Senator Fasano Statement on Absentee Ballot Executive Order Issued by Governor Lamont

May 20, 2020

Fasano: Executive Order Raises Constitutional Concerns & Issues Related to Unattended Drop Boxes and Ballot Stuffing


Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) released the following statement regarding Governor Ned Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7QQ on absentee ballots in the State of Connecticut:


“I can understand the need for vulnerable populations and those with preexisting conditions to vote by absentee ballot. However, the process laid out in the Governor’s executive order is not simply addressing those vulnerable groups. The proposed process raises significant questions of constitutionality and questions related to the security of unattended drop boxes that would be used to collect ballots.


“If even one piece of the state’s constitution is not upheld, it sets a dangerous precedent that any part of the constitution could be ignored or overruled by one person. Constitutional protections cannot be eviscerated by the stroke of a pen. No matter how much we may want to waive the language of the Constitution given the COVID-19 health crisis, we are bound to the documents that created our country and state and cannot legally do that. At times it can be easy to rationalize ignoring the Constitution. But no matter how well reasoned the intentions are, the act of circumventing the constitution is not a luxury any governor should resort to and begs for legal challenges.


“I also have significant concerns about the proposed drop box collection method for ballots which I have raised to the Governor’s administration and Secretary of the State. Setting up unattended outside drop boxes for people to submit their ballots contradicts state law which requires in-person return of absentee ballots for security purposes and to protect the integrity of the voting system. Drop boxes present unique security issues related to stuffing ballot boxes, which is why state law clearly emphasizes the importance of in-person absentee ballot returns. I strongly believe this policy must be revised and replaced with more secure methods for in-person ballot returns for those who find themselves in the unfortunate position of not being able to mail a ballot and not being comfortable walking into a clerk’s office, such as waiting in their car outside the clerk’s office, calling the clerk and having a runner meet them at their car. At the very least, drop boxes need to be located within a town clerks’ office which will act as a deterrent for untoward activity and place them in view of watchful eyes on election day.


“Even if the ballot drop box issue is resolved, the constitutional questions remain. As Thomas Jefferson said: ‘The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the constitution.’ Once a government feels comfortable overriding the Constitution to fit a unique purpose, the more uncomfortable our liberties become. In 2014, the people of the State of Connecticut rejected, by a large percentage, a proposal to amend the Constitution and expand absentee voting. The situation today is unique and we can be innovative in how we help people access their right to vote. But to disregard the Constitution and to ignore that voters recently rejected similar proposals is a dangerous place to be.”




The state constitution only allows someone to vote by absentee ballot in specific circumstances — if you have a specific illness, a disability or are going out of town. In 2014, voters were asked to vote on a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would have expanded absentee voting. The question was phrased as follows: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?” The proposed amendment was rejected in a 53-47 percent vote.