Capitol Report: State leaders’ summer focus continues to be getting kids back to school in fall; clashes over absentee ballots continue as primary approaches

Capitol Report

(WTNH) — We are smack dab in the middle of summer, but the focus for everyone continues to be fall and getting kids and teachers back into the classroom. Also, a focus this week in a special session will be absentee ballots for November as the August primary approaches.

Connecticut’s positive case rate has remained at or below the 1% mark. And last Thursday, Governor Ned Lamont and former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb spoke about the importance of moving ahead with a back-to-school plan for September even if it means we might need to pivot to a plan B should cases spike again later in the fall.

The head of the Connecticut Education Association responded with a statement that reads in part, “In order to protect against the pandemic, restore our economy, and address racial disparities in our schools, the state must provide the needed funding for our schools to reopen safely.”

The wheels of the State government will spin a little quicker next week when a special legislative session gets underway. The four main areas of discussion include expanding absentee ballot access, police accountability, payment issues with telehealth, and capping the insulin price for diabetics.

You can bet there will be a lot of debate on the absentee ballot issue. August 11 will be the litmus test with the primary and absentee ballots. It will be up to the state lawmakers to determine if mail-in balloting should be expanded for November.

One thing for sure: don’t expect results to come flying in primary night. It could take teams some 15 minutes to process and verify just one single ballot.

The Day editorial board weighed in on the squabble about whether absentee balloting can lead to fraud: “The far greater danger than a few fraudulent votes is tens of thousands of voters being disenfranchised because they don’t get around to seeking an absentee application, then stay at home on Election Day to protect their health.”

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