Letter to the Editor published in 20 June Villager:
Many Connecticut voters register as “Independent” or “Unaffiliated” in order to avoid allegiance to any one political party. That is their right and privilege while living in a free nation. According to Connecticut’s election laws, it is perfectly legal for any candidate to be endorsed by a third party, including the Independent Party. This kind of endorsement places a candidate on the ballot more than once. That privilege was almost upended in the 2013 legislative session ending on June 4 when Senator Don Williams proposed Bill #1146 to eliminate third party endorsements of Republican/Democrat candidates unless they are also a member of the third party which endorses that candidate.
Bill #1146 was implemented by Senator Williams who also serves as the Senate Pro Tempore; This position allows him immense power to affect a bill’s path. The bill made it through committee and was tabled only after the GOP threatened a filibuster to stop its momentum, happening during the last days of the session. Interestingly, Bill #1146 met with resistance through alarmed testimony from multiple sources: the ACLU, the Independent Party, and even the Senator’s favorite, The Working Families Party.
Coincidentally, Senator Williams’s 2012 Republican challenger, Ms. White, was cross-endorsed in that election, having received an endorsement from both the Republican and the Independent Parties. Now you have to ask: is it hypocrisy or arrogance driving the Senator’s proposal to eliminate third party endorsements, since Senator Williams always enjoys a second spot on the ballot with The Working Families Party endorsement?
This is not how our Founding Fathers wished us to carry on their legacy. They expected us to uphold the most valuable of our rights, those of a free election process. This is an assault on that freedom and it is perpetrated by one who freely benefits from the very privilege he is deliberately targeting.
Apparently, it isn’t enough to win an election: it’s becoming an obsession to destroy an enemy or, in this case, an entire class of voters. While Nutmeggers remain enslaved by a one-party domination, there is no guarantee this bill will not reemerge or be hidden in an “implementer bill” in a future session. It will take all voters registered in all parties to be on the lookout for such shenanigans. Until we do that together, we deserve the government we elect for ourselves.
Rita Conrad, Pomfret
Well done, Rita.