As the clock ticks down on this year’s legislative session, two pro-voter bills still have not been passed. Both bills received near-unanimous support during their public hearings, and both bills were reported favorably out of the Government Administration and Elections Committee more than a month ago but have not yet received a vote in either chamber.
- SB 431 would prevent foreign interference in Connecticut’s referendums.
- SB 471 would create a Connecticut Voting Rights Act to provide Black, Brown and other voters of color additional protections against voter suppression.
The 2022 legislative session ends at midnight on Wednesday, May 4.
Statement of Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director of Common Cause in Connecticut
There’s not much time left before the end of this legislative session, but two crucial bills are still waiting for action by both chambers.
In a democracy, there is nothing more essential than ensuring people’s freedom to vote. And just under that, in terms of urgency, is ensuring that our elections are free of undue influence – particularly, influence by foreign agents or entities.
These two bills should be at the top of the Legislature’s priority list, to get them passed before the end of session.
Our ‘government by the people’ depends on free, fair and effective elections. But decisions at the federal level have eroded many of the protections we used to take for granted.
We can no longer take full participation in our elections for granted. The US Supreme Court has gutted enforcement provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act – and due to the filibuster, the US Senate has been unable to pass anything to fix the situation.
So it’s time for Connecticut’s Legislature to act, to ensure that all our state’s voters can exercise our freedom to vote, no matter our race, background or zipcode. It’s fundamental: our government needs everyone to participate by voting, in order to be truly representative.
We also can no longer ignore the influence of outside money on our elections. Again, US Supreme Court rulings have opened doors to outside influence and unlimited spending. And again, a minority in the US Senate has used the filibuster to block passage of legislation – including a constitutional amendment – that would address the problem.
So, on this point, too: it’s time for our state Legislature to act. Connecticut’s elections need to be protected from foreign influence – and we, the voters, deserve to know that our Legislature is willing to take the steps necessary to protect us.
On behalf of Common Cause in Connecticut, I urge legislative leaders to ensure that both these bills are passed before the session ends on Wednesday.
Read “75 Grassroots Leaders, Groups Urge Legislative Leaders to Pass ‘Freedom to Vote’ Agenda” here.
Read “Civil Rights Coalition and Connecticut Legislators Join Together in Calling for Passage of Voting Rights Bill S.B. 471” here.