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CT Poised to Increase Voter Access in New England

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May 8, 2012

HARTFORD, Conn. - With the stroke of Governor Dannel Malloy's pen, Connecticut is expected soon to be joining Maine, New Hampshire and six other states in allowing Election Day voter registration.

Gone will be the arbitrary deadline, according to Cheryl Dunson, president of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut. Instead of having to register seven days before the election, the measure approved by state lawmakers allows for same-day registration.

Dunson says the result will be increased access to the voting booth.

"We're in a very different kind of society nowadays, where people are very mobile. People don't focus on the elections until the very day or the day before, and this will give them the ability to vote."

Dunson says it's not just individual voters who will benefit. She says Connecticut suffers from low voter turnout, and results from other states show that Election Day registration can help cure that problem.

"States that have Election Day registration have seen 10 percent or more increase in voter turnout, so we'll have a much more vibrant democracy by enabling people to register and vote on the same day."

The change will not happen in time for this year's presidential election, but Dunson says it should be in place for the November 2013 elections.

Opponents are concerned the measure could open the door to voter fraud. Dunson says the League doesn't take fraud lightly, but she says there are no documented cases of voter impersonation in Connecticut, and there are serious penalties in the law, including prison for violators.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT