[SAMPLE] Testimony IN SUPPORT of Senate Bill No. 820 – An Act Concerning A State Voting Rights Act; and IN SUPPORT of Senate Bill No. 5 – An Act Concerning Increased Opportunities for Absentee Voting, Safe and Secure In-Person Voting and Voter Registration
March 26th, 2021
Dear Senator Mae Flexer (Co-Chair), Representative Dan Fox (Co-Chair), Ranking members Senator Rob Sampson and Representative Gale Mastrofrancesco and esteemed members of the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) Committee:
My name is [YOUR NAME], I am a voter from [YOUR TOWN NAME]. Connecticut needs our own state-level Voting Rights Act because federal courts have drastically weakened the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. As you know, it was enacted to combat a wide range of barriers and burdens that exclude voters of color from the political process. Black and brown people in Connecticut face longstanding and evolving threats to the franchise—and SB 820 An Act Concerning A State Voting Rights Act will provide tools to efficiently root out racial discrimination in voting.
Last year, the Center for Public Integrity observed that Connecticut voters still face some of the biggest obstacles outside of southern states. To this day, Black and Brown voters in Connecticut routinely encounter long lines and other obstacles when voting. [ADD YOUR OWN REASONS/STORY FOR WHY OUR STATE MUST ROOT OUT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN VOTING]
Passing Senate Bill 5 is also extremely important to me. Expanding Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) beyond the Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to other state agencies and restoring the right to vote to people on parole are common sense measures that will increase participation in our democracy. However, people re-entering their communities on parole must not be required to pay the often very large fines related to their conviction in order to regain their right to vote. As the U.S. Supreme Court explained in 1966 when striking down Virginia’s poll tax, voter qualifications have no relation to wealth.
I applaud this bill that among other things expands AVR to public assistance offices, all offices in the state that provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities, to libraries that are open to the public, to public institutions of higher education, and to other appropriate offices as the Secretary of the State shall designate in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 such as the Dept. of Labor, the Dept. of Social Services, Access Health CT, HUSKY and others.
[ADD YOUR OWN REASONS/STORY FOR WHY VOTERS SHOULD BE REGISTERED OR THEIR VOTING ADDRESS UPDATED WHEN THEY INTERACT WITH STATE AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS]
Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) will enhance the security and integrity of our elections by eliminating outdated addresses and duplicative registrations through an automatic process—which will deliver the most accurate voter rolls to cities and towns.
In a recent Secure Democracy public opinion poll 77% of Connecticut voters support Automatic Voter Registration. And please note, nineteen states currently have versions of AVR.
I urge you to pass SB 5—and I urge you to pass SB 820.
[YOUR NAME], [YOUR TOWN]