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Election Day Registration Enables Nearly 2,000 To Vote

November 18, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. - This month's municipal elections in Connecticut marked the first time voters there could register on election day, and local advocates and election officials say the process worked well. Secretary of State Denise Merrill was expecting it would mostly be younger residents showing up for same-day registration, but she said the new option attracted voters of all ages.

"This is the first election it's in effect and it did very well; we had no problems, and we think about between 1500 and 2000 people took advantage of it."

Merrill said election-day registration was particularly popular in New Haven, and most importantly, she said, it gave many people a chance to vote who otherwise would have been left out.

According to Judy Dolphin, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut and the LWVCT Education Fund, her group was very active getting the word out about election day registration. And their advice remains the same next time around: don't wait if you can avoid it.

"By the time you get to a presidential election, people are trying to get in line and register; it's going to be challenging; so, what I am suggesting is that you can do yourself a Thanksgiving favor and register to vote now."

Secretary Merrill noted that some races on Nov. 5 were decided by only handfuls of voters, and this change increased access to the voting booth, which was their main goal.

"In a lot of cases, they were people who would not have been able to vote otherwise; perhaps they thought they were registered and their registration didn't show up on the list, or whatever, and so we were able to let them vote."

Judy Dolphin says those unsure of their current registration status can get the scoop with the push of a button at the League of Women Voters website.

"You can punch that in and you verify whether you're registered, whether you are registered at the right residence, so it's an extremely user-friendly supportive service for everyone in the state," Dolphin declared.

More information is at LWVCT.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT