengthening our democracy should be at the very top of the list. As legislators debate appropriations, they should strongly consider analysis from the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis which provides a roadmap to fully funding early voting and making certain that local officials have the resources necessary to ensure that all residents are represented and able to make their voice heard — from those in our smallest communities to our largest cities. That is what representative democracy is all about.