75 Grassroots Leaders, Groups Urge Legislative Leaders to Pass ‘Freedom to Vote’ Agenda

Hearing Friday at 11am on bill to prevent foreign interference in state referenda and elections 

Noting that “Connecticut has among the most restrictive voting laws outside of the south,” 75 good government groups, faith leaders, civil rights organizations and labor leaders today urged General Assembly leaders to pass legislation that would

  1. ban foreign spending on state ballot referendums —such as on the November 8, 2022 ballot question where voters will decide if our state will finally allow early voting;
  2. enact a Connecticut Voting Rights Act to give Black, Brown and other voters of color additional protections against voter suppression; and
  3. create a Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) task force to study the implementation of RCV for state, federal and municipal elections in Connecticut.

The groups’ letter observes that Connecticut law currently restricts ballot campaign contributions from domestic sources, “But it is silent on funds from foreign sources.”

“The question on Connecticut’s November 8, 2022 statewide ballot where voters will decide if our state will finally allow Early Voting could become a target of antidemocratic foreign actors. We cannot allow this to happen,” the letter says.

This Friday, March 18 at 11am, the Government Administration and Elections Committee will hold a hearing on legislation that would prevent foreign interference in state referenda and elections. A livestream will be available here

In today’s letter, the groups also urge a “Connecticut Voting Rights Act to give Black, Brown and other voters of color additional protections against voter suppression. To this day, Black, Brown and other voters of color in Connecticut routinely encounter long lines and other obstacles when voting.”

The letter also asks legislative leaders to prioritize legislation creating a Task Force to Study Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) – a method of voting that allows voters to rank their preferred candidates rather than selecting only one. Also known as “instant runoff” voting, RCV is used statewide in Maine and in dozens of municipalities throughout the country. It ensures that winning candidates receive at least majority support, rather than being elected by only a plurality that is sometimes as low as 35%. RCV can benefit voters and candidates of color; and it can also improve campaign civility, because candidates are also seeking to be the “second choice” of voters who are primarily supporting their opponents.

“Connecticut voters deserve the absolute best version of democracy; that’s why we – a coalition of good government groups and other organizations who share this vision – are writing today to strongly urge our legislative leaders to prioritize these three ‘freedom to vote’ reforms from day one of the 2022 regular legislative session,” the letter says.

Read the full letter here.

The letter was signed by groups including:

Common Cause in Connecticut
Action Together Connecticut
Action Together New Haven County
Action Together Northern Fairfield County
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. – Connecticut Chapters
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Connecticut
Black and Brown United in Action
BLM 860
Bridgeport Generation Now Votes
Collaborative Center for Justice
Communications Workers of America Local 1298
Congregation Mishkan Israel
Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges
Connecticut AFL-CIO
Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans
Connecticut Citizen Action Group
Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women
Connecticut League of Conservation Voters
Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF)
Connecticut Working Families
ConnPIRG Students
CT Black Women
CT Shoreline Indivisible
Danbury Area Justice Network
DEMOCRACY Women in Action
East Lyme Democratic Town Committee
Generation Change CT
Greater New Haven NAACP
Hamden Action Now
Hamden Democratic Town Committee
Hamden Progressive Action Network (HamPAN)
Hartford Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Hartford Votes~Hartford Vota Coalition
Heritage Village Democratic Club
Hispanic Federation Connecticut State Office
ICT4 (Indivisible CT District 4)
Individual Democracy Activists
Indivisible Stamford
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1228
League of Women Voters of Connecticut
League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford
Make Voting Easy – CT
Medicare for All CT
Moral Monday CT
Nancy A Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work, UConn School of Social Work
National Lawyers Guild Chapter at Yale Law School
New Haven Peoples Center
New Haven Rising!
Norwalk Women Who Vote
Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee
Politica CT
Power Up Manchester
Progressive Women of Greater Hartford
SEIU – CT State Council
SEIU CSEA Local 2001
SEIU District 1199NE
Sierra Club Connecticut
Social Action Council, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury
The Unrig Bridgeport Coalition
Unitarian Society of New Haven UU the Vote Team
Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut
Urban Concepts, Inc.
UU the Vote CT
Varick Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church
Voter Choice Connecticut
Waterbury Muslims

Western Connecticut Action Network
Windham Willimantic Branch NAACP
Workers United Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board SEIU
YWCA Greenwich
YWCA New Britain