Making Democracy Work

Government Positions

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The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause.

Positions result from a process of study. Any given study, whether it be National, State, or Local, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details. As the study progresses, a continuing discussion of pros and cons of each situation occurs. Prior to the results of the study being presented to the general membership, study committee members fashion consensus questions that are then addressed by the membership.

Additional discussion, pro and con, takes place as members (not part of the study committee) learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions based on that consensus.

It is the consensus statement -- the statement resulting from the consensus questions -- that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot be taken.

Campaign Finance Reform

Adopted 1975; affirmed 2015)

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that the goals of a campaign finance system should: ensure the public's right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, and enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office.

  • The League believes that there should be limitations on the size of individual contributions and on overall expenditures by a candidate. These limits should be realistic and reasonable; high enough to be enforceable, but not so low as to affect candidates adversely. Cash contributions should be limited to small amounts.

  • We support full and timely disclosure of all contributions prior to elections and of expenditures by a stated deadline. We realize that provisions must be made for campaign deficits, but there must be safeguards against contributions pledged orally in advance, to be fulfilled after the election in order to circumvent prior disclosure.

  • No system, however complete or well-meaning, is effective if it is unenforceable. The establishment of a bipartisan elections commission with investigatory and subpoena powers is essential to any campaign reform. Strong penalties should be provided for violators

  • The length of campaigns should be shortened, but enough time should be provided to allow full discussion of the issues and for adequate visibility of all candidates.

  • This position applies to all state elections including primaries.

Election Laws

(Adopted in 1983; amended 2005; amended 2007)

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that the political process must be open to all citizens and that the right to vote with confidence in the election process and with adequate information with which to make informed decisions must be guaranteed for all. To achieve these goals, the LWVCT supports the following:

Registration Processes

  • Expand opportunities for the registration of potential voters via the Internet and through use of off-site, off-hour registration sessions, increased use of mail-in applications and applications submitted through various state agencies;
  • Provide Instruction by state and local officials on proper voter registration procedures for those distributing voter registration applications;
  • Implement Election Day Registration (EDR) for all federal, state and local elections with adequate safeguards to protect against fraud;
  • Maintain an accurate, reliable, state-wide electronic, centralized voter registration system and accurate local voter lists;
  • Provide adequate training, compensation, and assistance for registrars and adequate training for their designees;
  • Provide outreach to potential voters, such as high school students and new citizens, by town and state elections officials.

Election Procedures
  • Ensure sufficient funding and adequate personnel for state agencies to supervise and enforce election laws;
  • Provide expanded and unbiased public education in voting machine use, and expanded opportunity for unbiased ballot information at the polls;
  • Assure assistance to voters for whom English is not their primary language;
  • Mandate training and supervision of all election workers to assure uniform compliance with federal and state laws;
  • Adopt procedures to minimize voter inconvenience;
  • Assure identification of voters at polls to prevent fraud;
  • Provide instruction from the Office of the Secretary of the State to all election workers regarding the use of Presidential and Provisional ballots, ballot questions and referenda on Constitutional Amendments;
  • Provide impartial voter education by the Office of the Secretary of the State and local elections officials, where appropriate, regarding ballot questions and referenda;
  • Assure that absentee voting privileges are available to all;
  • Strengthen measures to protect the absentee ballot from fraud and undue influence.

Voting Technology (based on the LWVUS position)
  • Implement voting systems that are secure, accurate, recountable and accessible (SARA) in order to ensure the integrity of, and voter confidence in, elections;
  • Consider a broad range of options that meet SARA criteria and keep pace with evolving technology;
  • Use voting systems and procedures that provide fairness to all voters, including the disabled and those who do not speak English as their primary language.

Funding

It is essential to insure adequate funding and support for state agencies responsible for supervising elections, enforcing election laws, and assuring the integrity of voting technology are fundamental to protecting citizens' right to vote and having their votes counted.

Reviewing Connecticut's election laws must be a continuing activity, in light of the evolving technology in voting systems, new legislation and regulations, and the needs of the public.

