State Sen. Rick Lopes Supports Unequal Voter Access Across Entire State, Voter Confusion
According to our sources, State Sen. Rick Lopes is sponsoring House Bill No. 5883 of
Session Year 2021. This bill would grant those who have reached the age of 16 but are not yet 18 the right to vote in some municipal elections for all elected municipal offices and vote on local issues if the municipality adopts an effective ordinance, effectively creating a two-tiered voter system across the State of Connecticut.
According to the Public Testimony, the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut has also taken concern with H.B. 5883. The ROVAC stated that this bill would create “election uncertainty” and “misunderstanding at a time when we need to clear things up and make elections more open.” Further, it is according to ROVAC that “Allowing towns on an individual basis to decide whether 16- and 17-year-old can vote will, in ROVAC’s opinion, confuse.”
For example, according to ROVAC, “Imagine if the City of Norwalk adopts such an ordinance, but Wilton and Westport do not. Kids, as well as parents, interact across town lines. [ROVAC] can see a scenario where 16- and 17-year-olds show up at a Wilton or Westport polling place wanting to vote because their friends in Norwalk have told them they can vote in the election. Imagine a 16- or 17-year-old who moves from a town that adopted the bill to a town that opted out. Moderators will have to deal with this confusion and, as we have learned, often, these discussions in polling places become, shall we say, animated. As Registrars, it is our job to ensure that our polling places are free of distraction.”
Another issue here is that the bill calls on the Registrar’s to ensure that proper ballots are given to those under 18 years of age, increasing costs to towns.