Rep. Carter Opposes Bill that Undermines Legitimacy of State Elections
Rep. Carter Opposes Bill that Undermines
Legitimacy of State Elections
HARTFORD—State Representative Dan Carter (R-2) yesterday expressed his fervent opposition to a Constitutional amendment that aims to relax two-century-old voting rules and would allow the legislature to fundamentally transform our current electoral system.
The amendment would allow voters to obtain and cast a ballot in advance of Election Day without any special circumstances. It would also allow the legislature to take greater control over how elections are conducted. The fear, however, is that with loosening voter restrictions it will open the door to much broader changes to the parameters of – and effectively the sanctity of – voting.
Majority party lawmakers argued that loosening voter restrictions would help to modernize our electoral system. Rep. Carter and his Republican colleagues, however, note that election rules have remained consistent for nearly 200 years, and radically altering the voting process to increase convenience would invite fraud.
“This radical amendment undermines the legitimacy of our entire electoral system. Fair and representative elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and without the safeguards and restrictions we currently have in place, our democracy is compromised.”Rep. Carter said.
Rep. Carter added “Unfortunately, low voter turnout is not a result of inaccessibility, but rather is telling of public disinterest. Instead of finding ways to make voting more convenient to entice people to vote, we should find ways to cultivate a greater interest in and appreciation for government and the electoral process. I am uncomfortable with the idea of granting more power to the legislature to manipulate the terms of our democracy.”
There is no data to suggest that expanding the timeframe for voting or increasing the ways in which a ballot can be cast will significantly increase voter participation.
In order to amend the state Constitution, the legislature must pass the measure by a simple majority in two successive legislative sessions before it can go to the ballot for a public referendum. That two-year rule can be waived if both chambers endorse an amendment by a three-fourths’ vote the first time they consider it. Because the House came up 17 votes shy of the margin needed for a same-year amendment (97-50), they must now take up the bill in the next legislative session in hopes of getting the issue in front of voters on the ballot in November of 2014.
It if is approved at the earliest in 2014, it would take effect in 2016.
Representative Carter represents the communities of Bethel, Danbury and Redding.