To the Editors:

For the Aug. 11 primary election, all party-affiliated voters in Connecticut were sent an absentee ballot application, ensuring that no one would have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote. In this month’s special legislative session, lawmakers will vote on a bill that will extend these provisions to the November election. If passed, all voters will be eligible to vote from the safety of their homes if they so choose.

I am writing in support of this bill because we are at risk of a voter suppression crisis if COVID-19 resurges and voting reforms are not made. States that have held primary elections during this pandemic without expanding absentee ballot access have faced difficulty properly enforcing social distancing guidelines, subjecting their voters to long crowded lines. Elderly and medically vulnerable populations who chose to stay home were unjustly disenfranchised. If we learn from the mistakes of other states we can prevent voters from making this impossible choice.

When I voted for the first time in 2019 from college, I used an absentee ballot. The process of applying for one was outdated and complicated, even without the threat of a pandemic. This bill, which will send an absentee ballot application to every registered voter, will make voting easier in a time when seemingly everything else is harder.

We need this bill to protect both our health and voting rights. My hope is that Connecticut can be a national leader in expanding ballot access during COVID-19.

Grace Bracken