CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — Republicans are challenging the Democratic Secretary of the State’s use of absentee ballots in the upcoming election. They say it’s unconstitutional and would like a court to repeal her action.
The suit seeks to repeal Merrill’s decision to expand absentee ballot voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The suit states, “Fair elections are central to our republican form of government. Democracy demands that there be public confidence in the integrity of the election process. The Connecticut Constitution safeguards our elections through two significant provisions. Article Sixth, Section 5 protects the right to vote in secret. Article Sixth, Section 7 provides that voting must be done in person and limits the use of absentee voting to circumstances where a person is unable to appear due to one of the limited reasons set forth therein…As a bi-partisan election reform commission, chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and James Baker explained, ‘[a]bsentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.'”
Republican Party State Chair JR Romano defended the suit saying, “When you demand business owners close and you block families from attending funerals, but celebrate and encourage mass gathering protests…You lose the ability to be taken seriously.”
In response, Nancy Dinardo, the Democratic Party State Chair said, “Is the Connecticut Republican party so afraid of losing seats in the 2020 election that they would endanger the health of Connecticut voters?”
In response to the suit, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill repeated what she has been saying since the pandemic began, “No Connecticut voter should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. As America comes together to battle the COVID-19 virus and to ensure voter participation in an election that will be held under difficult circumstances, this suit seeks to harm both efforts in Connecticut.”
This suit would force people with serious health conditions to come to a polling place in person, despite the CDC warning that their health conditions increase their risk of COVID-19. Voters with heart disease, asthma, or who are immunocompromised because of cancer treatment are at high risk and should have the option of voting safely by absentee ballot.
It would force doctors, nurses, and EMTs, who have already been putting their lives at risk for our safety, to enter a polling place and interact with poll workers who will see hundreds of other people on Election Day.
No voter or poll worker should be forced to potentially infect their friends and neighbors. It would force senior citizens, already at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and less likely to recover completely, and their caregivers to enter polling places and risk their health when a safer option is available, legal, and constitutional.
This suit will make tens of thousands of my constituents unnecessarily vulnerable to COVID-19. It is wildly irresponsible and I intend to defend Connecticut’s voters’ right to vote to the full extent of the law.”– Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill
READ: Full lawsuit from Republicans against CT Secretary of the State regarding the absentee ballot policy in place for the upcoming election amid the COVID-19 pandemic