From a press release by the Secretary of State's Office:
Hartford: Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today praised the General Assembly’s Government, Administration and Elections Committee for approving Senate Joint Resolution No. 43 whose ultimate goal is to make Absentee Ballots available to any registered voter. The Committee’s 14-1 vote sends the resolution onto a vote by the full General Assembly.The upside of early voting is that it will give more people the opportunity to vote, who might otherwise be busy or unable to get to the polls on the usual Tuesday election day.
“Millions of voters nationwide successfully cast ballots before Election Day in 2008 using early voting,” said Secretary Bysiewicz. “This had the dual effect of increasing voter turnout to record levels nationwide while at the same time reducing long lines at the polls and the strain on poll workers on Election Day. No excuse absentee balloting would be a secure and cost-effective way to give Connecticut voters the opportunity to vote early and at their own convenience. This system would also allow early voting without imposing the significant cost of setting up early polling stations or compromising the security of our elections. I commend lawmakers of both parties for taking this prudent first step towards early voting in Connecticut, and I urge full passage by the General Assembly.”
If approved by a three-quarters majority in both the State House and Senate, the resolution would put a Constitutional question on the ballot for voters to consider in 2010. If that Constitutional question is passed, the legislature would be empowered to remove the requirements of physical absence, disability or sickness that currently restrict who can use Absentee Ballots on Election Day.
I've always thought that scheduling elections on a work day was a bad idea. People often are too busy or tired to be bothered to vote on a work day, and polling places can get very crowded in the pre- or post-work rush hours, resulting in voters simply leaving rather than waiting in line to vote.
Early voting via absentee ballot is allowed in 31 states, so it obviously works well enough. Although in Minnesota, Norm Coleman is challenging pretty much every last one of them in a desperate attempt to hang on to his seat when it's only a matter of time before they agree that Al Franken rightfully won the election. But a margin as narrow as that one deserves a detailed recount.