Letter: “Time is the ally of the voter”

To the Editor:

Connecticut is one of twelve states that does not allow early voting. To do so, requires amending the State’s Constitution. A few days ago, the Connecticut Legislature endorsed early voting, 125-24, The Senate voted in favor of the bill 23-12, four votes shy of the super majority needed to send the proposed amendment to the voters. They will try again.

I write against the amendment. While it is popular to equate early voting with broader participation, that is a guess, not a fact. In 2018, seven of the twelve states without early voting had above average voter participation, including Connecticut.

It is understandable that voting should be easy and accessible. No one wants to deprive registered voters from doing their duty. Absentee ballots are always available to those who will be out of town, or unavailable, on election day. Voting hours could perhaps be extended to accommodate those working or traveling. But, the strongest argument against voting early is the one never used by proponents of the bill – time is the ally of the voter. To have as much time as possible to make up your mind. To continue to gather information on candidates and issues until election day.

In encouraging voters to go to the polls following a political rally, for example, which is what many candidates do, encourages emotional responses, not the deliberative thinking that causes citizens to consider all sides of an individual or issue. News does not cease once one’s vote is cast, so he or she who does vote early may rue the decision made.

Voting is a privilege. We should ensure that all who are eligible should have the opportunity, either by being available on election day or having access to absentee ballots. We must also ensure that those who are ineligible, do not vote. But voting early incurs more risks to the system and to voters than does adhering to a widely-advertised voting day.

Sydney M. Williams
Essex, CT

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