Secretary of State Denise Merrill and Khalilah Brown-Dean, Associate Professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University, led a conversation on voting rights in Connecticut and beyond. Professor Brown-Dean described her experiences visiting Selma for the 50th anniversary of the voting march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The anniversary was bittersweet; it marked a momentous event in the Civil Rights Movement, but occurred at a time when voting rights are being stripped away. In June 2014, the Supreme Court struck down section four of the Voting Rights Act, which mandated that states with a history of racial discrimination in voting had to get federal approval before making changes in voting laws. Secretary of State Merrill argued that this decision opened an avenue for states to pass strict voting laws, such as those requiring photo identification, which disproportionately affect students, low-income and older individuals, and people of color. Secretary Merrill said that Connecticut has progressive voting laws, though the state still lacks opportunities for early voting.
Inspiration to Action