It can’t get much easier than registering to vote and voting at the same time.
Common Cause in Connecticut, the voter-rights watchdog organization, will have volunteers in several communities, including Bridgeport, outside the one location in the city with election-day registration and same-day voting: Conference Room C in the City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street, where the Common Cause people will be on hand to survey people’s voting experiences.
“At a time when many states are making it harder for their citizens to vote, Connecticut has made progress toward more participation and have steadily held back the tide of voter suppression,” said Cheri Quickmire, executive director of Common Cause in Connecticut.
Any U.S. citizen residing in the state age 18 or older who is not yet registered to vote can take advantage of the new Election Day Registration, which takes effect for the first time for the municipal elections on Tuesday. Any eligible voter in Connecticut who wishes to cast a ballot but has not yet registered to vote may visit their Registrar of Voters office on Election Day, present the proper identifying documents, register to vote, and cast a ballot at their city or town hall. Connecticut became the 11th state to enact Election Day voter registration in 2012 when Governor Malloy signed into law Public Act 12-56 which was given final passage by the Connecticut General Assembly on May 5, 2012.
“The right to vote and access to elections is a paramount right and responsibility of our democracy,” Malloy said in a statement last week. “Same day voting helps to ensure that all citizens have a voice in their government. I am proud of the work we’ve done in Connecticut to bring our electoral process into the 21st century by using technology to make voter registration more efficient and easier and not impede participation in our electoral process – while some states are moving in the opposite direction.”
“We are very excited to implement this long overdue reform in 2013 that will make it easier for our busy voters in Connecticut to cast a ballot,” said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Connecticut’s top elections official. “Some states have had Election Day Registration in place for more than 40 years, and we have seen evidence that states allowing this practice see voter turnout percentages of up to 10% higher than states that do not. I have been working closely with Registrars of Voters across Connecticut to make sure everyone is ready to accommodate those voters who for whatever reason have not yet registered prior to Election Day. We want to give every eligible voter in Connecticut a real chance to make their voice heard on the crucial budget, educational, environmental and economic issues facing many towns in Connecticut this fall.”
The law enacting Election Day Registration permits anyone to register and vote in person on Election Day if he or she meets the eligibility requirements for voting in this state and is either: (1) not already a registered voter or (2) is registered in one municipality but wants to change his or her registration because he or she currently resides in another municipality. By law, a person is eligible to register and vote if he or she is (1) a U. S. citizen, (2) age 18 or older, and (3) a bona fide resident of the municipality in which he or she applies to register to vote. Those wishing to register and vote on Election Day must appear in person at the designated location at town or city hall and declare under oath that they have not previously voted in the election. They must complete the application for voter registration and provide documents to prove their identity and residence.
Once the new voter is properly registered, the Registrars of voters must provide a special Election Day Registration (EDR) ballot and envelope to the voter and record its issuance to that particular voter. The voter must (1) declare under oath that he or she did not previously vote in the election and (2) sign an affirmation that is printed on the back of the security envelope. The new voter must secretly mark the ballot in the presence of the registrars or their designees, place it in the EDR envelope, and deposit the envelope in a secured EDR ballot box.
Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday November 5, 2013 for municipal elections in the vast majority of Connecticut cities and towns. Secretary Merrill encourages voters to go online at www.sots.ct.gov to find out more information about Election Day Registration.