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AARP Connecticut Calls on Governor Lamont to Make Changes to Voting Requirements

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On April 30, 2020, AARP Connecticut State Director Nora Duncan sent the letter below to Governor Ned Lamont strongly recommending immediate actions related to the August 11, 2020, and November 3, 2020, elections that will provide Connecticut’s older adults and those at most risk from COVID-19 access to voting while ensuring their health protection.


April 30, 2020

The Honorable Ned Lamont
Office of the Governor
210 Capitol Ave
Hartford, CT 06106

Dear Governor Lamont:

On behalf of our nearly 600,000 members and all older residents of Connecticut, we appreciate the dedication with which our state’s leaders have responded 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.

Thank you for your actions to postpone the primary. With voters now set to go to the polls on August 11th and November 3rd, we believe that Connecticut should take action now to ensure that all registered voters can cast their ballots safely. For nearly 40 years, the turnout of voters over the age of 45 has significantly outpaced that of younger Americans. For example, according to U.S. Census Bureau data for the 2016 presidential election, 71 percent of Americans over the age of 65 voted. That’s compared with just 46 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds. Moreover, people over the age of 65 show up to the polls far more than any other age group.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that people over 65 years of age, and those with serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease seem to be at highest risk for severe disease and even death from COVID-19 related illness.

In order to protect Connecticut voters, election officials, and volunteers who staff polling locations, many of whom are retirees, we believe Connecticut should begin efforts now to develop alternative means for a voter to cast their ballot. Older residents should not have to risk their lives or their health to exercise their right to vote. Specifically, AARP is recommending that Connecticut:

· Remove the requirement that an excuse be provided to utilize an absentee ballot – the need to avoid crowds and lines during this crisis should be reason enough to request an absentee ballot.

· Take whatever steps are necessary to enable the state to send an absentee ballot 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.

These are challenging times for all of Connecticut’s residents. As residents look toward our elected officials for leadership, we at AARP look forward to working with you to ensure that the largest voting bloc in our population, the 50+ voter, can continue to have a safe and secure way to exercise their right to vote during this unprecedented time.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this issue of great importance to our state’s voters.

Sincerely,

Nora L. Duncan
State Director

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