COMMENTARY: Both ballot questions deserve our support Tuesday
Besides voting for governor, the other statewide constitutional officers, U.S. Congress and state legislators on Election Day, we in Shelton will be voting on two ballot questions.
Question 1 deals with voting: Connecticut has some of the most restrictive laws in the nation, because of a decades-old provision.
The state constitution prevents the state legislature from even considering early voting, but Question 1 would allow the state legislature to consider amending the state constitution to allow early voting.
This state constitutional amendment will remove the restrictions, and allow Connecticut to consider a better voting process aimed at increasing voter turnout and strengthening our democracy.
In Oregon and Washington, all voting is done by mail and their voting turnout is 65%, something to work toward. Mail voting may not be for Connecticut, but early voting should be.
More than two-thirds of the states already use early voting or provide absentee ballots to eligible voters who request them. Currently, our state constitution limits who can vote early.
Simply wanting to vote absentee is not enough — and if you do vote absentee and are not out of town on Election Day or not physically unable to get to the polls, you could be breaking the law.
Greater opportunity to vote makes it more likely that busy commuters, single parents, students, individuals with unpredictable work schedules, and the elderly will be able to vote.
To date, the Vote Yes effort has been endorsed by the League of Women Voters, the Hartford Courant, Connecticut Post, Danbury News-Times and Meriden Record Journal.
It has been approved twice by the state legislature, so now it our turn to vote. For more information go to www.voteyesct.org/resources. I urge you to vote yes.
Paying to fix local roads
Question 2 is to whether to approve a $5 million bond issue to continue to fix our roads in Shelton. There is no doubt that a number of city streets need repair.
But what troubles me is why we are borrowing the money. Yes, interest rates are very low, but the money isn’t free.
The city has almost $18 million in reserve. Annually, the city runs a $5 million to $7 million surplus. The Police Department usually has almost a million dollars unspent and Highway & Bridges about $300,000.
Why not divert that unused revenue to repairing the roads? We could easily spend a million dollars on road repair each year and not increase taxes or the city’s debt.
Be that as it may, vote yes on the bond issue. We need to fix the roads. We can discuss the city’s borrowing practices next year during our local election.
David Gioiello is chairman of the Shelton Democratic Town Committee and a two-time candidate for mayor.