Newspapers join CTVotersCount, ACLU, and CBIA in objections to H.B. 5556

CTVotersCount also opposes H.B. 5556 and has urged Governor Malloy to veto the bill because it contains a provision for risky, unconstitutional email and fax voting.

The underdefined provisions for military and overseas voters were added to an otherwise unrelated bill at the last minute by Senator Gayle Slossberg. Email and fax voting were never the subject of public hearings this year or ever by the General Assembly.

Not only are those voting mechanisms risky, we believe they are unconstitutional. They require individual voters to sign away their right to a secret vote, since email and fax votes cannot be made secret. However, we believe the secret vote guaranteed by the Connecticut Constitution is every voter’s right that no individual voter’s vote can be associated with the individual, such that their vote could be coerced or intimidated. So an individual voter cannot sign away that right for all other voters.

The newspaper, ACLU, and CBIA have other concerns and constitutional objections. Here is an article from the Hartford Courant discussing those concerns: Newspapers Ask Malloy To Veto Bill <read>

Under the interpretation of the bill by the Connecticut Daily Newspapers Association, newspapers that sponsor a political debate would be required to calculate “the value of the debate — i.e., set-up, airtime, advertising, etc. — coupled with the broadcasting of such debate” as an “independent expenditure” that would need to be reported publicly under the recently approved campaign finance bill.

In addition, the newspaper association board would need to approve those expenses, and the board “would then be required to disclose the votes of individual board members and ‘pertinent information’ that took place during the discussion of the expenditure,” according to a letter to Malloy by Chris Van DeHoef, the association’s executive director.

“If CDNA should partner with a local television station to host and televise a debate and CDNA placed ads in its members’ papers, would those ads constitute an independent expenditure?” Van DeHoef asked in his letter. “Would the airtime be an independent expenditure?”

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