On April 1, 2020, AARP Connecticut sent the letter below to Governor Ned Lamont strongly recommending immediate actions related to the rescheduled June 2, 2020, Connecticut Primary that will provide older adults and those at most risk from COVID-19 access to voting while ensuring their health protection.
April 1, 2020
The Honorable Ned Lamont
Office of the Governor
210 Capitol Ave
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Governor Lamont:
AARP has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than sixty years. On behalf of our nearly 600,000 members and all older residents of Connecticut, we appreciate the demonstrated leadership and significant, bipartisan response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the ongoing efforts required as we move forward. As you consider the next steps to address the various facets of this public health emergency, we urge you to continue to be especially mindful of older adults, who are most at risk from this disease.
For nearly 40 years, the turnout of voters over age 45 has significantly outpaced that of younger Americans. In the 2016 presidential election, for example, 71 percent of Americans over 65 voted, compared with 46 percent among 18- to 29-year-olds, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
People over 65 continue to vote far more than any other age group. We ask that immediate actions related to the rescheduled June 2nd Connecticut Primary focus on access to voting while ensuring health protection to those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 illness.
AARP Connecticut is recommending the following:
- Provide full transparency of any new guidelines, dates, and measures for voting in the 2020 Connecticut Primary.
- Increase access to absentee voting in light of local, state, and federal government recommendations on social distancing.
- Consider emergency measures that would allow more residents to vote by mail such as sending absentee ballots to all registered voters in the state. This would be especially useful for those in long-term care centers, medical facilities, or quarantined due to the virus.
- Promptly mail all Connecticut voters clear communications about any new voter guidelines, once determined.
AARP Connecticut agrees with Secretary of the State Denice Merrill who said “One of the most important things the state can do today is to allow voters to cast ballots through the mail, an incredibly sensible move at any time but now absolutely necessary.” We also support her call to use your emergency powers to remove the restrictive absentee ballot language in our statutes temporarily, so that more people are able to vote by mail when the primary is held.
We look forward to working with you to address how the largest voting bloc in our population, the 50+ voter, can continue to have a safe and accurate way to participate in the election process during this unprecedented time. AARP Connecticut will use its communication channels and resources to help educate older voters on any changes related to the 2020 election.
Nora L. Duncan