Government Administration and Elections Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-214

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING PERMANENT ABSENTEE BALLOT STATUS FOR THE PERMANENTLY DISABLED.

Vote Date:

3/12/2012

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/27/2012

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Government Administration and Elections Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill would require absentee ballots to be provided to the permanently disabled. Previously, similar legislation required absentee ballot applications to be provided to the permanently disabled. This bill would replace the absentee ballot applications with absentee ballots.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State, Connecticut: The Secretary of the State supports this bill. In her testimony she commended the efforts of legislators to ease the process of voting for the permanently disabled. She noted that, previously, the permanently disabled were required to continually fill out absentee ballot applications in order to receive their absentee ballots. This bill earned Ms. Merrill's approval because of it's effect in making voting a painless process for those with permanent disabilities.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Susan Voris, Election Law Specialist, League of Women Voters of Connecticut: Ms. Voris testified in support of this bill. In her testimony she expressed the support the LWV has for lessening the burden on the permanently disabled when it comes to voting. Ms. Voris also expressed the LWV's favor for replacing the absentee ballot application with an actual absentee ballot.

Michael J. Brandi, Executive Director & General Counsel, State Elections Enforcement Commission: Mr. Brandi submitted testimony in support of this bill. On behalf of the SEEC, Mr. Brandi's testimony highlighted the Commission's favor of permanent absentee ballot status for those deemed permanently disabled.

Essie Labrot, Vice Chair of the Legislative Committee, Connecticut Town Clerks Association, Inc.: Ms. Labrot testified in favor of this bill, saying the Town Clerks Association supported the previous legislative effort to alleviate some of the burden in the voting process for the state's permanently disabled. Additionally, Ms. Labrot noted in her testimony that this legislation will make it easier for the disabled to vote regularly.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Judith A. Beaudreau, Registrar of Voters, Vernon: Ms. Beaudreau submitted testimony wherein she said that she supports the efforts of legislators to make sure the permanently disabled community can vote with ease, however, she would suggest a slight change to remove a line requiring the disabled attain a certificate from their primary care provider to prove they are in fact disabled. Ms. Beaudreau believes the permanently disabled should not have to prove they are disabled in order to fill out an absentee ballot. She asked the question “When one is stating they are out of town no proof is needed why than must a disabled elector have proof of his disability?”

Reported by: Matt Carpenter

Date: 3/15/12