by Steve Taccogna
Stratford Democratic Town Committee
Recently, CT GOP Chairman Ben Proto released a statement condemning the involvement of Democratic Town Committee Chairs in disseminating Absentee Ballot applications to registered voters in their municipalities.
His complaint is based on the erroneous assumption that the Town Committees are not disseminating the applications to request absentee ballots from Town Clerks in a responsible manner, and that because of this, we’re assisting in some sort of vote tampering.
In true Republican fashion, Ben Proto has turned what we should all be celebrating as a win for voters and for democracy into an opportunity to complain about expanded voting access.
Let’s be clear – what he’s talking about is not the ballot itself. Both Democratic and Republic town committees have been doing their part to ensure that registered voters receive the application for the absentee ballot. No Town Committee has contact with the ballot itself, nor with the voter when they prepare their ballot for submission.Look,
I don’t trust a mechanic that won’t give me an itemized bill. I don’t trust a doctor that won’t explain the purpose of a test they want me to take. And I sure as hell don’t trust a politician that doesn’t want people to vote. So I have a few suggestions for Mr. Proto on how we could solve this problem that’s been keeping him up at night:
1. Get the CT GOP on board with allowing mail-in voting and no-excuse absentee ballots universally, as is currently done in 34 other states.
2. Update the process for absentee voting. Rather than fearmongering around archaic clerical nonsense, make it easier for people to vote and allow the state to operate a modernized ballot application process.
3. Allow the Secretary of State’s office to send applications to all registered voters. No need to worry about us pesky Town Committee Chairs anymore!
4. Thank your local Town Clerks and their staff who, thanks largely to the outdated methodology, are buried in days of thankless toil to make sure that as many citizens as possible are able to safely cast their vote.
The indictment made by Mr. Proto that enabling more voters to participate in an election is somehow partisan or unfair would be laughable if it weren’t so repeatedly and predictably sad.
The GOP loves to point to low voter turnout as a symptom of the ills of our modern society, but when opportunities come around to allow greater voter engagement, they balk for one reason only: they know if everyone votes, the GOP loses.
A wild haymaker of an attempt to create confusion amongst registered voters and suppress turnout by an increasingly irrelevant GOP is the only partisan activity at play here.
Do better, Ben.