Voters, media are encouraged to learn about, compare positions of candidates from both parties
Common Cause in Connecticut today announced that more than 80 candidates for statewide office – including both Republican and Democratic politicians – have answered the Connecticut “Our Democracy 2022” candidates’ questionnaire and gone on record about proposed changes to elections and campaign finance laws.
“Connecticut voters deserve the absolute best version of democracy,” said Common Cause in Connecticut Executive Director Cheri Quickmire. “Knowing where your candidates stand on these issues is the first step toward making Connecticut a leader in the freedom to vote.”
The nonpartisan survey was sent to every candidate running for State Representative, State Senator, Secretary of the State, Treasurer, Comptroller, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and Governor this year. Voters can enter their address on the website to view responses from just the candidates who are running to represent them. (Address information is used only for the purpose of filtering and is not saved.)
More than 60 of the candidates who have responded to the questionnaire so far have endorsed all five proposed reforms.
In the questionnaire, candidates are asked if they support
- Early Voting. Connecticut voters will have the opportunity, on the November ballot, to approve a state constitutional amendment to allow Early Voting. Connecticut is one of only four states that do not allow all voters the option of voting in-person before Election Day.
- Banning Foreign Spending on State Ballot Referendums. Last year, the Federal Election Commission ruled that foreign nationals could spend money to influence state ballot questions. Connecticut law currently limits ballot campaign contributions from domestic sources, but it is silent on funds from foreign sources – allowing foreign nationals and entities to spend unlimited funds supporting or opposing Connecticut ballot questions.
- Passing a Connecticut Voting Rights Act. “Connecticut has among the most restrictive voting laws outside of the south,” according to a letter 75 grassroots groups, faith leaders, civil rights organizations and labor leaders sent to legislative leaders earlier this year. The US Senate has been unable to pass legislation restoring the federal Voting Rights Act after its enforcement provisions were gutted by the US Supreme Court. A state Voting Rights Act would help Connecticut fight discrimination and become a national leader on the right to vote.
- No-Excuse Absentee Voting. More than half of states allow any voter to cast a mail ballot – and eight states conduct their elections primarily by mail. But Connecticut state law limits the use of absentee ballots. Temporary provisions enacted for the 2020 elections allowed absentee voting during the COVID pandemic; and more than a third of Connecticut voters cast their ballots by mail in 2020.
- Ranked Choice Voting. Ranked Choice Voting (“RCV”) 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 Alaska, and by military and overseas voters casting ballots in Georgia. It is also used in dozens of municipalities throughout the country. RCV 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.
Common Cause in Connecticut will continue to update the Our Democracy 2022 website through the November election, as additional questionnaire responses are received.
Beginning today, the more than 15,000 thousand members of Common Cause in Connecticut will reach out to candidates who have not submitted a response, asking them to participate. Members will also thank candidates who have returned the questionnaire.
“This is a nonpartisan campaign to make sure candidates for statewide office in Connecticut are willing to make our state government work for all of us,” Quickmire said. “With so many first-time candidates running for office, and huge amounts of money in Connecticut campaigns, we need to make sure every candidate goes on the record and tells voters how they will defend and strengthen our democracy.”