In what appears to be a blatant display of political bias, a group of Connecticut Democrats are continuing to advocate for a bill that aims to establish standards for municipal referendum question language, purportedly to increase clarity and simplicity for voters. However, this move is being viewed by many as a thinly veiled attempt to sway the outcomes of future referendums by manipulating the language used in the questions.
The bill, sponsored solely by Sen. Rick Lopes, 6th Dist., Rep. Gary A. Turco, 27th Dist., Rep. Emmanuel Sanchez, 24th Dist., Rep. Robert Sanchez, 25th Dist., and Rep. Peter A. Tercyak, 26th Dist., would grant the Secretary of State the power to review and either approve or disapprove the language of referendum questions, thereby providing the state government with complete control over the information that voters receive. This maneuver is alarming for those who value transparency and democracy since it could be used to mislead voters into making decisions they may not have made if given accurate information.
Despite the bill's sponsors' assertion that it is crucial for voters who are frequently confused by referendum question language, many believe that this is nothing more than a ploy to advance their own political agenda. By constraining the subject matter and using simple language, they could potentially sway voters to support their preferred outcomes.
While it remains to be seen whether the bill will pass, the fact that it has been referred to the Committee on Government Administration is cause for concern. Manipulating language to influence voters is a dangerous tactic that undermines the foundations of democracy.
At a time when public trust in the government is at an all-time low, this bill is a misguided step in the wrong direction. Instead of trying to manipulate voters, lawmakers should focus on providing factual and impartial information to assist voters in making informed decisions. By giving the government control over referendum questions, we run the risk of further damaging the already tenuous trust between the government and the people.