Ethics

(Adopted 2004, affirmed 2015)

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that the public should have confidence in the integrity of its government. Government officials and employees should be held accountable for carrying out their duties in both an effective and an ethically responsible manner. To these ends, the LWVCT supports actions to:

  • Reform, strengthen, and clarify Connecticut's codes of ethics as they apply to public officials, public employees, and lobbyists.
  • Ensure the existence of strong, effective, independent watchdog agencies, such as the State Ethics Commission, Freedom of Information Commission, and the State Elections Enforcement Commission; support the allocation of resources necessary for these commissions to fulfill their responsibilities.
  • Require a transparent, competitive, and clearly defined state contract selection process.
  • Promote the establishment of municipal ethics commissions and municipal ethics codes as applied to municipal public officials, municipal public employees, and municipal lobbyists.

Fiscal Policy

(Adopted 1981; amended and affirmed 2003; archived in part 2013)

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut supports the following components of the state's fiscal policy:

  • The state budget should be an effective policy-making tool of the state government. The budget should be based on uniform accounting and reporting procedures and should identify all money available to the state. Such budget should contain clearly stated goals accompanied by enough detail to enable priority setting among programs; financial data on past performance in meeting goals; economic impact data and program costs.
  • Bonds should be used only for long-term capital projects and never for current expenditures.
  • The state should fund at least 50% of the Educational Cost Share grant, increased state funding for special education costs, and fully fund the PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for state-owned properties.
  • Should inadequate revenues be generated by the current state tax system to fund the budget, additional revenues should come from increasing the progressivity of the income tax.

General Assembly

(Adopted 1982, affirmed in 2003, 2013)

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut supports continued improvement in the structure and procedures of the General Assembly in order to maintain its effectiveness as an independent and responsive branch of the state government. It should have the means to make independent judgments in fiscal and budgetary matters and to insure that the intent of its adopted legislation is pursued efficiently by agencies of the executive branch. To these ends, we support the following objectives:

  • annual sessions of limited length; increased use of the interim between sessions for preliminary consideration of legislation and for oversight to evaluate existing legislation and its implementation;
  • four-year staggered terms for state senators;
  • compensation for legislators commensurate with the requirements of legislative service and sufficient to insure that any eligible citizen may serve without undue regard to his/her financial status. The League would emphasize the need for fiscal responsibility as well.
  • continued improvement in the organization and procedures of the General Assembly to provide an orderly flow of legislation with full and open consideration by committees and on the floor of the General Assembly and a public hearing scheduling plan to promote full participation of committee members by minimizing conflicts. We encourage each legislator to use discretion regarding the number of bills he/she proposes and to seek opportunities to co-sponsor bills;
  • uniform adherence to public hearing procedures that give priority to the public's convenience, allow for ample public comment on any legislation which will later go before the General Assembly, and assure such comments an adequate audience by committee members.

Initiative and Referendum

(Adopted in 1984; affirmed in 2003, 2013 retained)

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut supports the current method of amending the State Constitution, with amendments proposed by the General Assembly and ratified by referendum and then the General Assembly. The League of Women Voters of Connecticut opposes the adoption of the initiative device to propose Constitutional amendments, direct initiative to propose laws, and the initiative and referendum device as a non-binding expression of public opinion.

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that the incorporation of the following controls into any initiative and referendum plan is essential:

  • A provision for legal review of the initiative proposal;
  • A time limit for the collection of signatures and a ban on payment for solicitation of signatures;
  • Definitions of the qualifications of sponsors, circulators, and signers of petitions and a determination of a method for legal verification of signatures.
  • Geographical distribution of signatures and a signature requirement high enough to discourage frivolous use.
  • Full disclosure of contributions to initiative campaigns and limits on contributions if constitutional means can be found.
  • Provision for statewide dissemination of printed material on ballot questions, including full text, explanatory information, pros and cons, and an estimate of the cost of the proposed change.
  • Specification of the size of the vote necessary for passage. The League feels strongly that these requirements should be addressed through the statutes, while the constitutional amendment itself should contain only the broad outlines of an initiative and referendum proposal.
  • The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that a measure proposed by initiative and adopted by referendum should not be subject to gubernatorial veto, and that the voters should have the power, through a subsequent referendum, to amend or repeal such measures. We believe that ballot questions should be placed before the voters only at general elections, not at special elections. We feel strongly that improvements need to be made in the content and dissemination of information on ballot questions, and that the cost of printing and distributing such information be borne by the government.