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- A ballot question in Connecticut asks voters whether the state constitution should be amended to allow the General Assembly to permit early voting. Nearly all states offer in-person early voting. Connecticut is one of the few states that doesn’t.
- The amendment would eliminate a constitutional requirement that certain copies of election results sent to the secretary of state be under seal. A state official told us this is a reference to a wax seal used in the 1800s and is not a change that makes election results less official.
An ominous warning is being sent to Connecticut voters by way of a Facebook post.
"Pay Close Attention Connecticut Voters!!!" it says before launching into a claim about a sneaky ballot initiative that threatens to "alter the voting laws to allow early voting" and "remove the requirement of a certified seal from certain ballots when submitted to the Secretary of the State (meaning that certain ballots don’t have to have security seals to be processed because we can trust them.)"
"That’s a great big oh-hell-no!" the post says above a picture of the Joker.
The Oct. 18 post was flagged by Meta as part of the platform’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
What the post doesn’t say is that this entire seal question is a bit of a nonissue. Here’s why.
An amendment would allow for early voting, and while there will be an impact on some supposed "seals" that’s only because the measure will also serve to eliminate outdated language about wax seals that were used in the 1800s.
According to a summary of the ballot question provided by the state’s Office of Legislative Research, the ballot question asks: "Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting?" If voters approve the initiative, it would allow the General Assembly to pass legislation establishing in-person early voting.
So, where did the statement about a "seal" come from? We found that in the research office’s explanation of the amendment:
"Additionally, approval of the amendment would eliminate the constitutional requirement that certain copies of election results, when sent to the Secretary of the State, be under seal. It would not change the statutory requirement that these copies be sent under seal."
The summary says that it would eliminate certain copies of election results sent to the secretary of state be under seal, not actual ballots as claimed in the Facebook post.
Desmond Conner, communications director for the Connecticut Secretary of State's Office, said eliminating the need for a seal is about updating centuries-old language.
"The reference in the constitutional amendment to seals is a reference to removing antiquated language regarding the use of an old-fashioned wax seal that was used in the 1800s," he said. "It has nothing to do with seals on voting machines or ballots."
Conner said the ballot itself contains only the question on early voting.
Diana Evans, a member of Common Cause’s advisory board and a retired political science professor from Trinity College, said the Facebook claim is "absurd" because the ballot initiative is about in-person voting.
"This has absolutely nothing to do with (fictitious) ballot seals," said Evans, who supports the early voting amendment.
Connecticut is an outlier for not offering early voting to voters. Forty-six states offer early in-person voting (this includes states with all-mail elections), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Civic groups such as Common Cause and the League of Women Voters support adding early voting in Connecticut.
A Facebook post claimed a Connecticut ballot initiative asking voters to bless early voting would eliminate the need for certain ballots to have security seals.
If voters approve to enact early voting in the state, it will change outdated wording in the state's constitution that required a physical, wax seal to be stamped on certain copies of election results. The seal has nothing to do with paper ballots or voting machines.
We rate this claim False.
Office of Legislative Research (Connecticut), Ballot Question and Explanatory Text for 2022 Proposed Constitutional Amendment on Early Voting, Sept. 14, 2022
Connecticut Secretary of State's Office, Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, May 27, 2021
League of Women Voters of Connecticut, Civil Rights Organizations Encourage CT Voters to Say YES to Early Voting, Oct. 26, 2022
National Conference of State Legislatures, Early In-Person Voting, Aug. 30, 2022
Email interview, Desmond Conner, spokesperson for Connecticut Secretary of State Mark Kohler, Oct. 26, 2022
Email interview, Diana Evans, a member of Common Cause’s advisory board and a retired political science professor from Trinity College, Oct. 26, 2022
Diana Evans op-ed in Connecticut Mirror, We can make it easier to vote in Connecticut, Oct. 27, 2022
Connecticut Mirror, Election 2022: Everything Connecticut residents need to know before voting this year, Oct. 24, 2022
Secretary of State Denise Merrill, Secretary Merrill Statement on Passage of Early Voting Constitutional Amendment, May 27, 2021
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