WTNH: Connecticut lawmakers discuss election policies at special session

September 28, 2023

By: Brittany Schaefer and Bob Wilson

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A video appearing to show a Bridgeport employee stuffing absentee ballots into a drop box was the center of a discussion during a special session on Tuesday at the Connecticut State Capitol.

Lawmakers voted to add an election monitor to watch over the city of Bridgeport over the next two years while they find out more about what happened in the video.

During the session, Senate Democrats said they do not want to change the law for the entire state before the state elections enforcement commission’s investigation is complete.

Republicans said they want to ban drop boxes across the state to preserve November’s election.

“Look at what the majority is doing right now, we have an opportunity to fix this before the November election and they want to push it out,” Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Conn.) said.

To ensure a free and fair election Speaker of the House Matt Ritter (D-Conn.) said Democrats want to fund an election monitor in Bridgeport. Hartford saw the temporary position nearly ten years ago. The cost would be $150,000 for two years.

“We don’t even know the full facts or circumstances of what happened. Either suspending or banning drop boxes would inevitably disenfranchise hundreds if not thousands of voters in the state it should be done with a public hearing,” State Rep. Matt Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said.

Legislators are also discussing an amendment to the penalties for election misconduct.

Currently, absentee ballot fraud is a class D felony.

Democrats are considering increasing that to a class C bringing the maximum jail time from five to ten years.

While Republicans want to install a mandatory one-year minimum sentence for all election crimes.

“We are going to give the majority the opportunity to close the loophole,” Kelly said.