Today, the Connecticut Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 1226 (S.B. 1226 or “CTVRA”), a state-level Voting Rights Act that seeks to expand access to the freedom to vote and strengthen protections against voting discrimination for communities of color throughout the state. The bill now moves to the Connecticut House of Representatives, which has the opportunity to enact this historic legislation by June 7th, when the current session ends. If passed, the CTVRA will immediately become one of the most comprehensive state-level voting rights acts in the country.
The Connecticut Voting Rights Act’s critical protections include:
- Launching a “preclearance” program requiring local governments with a record or other signs of discrimination to prove that certain voting changes won’t harm voters of color before they can go into effect.
- Providing new legal tools to fight discriminatory voting rules in court.
- Expanding language assistance for voters with limited English proficiency.
- Creating strong protections against voter intimidation, deception, or obstruction.
- Establishing a central hub for election data and demographic information to increase transparency and help Connecticut voters fight for accessible elections.
In response to the passage of S.B. 1226, 24 civil rights, voting rights, labor, service, community, and faith-based organizations issued the following statement:
“We applaud all members of the Connecticut Senate on the passage of S.B. 1226, a strong and comprehensive state voting rights act. We fully support this proposed legislation and commend the bill’s leading champions, Senator Mae Flexer and Representative Matt Blumenthal, for all their work to reach this point. At a time when other states across the country are restricting voting access— and despite inaction in Washington D.C. to cement this fundamental freedom— Connecticut policymakers are standing up for the right to vote. We look forward to final passage in the House of Representatives soon. Once it is enacted and signed into law, the Connecticut Voting Rights Act will pave the way to a stronger, more inclusive democracy—both here in Connecticut and across the nation as a model for other states.
“Every Connecticut voter should have an equal opportunity to cast their ballot fairly and accessibly. Across the state, this transformative bill is strongly backed with substantial, bipartisan support. Recent poll data indicates that an overwhelming majority of Connecticut voters, 81%, agree that, rather than depending upon the federal government, ‘Connecticut needs its own strong laws to ensure every eligible voter has equal access to the ballot.’ These polling results also reveal that 75% of Connecticut voters support the CTVRA across race and party lines, and that 89% of Black voters and 85% of Latino voters want their representatives to prioritize it. On this momentous occasion, we are eager to continue working with the General Assembly and Governor Lamont to ensure that this historic legislation is fully enacted this session.”
More information about public support for the CTVRA is available here, and a report on how the legislation will help Connecticut become a national leader by meeting a critical local need is available here.
ACLU of Connecticut
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Bridgeport Generation Now Votes
Campaign Legal Center
Collaborative Center for Justice
Common Cause in Connecticut
Connecticut Citizen Action Group
Connecticut League of Conservation Voters
Connecticut NAACP State Conference
CSEA SEIU Local 2001
CT Alliance for Retired Americans
CT Shoreline Indivisible
Greater Hartford NAACP
Greater New Haven NAACP
Hartford Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
League of Women Voters of Connecticut
Make Voting Easy – CT
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
National Association of Social Workers, Connecticut Chapter
New Haven Peoples Center
Progressive Women of Greater Hartford
Safe Vote CT
Stand Up America
Urban League of Greater Hartford