Sen. Champagne Statement on Senate Passage of Voting Bill That Creates Challenges for Municipalities, Businesses

May 27, 2021

Assistant Senate Republican Leader Dan Champagne (R-Vernon), issued the following statement in opposition to a Democratic bill that contains expanded voting measures, some of which are onerous to municipalities and businesses. The bill removes a town’s ability to conduct May elections, which certain towns in the state hold in accordance with their charter. It also mandates that businesses provide each employee with two hours of unpaid leave on Election Day in November. Another key element of the bill is the substitution of a sworn affidavit of identity in place of official documentation. Felons on parole, special parole or confined in a community residence regain the right to vote under this legislation as well. The Senate passed the bill during its session yesterday 25 – 10 with one absent.

“I’ve always said that I support the right to vote for everyone who may legally do so. Voting is a right in this country and is what makes it great. There are many very good elements of this bill, however, there are also certain sections that are harmful to municipalities and businesses. Unfortunately, the majority party turns what would otherwise be good bills into overly broad mega-bills that go beyond the scope of what the legislation seeks to improve. We’re then forced to vote for the ‘bad’ in order to benefit from the potential ‘good’ outcomes of the bill,” said Sen. Champagne.

“This bill is an example of this concept. Along with its good elements, it also forces towns that already hold May elections to move them to November, the traditional Election Day. This decision is not for us to make in Hartford and is a local decision.

“Also, two hours of unpaid employee leave is harmful to businesses that will be left with staffing challenges as a result of this legislation. Beyond this, the concept of sworn-identity affidavits in place of official documentation opens the door to voter fraud. Finally, in another giveaway to criminals, the bill restores a felon’s right to vote. This right is already restored when the offender fulfills their obligations under the law, which includes fines and jailtime. This new bill is a bypass for criminals to have their right restored without fulfilling their obligations. If you do not want to give up the right to vote for any period of time, then you should not commit a crime. I could not support this otherwise good bill because of these overreaching sections,” he said.