Senator Gaston Applauds Passage Of Early Voting, Lamont Will Sign Legislation

News release from State Senator Herron Gaston


Today, state Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport) applauded State Senate Passage of two pieces of legislation crucial to creating more ease of access at the polls. The first, no-excuse absentee ballot voting will remove the Connecticut constitution’s current, multiple restrictions on absentee voting and allow for “no-excuses” absentee voting if Connecticut residents approve of that when the question is placed on the 2024 general election ballot. The second, early voting establishes a framework for early, in-person voting for all general elections, primaries, and special elections in Connecticut held on or after January 1, 2024.

“Voting is a human right. We should do everything we can to make voting accessible to residents around the state,” said Sen. Gaston. “Election Day is one day out of the year and things come up, people may not have a way to get to the polls, people may be too sick or may not be able to get childcare. Whatever the reason, those who may have a prior commitment still deserve to vote. Passing legislation that allows people to cast their vote early and send in an absentee ballot will afford those who are unable to get their on election day the opportunity to vote.”

No Excuse Absentee Voting
The resolution passed the Senate this evening on a 26-8 vote. This same resolution was approved by Democrats in both the House and Senate in 2021, but with enough opposition from Republican legislators to require an additional vote in the General Assembly this year.

Under current Connecticut law, voters can only vote by absentee ballot if they’re going to be out of town on Election Day, sickness, if they’re on active military duty, because of a religious prohibition, or if they are poll workers who will be working all day in another town.

But 27 other U.S. states already allow for no-excuse absentee voting, including the deep Red Republican states of Arizona, Florida, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.
On a related matter, last fall, 60% of Connecticut residents voted to amend the state constitution to allow for early voting.

Early Voting:
HB 5004 establishes a framework for early, in-person voting for all general elections, primaries, and special elections in Connecticut held on or after January 1, 2024.

Democrats passed the bill in the House and Senate after 60% of Connecticut voters approved of an early voting change last fall to the state constitution. Forty-six American states already allow some form of early voting.

Specifically, the bill requires a 14-day early voting period for general elections, a seven-day period for most primaries, and a four-day early voting period for special elections and presidential preference primaries.

Every city and town in Connecticut must establish at least one early voting location and may establish more. Early voting locations must be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., including weekends, except that on the last Tuesday and Thursday before the election, the locations must be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The bill also sets various requirements and procedures for early voting including voter eligibility, same-day election registration, ballot custody, staffing and training, and materials.

The bill now heads to Governor Ned Lamont for his signature of the bill into law.

From Governor Lamont:

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that in the coming days he will sign into law legislation that was recently approved by the Connecticut General Assembly implementing a system of early voting for general elections, special elections, and primaries in Connecticut.

The legislation, House Bill 5004, requires 14 days of early voting for general elections, 7 days of early voting for most primaries, and 4 days of early voting for special elections and presidential preference primaries. It will apply to elections and primaries that occur on or after January 1, 2024. Every municipality in the state will be required to establish at least one early voting location and has the option of establishing more.

After Governor Lamont signs this bill, Connecticut will become one of the last states in the nation to adopt a system of early voting. The only other states that do not permit early voting are Alabama, Mississippi, and New Hampshire. All other states allow it.

“We are one of the only states in the nation that do not allow early voting, and once I sign this bill Connecticut will finally implement this long-overdue, needed reform,” Governor Lamont said. “In today’s economy, it is not realistic to expect every eligible citizen to travel in person to one specific location during a limited set of hours on a Tuesday to cast their ballot. Early voting will enable more people to become active participants in our democracy and increase the number of voters who cast a ballot – something that every American should support. I applaud the bipartisan members of the General Assembly who voted in favor of this bill, and I also thank Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas for her commitment to getting this done. I look forward to adding my signature to this bill in the next several days.”



  1. I am happy that Senator Gaston sees the wisdom in opening the door to more democratic practices in terms of “absentee ballots” without providing an excuse for use of the absentee right, and an early voting period to allow voters more time to exercise their voting rights.
    Providing movement towards encourage more voting opportunities creates fewer reasons for citizens to ignore or waste their voting opportunity.
    But why do we not open primaries to all voters, and for all elections? When parties do not publicly provide the principles they presume to practice and show many signs of ignoring public priorities why do they isolate the run-off elections before and election to limited groups of voters…..less than 50% of those registered in most cases?? No principles and no formal policy statements do not deserve such protection, as stances, do they? Where does an unaffiliated, but politically aware voter express an opinion about leadership potential? Time will tell.

    1. @JML
      “But why do we not open primaries to all voters, and for all elections?”

      Quite bluntly, quoting the old American Express Commercials: “Membership has its privileges”

      Those of us who are party members, work hard to build the party and raise/donate funds for the party, do NOT do so that an outsider may choose our candidate(s) and spend our money.

      This Sunday, the Trumbull Democrats have our annual Keys to Democracy Dinner/fundraising event. This is a municipal election year. I made at substantial donation and did not do so to fund a candidate who might run under our name because he/she got enough non-members to win a primary election.

      You want to vote in a party election, join the party. You want to support a non-party member’s run for office, gather signatures and get your choice on the ballot, no primary election required.

      “Where does an unaffiliated, but politically aware voter express an opinion about leadership potential?”
      at the voting booth, or in a grassroots effort to get that potential leader on the ballot. If the leader is a party member, the unaffiliated voter can donate time, labor, money towards getting the leader the nomination.


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