Editor, The Cheshire Herald:
Those of us fortunate enough to live in this glorious republic have a responsibility to preserve, protect and expand the reach of its primary means of its control — the ballot.
Two bills currently in the legislature do just that. HB 6578 takes a vital step in this regard by codifying into state law Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) as it is practiced now at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and I applaud that first step. As there are, however, many in our great state — particularly the elderly and the poor — who do not drive, we must also expand AVR to the Department of Social Services (DSS), HUSKY, Access Health CT, state colleges and universities, and other well-regulated state agencies. As the addresses provided to these agencies are used to deliver benefits, they must be accurate and up to date. Their use will enhance the security and integrity of our elections by automatically delivering the most accurate residency information to cities and towns and by eliminating outdated and inaccurate addresses and duplicative registrations. Eliminating these duplicate registrations also significantly reduces the workload for localities that could be susceptible to confusion on Election Day.
I also support SB 1017 because it codifies the use of secure drop boxes for absentee ballots. Mailed ballots pass through many hands, require significant effort to track and may be subject to delays. These boxes are as secure as a street-side mailbox and more secure than a household one. Short of personally handing a mail-in ballot to the Registrar of Voters, a secure drop box is the most direct and safe method. Anyone interested in increasing the security of voting should support this initiative.
I urge you to support passage of HB 6578 with expansion of AVR to other state agencies beyond the DMV, and the passage of SB 1017. To do otherwise is to not support our democratic traditions!
Martin E. Cobern