May 12, 2020
Merrill opinion broadens absentee ballot access
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office has issued an interpretation of Connecticut’s absentee ballot law allowing any voter with a “pre-existing illness”—including a chronic health condition or possible exposure to COVID-19—to vote by absentee ballot during the current pandemic.
The interpretation doesn’t accomplish Merrill’s stated goal of allowing any voter who wants to use an absentee ballot to do so during the pandemic.
That would require at least a change in Connecticut’s absentee ballot statute, which Gov. Ned Lamont could accomplish temporarily through an executive order while his emergency powers remain in effect or which the Legislature could adopt permanently. It might even require an amendment to the state constitution, which would take too long to affect voting during the primary vote on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, or the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.