CT Secretary of State: Early voter registration is the best way to avoid lines


A sample ballot from the Mansfield Municipal Election. The Connecticut Secretary of State is encouraging voters to register early to avoid long lines and other problems at the polls and avoid the experience of the 2008 election. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The Connecticut Secretary of State is encouraging voters to register early to avoid long lines and other problems at the polls and avoid the experience of the 2008 election.

“Voter registration deadlines are fast approaching and people are wisely taking advantage of every available way to register,” Secretary of State Denise Merrill said in a recent press release. “Same-day registration will be in effect on November 8, however, voters must realize that there could be very long lines on Election Day.”

In Storrs during the 2008 election many students from the University of Connecticut were turned away from the polls at Mansfield Town Hall after waiting for hours, as reported by The Daily Campus in 2008.

Some problems included students who thought they were registered, but in fact weren’t, students who did not change their address to their UConn address and students who improperly filled out the form.

These difficulties during the 2008 election were part of the reason Merrill pushed for same-day registration in 2012. Connecticut’s Governor Malloy signed a bill that would allow eligible citizens to register and vote the same day of the election.

Patrick Gallahue, communications director for the Secretary of State, said they are working extensively to encourage voters in Connecticut, especially college voters, to register early.

The deadline to register in-person, online and by mail is Nov. 1. According to a press release from the Secretary of State there are 2,089,383 registered voters as of Oct.19.

To be eligible to vote, one must be at least 18 years old, a US citizen, a resident of the town that you are applying to vote in and have completed confinement and parole if one has been convicted of a disfranchising felony, read the Secretary of State’s website.

If a student forgets to register and would like to take advantage of the same-day registration, they will have to provide a form of identification, and  proof residency according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Election Day registration is for those who have not registered or those who are registered in a different town but has moved from that town and have not completed an absentee ballot in their town.

“Students need to know they can’t do both at the same time, it’s either one [absentee ballot] or Election Day registration,” Gallahue said.

For out-of-state students, the same registration rules apply, and their driver’s licenses will only serve as proof of identification and will need to provide additional proof of their residency in the state.

The place for same day registration is different from the polling place and will open at 6 a.m. on Nov. 8 In order for a person to vote, they need to be in line at the polling place by 8 p.m.

For those who will need to do Election Day registration, the locations will be posted at the Secretary of State’s website.

As of today, there are no locations listed but Gallahue said they would be posted soon.

“The concern for election officials is the election day registration is going to have a lot of traffic. It should be an option of last resort,” Gallahue said.

As of Oct. 19, there are 347,046 active voters 18 to 29 years old in Connecticut. Active voters are the ones counted as registered voters and eliminate dead voters.

“We hope students take preparations,” Gallahue added.  “This is the first time Election Day registration will be in place for a Presidential election.”

Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.marulanda@uconn.edu.

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