National Voter Registration Day: what you need to know

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This May 26, 2020 file photo shows an Official Democratic General Primary mail-in ballot and secrecy envelope, for the Pennsylvania primary in Pittsburgh. Philadelphia’s top elections official is warning of electoral chaos in the presidential battleground state if lawmakers there do not remove a provision in Pennsylvania law that, under a days-old court decision, requires counties to throw out mail-in ballots returned without secrecy envelopes. Photo by Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo.

Tomorrow is National Voter Registration Day and with that comes a big push for voter registration. But when did this holiday originate and how many voters have been registered since the creation of this day?  

National Voter Registration Day was first celebrated on Sept. 25, 2012 and since its founding, nearly three million people have registered to vote, according to nationalvoterregistrationday.org. In 2012, around 153 million Americans were registered to vote while in 2016, there were around over 157 million voters registered, according to the National Census Bureau.  

According to that same study, around 49% of 18 to 24-year-olds were registered to vote in 2018 which was down six percentage points from 2016. The age group with the highest percentage of registered voters in 2018 was 65 to 74-year-olds at almost 75%. In Connecticut, around 68% of  

residents are registered to vote compared to 61.5% of voters nationwide, according to Tufts University.  

One reason why voter registration among younger votes is lower than their older counterparts is pre-registration laws across the country. According to a study conducted by the Midwest Political Science Association, voter pre-registration leads to an increase in youth voter turnout. Another reason why youth voter registration is lower is because of registration barriers. According to the American Bar Association, states like Mississippi require voters to submit proof of citizenship in order to register to vote.  

One way states are increasing youth voter registration is by changing the way they register voters. In 2016, Oregon passed a law in which any person who obtains or renews their driver’s license is automatically registered to vote. Youth voter registration went up seven percentage points in 2016 from 2012 as a result, according to a report from allianceforyouthaction.org.  

In order to be able to register to vote in Connecticut, you must be at least 17 years and be turning 18 by election day, be a citizen of the United States living in Connecticut and have completed parole if you were previously convicted with a felony.  

To register to vote online, go to voterregisration.ct.gov and enter your information. If you possess a driver’s license, enter your DMV ID number on the form along with your personal information. If you do not have a driver’s license, you can still register to vote. Unlike the primaries, you do not have to register with a particular political party in order to be a registered voter in Connecticut. 

UConn has made a website informing students about how to register to vote and the important deadlines for registering. The deadline to register to vote by mail in Connecticut is Oct. 27. If you plan to vote in person on Election Day, you can register to vote the day of the election. Election Day will be held on Nov. 3 and polling locations will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. To look up your polling location, visit your town’s registrar of voters website for more information. 

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