League of Women Voters of Connecticut calls for a Special Session NOW to address Police Accountability,
Voter Safety and Public Trust
June 10, 2020
Greetings!

These times demand ACTION of our duly elected legislators . Citizens can wait no longer for them to address the critical issues of police accountability, voter safety and public trust. The legislature must conduct the public’s important business in public—in a “special session” to be held NOW.

We therefore call on members of the LWVCT to contact legislative leaders and their own elected representatives immediately to ask them to
  • convene in special session right away;
  • pass police accountability legislation;
  • pass legislation that makes it legally permissible to use an absentee ballot for fear of sickness from COVID-19 in November 2020.

While we appreciate that the Governor said yesterday that he would call a special session, it is still unclear when that would happen. The presiding officers should themselves issue a joint call NOW for a special session. This will assure that these critical issues of police accountability and safe and secure voting will have a public hearing before legislators vote on them.

In Connecticut, a special session may be called by joint call of the presiding officers of both houses. Read more from the National Conference on State Legislatures HERE .
 
There are six officers of the Senate and House. That means that right now, Senators Duff, Fasano and Looney and Representatives Aresimowicz, Klarides, and Ritter have the power to make sure the citizens of CT have a voice in these important decisions. [ See below for their email addresses ].
POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY

There are encouraging reports of how many legislators are seriously engaged in educating themselves about and responding to demands for police accountability. We should not rest until this is accomplished.
Read the CT Mirror article "Demand grows for lawmakers to act on police accountability reforms" HERE .

The New York legislature has just passed a ban on choke holds by law enforcement. Read more HERE .
SAFE AND SECURE VOTING IN NOVEMBER
There is also widespread interest in making sure that all eligible voters have the choice of casting their vote by absentee ballot or in-person in the 2020 elections. In CT, voting by absentee ballot is the only mail-in voting procedure available to us in 2020. The Governor has issued an Executive Order to permit the use of an absentee ballot for any reason in the CT primary elections on August 11, 2020.
              
Now it’s time for the legislature to act in time to adequately prepare for the November 3 general election. Seeking to avoid illness during a pandemic should be among the allowable reasons to vote by absentee ballot. Legislative leaders need to make it legally permissible to use an absentee ballot for fear of sickness from COVID-19 in November 2020 . Read the CT Mirror article "On easing absentee voting, Connecticut looks to November and beyond" HERE .
 
Legislatures in other neighboring states have re-opened. The Massachusetts House just passed Vote by Mail legislation that allows all MA voters to vote by mail. It awaits MA Senate approval. Read more HERE .
A WORD OR TWO ABOUT FRAUD
Real voter fraud is very rare. Credible allegations of voter fraud must be thoroughly investigated and addressed through processes established by the State Election Enforcement Commission. A legislator can also raise a bill to compel a specific city or town to hire a certified Election Monitor for cause and provide state funds for such a decision. 

While fraud is clearly unacceptable, the LWVCT is committed to finding solutions that address actual problems instead of imposing policies that make it harder for Connecticut’s citizens to participate in our democracy. 
Here are the email addresses of the six officers of the
House and Senate and a key staff person for each:
And to find out who represents you: CLICK HERE.
It is time for our legislators to stand up and be counted.
Let us be sure to stand behind and support those who do.
In League,

Carol Reimers , President, League of Women Voters of CT
Judy Lhamon, VP, Advocacy, League of Women Voters of CT