State Rep. Stephanie Thomas, the Democratic-endorsed candidate for Connecticut secretary of the state, shares this commentary on what she’ll do as chief election official.
Our democracy and our right to vote are under attack here in Connecticut and across the country. One only has to see news coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearings and the tepid response of many to understand we are facing unprecedented challenges to the democratic process.
I am running for secretary of the state because for me, this fight is personal and hits close to home. My father was a Vietnam veteran who grew up in Georgia during the 1940s and never really learned to read. My mother worked two jobs for most of her life, but didn’t drive. For her, going to the Department of Motor Vehicles for an ID meant an hour bus ride and a long walk along the highway. When Republicans pass voter identification laws that make it harder to vote, it is people like my parents they are targeting.
A recent New York Times poll shows that the relentless messaging that our voting systems are corrupted–despite the lack of evidence–have convinced many Republicans and those who don’t know what to believe to doubt the legitimacy of elections. Meanwhile, Democrats, who are watching Republican minorities win political fights and are reeling from devastating decisions from the Supreme Court believe our democratic process needs an overhaul.
I believe we can meet these challenges and emerge stronger through civic education, community engagement and expansion of voter rights.
To ensure voters’ voices are heard, they must be inspired and empowered to vote.
One way is providing materials, systems and procedures that meet them where they are. People learn in a variety of ways–online, in different languages and as members of a wide range of organizations and communities.
As secretary of the state, I would create a YouTube channel that features multilingual videos explaining the process of voting and how to interact with elected bodies, as well as how to gain access to the ballot as a candidate for local, state and federal races.
To educate and engage voters right where they live, I would create a Voting Rights Ambassadors program that uses volunteers to engage our communities in healthy and civil conversation around voting and voting rights. The program would also make educational toolkits available to a wide range of community organizations to do grassroots voter outreach.
How can we expect voters to vote when there is no allowance for inclusive identification? I would recognize the identify of every voter by updating technology to allow special characters as simple as an accent mark, and a gender “X” (nonbinary) option to match forms provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
We also must empower voters by providing greater access to voting, most importantly by passing the ballot initiative this fall to allow early voting. As a member of the General Assembly, I co-sponsored legislation to allow the issue to come to a vote this fall, and I will campaign to raise awareness in the coming months.
In my role as a lawmaker, I am already meeting with front-line election workers to begin crafting enabling legislation. As secretary of the state, I would be a true partner in supporting early voting by ensuring every town has the ability to safely and securely manage early voting ballots.
Connecticut can lead the nation in free, fair and accessible elections. In simple, thoughtful ways, we can set the standard for voting rights, civic education and engagement. This democracy belongs to all of us, and I am ready for the fight.
Now let’s see how long it’s going to take the other Secretary of State candidate/s to tell us about their vision. Stephanie Thomas won me over with. The Clock is ticking!
She appears to be the poster child for self-proclaimed victimization and the foolishness of the woke left wing of the Democrat party.
You could have use this opportunity about the Republican candidate for secretary of state. Better “woke” than asleep on the wheel.