During today’s debate in the State House of Representatives on HJR 21, a Resolution that would allow seventeen-year-olds to vote in primaries that precede general elections for which they will be eighteen-years-old, House Republican Leader Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) offered an amendment which would expand ballot access for all voters.
The measure would remove the requirement that absentee ballots be used only for individuals who are ill, disabled, out of town, or on active military duty, and allow them to be used by anyone for any reason. The result would increase access to the polls for voters, and create greater convenience.
After a brief debate, House Democrats passed the bill temporarily, which defers consideration of the bill until a later date, withdrawing the underlying bill.
Rep. James F. Spallone (D-Chester) who brought out the underlying bill cited as a reason for opposing the Republican amendment the fact that it had not had a public hearing. This is an interesting standard to apply, as the recent 6% Delivery Tax passed by Democrats in the Finance Committee never had a public hearing either.
Regardless, a public hearing on this measure was sought at the beginning of the legislative session by House Republicans, but was denied by Rep. Chris Caruso (D-Bridgeport), who is Chairman of the GAE Committee.
Democrats were not interested in expanding ballot access in February, and apparently weren’t interested in doing so today, either. So much so, they pulled the teen voting bill to avoid it.