EDR passes House and Senate

Yesterday, H.B. 5034 passed the Senate and is now heading to the Governor’s desk for his signature. The bill provides for Election Day Registration (EDR) and online voter registration. Since Governor Malloy proposed the bill and praised its passing, it will become law. Secretary of State Merrill also praised its passing.

CTVotersCount readers know that we are in favor of EDR and online registration. However, we did not support this bill because the EDR as proposed risks the rights of EDR voters, all voters, and is unlikely to achieve the same success as EDR in other states.<see our testimony for details>

According to a PEW report, other states have achieved 3% to 7% increased turnout with an increase in registration with 10% to 20% of voters registering by EDR (presumably once EDR is available many voters who would have registered earlier take advantages of the opportunity, as well as those who would not have registered earlier).

Despite such evidence from other states, Secretary Merrill attributes their higher than average turnout of 10% solely to  EDR. We doubt our less convenient method will match their increases of 3% to 7%:  <video>, press release:

Denise Merrill
Secretary of the State
Connecticut

For Immediate Release: For more information:
May 5, 2012 Av Harris: (860) 509-6255
Cell: (860) 463-5939
-Press Release-
Merrill: Final Passage of Election Day Registration, Online Voter Registration Moves Connecticut Elections into the 21st Century
Secretary of The State Looks forward to Enacting HB 5024 that Would Modernize Elections, Lead to Higher Voter Participation

Hartford: Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today lauded the final legislative passage of House Bill No. 5024 “An Act Concerning Voting Rights” – a measure proposed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy that once enacted will allow eligible Connecticut residents to register to vote and cast ballots on Election Day, and will also enable eligible Connecticut residents with a driver’s license to register to vote from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection. The Connecticut State Senate endorsed the bill today by a vote of 19-16. The measure was approved by the House of Representatives on April 30, 2012 by a vote of 83-59.

“This common sense yet long overdue reform is something we have tried to implement in Connecticut for years, and now we have made history by moving elections in our state into the 21st Century,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official. “This will make the right to vote much easier to exercise for the eligible voters of Connecticut and lead to increased voter participation. We have the technology to allow eligible voters to register online from any computer or mobile device, and we have the security in place to allow those late deciding, busy and mobile voters to register and cast ballots on Election Day. This will also make our voter lists more accurate. I commend both Representative Russ Morin and Senator Gayle Slossberg, the chairs of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, and leadership in both the Senate and House for seeing this bill through to passage this year. I also commend the leadership shown by Governor Malloy in proposing this legislation and I look forward to watching him sign it into law.”

Connecticut becomes the 11th state to enact Election Day Registration. Some states such as Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin have had Election Day Registration on the books since the 1970s. Studies have shown that voter turnout in states with Election Day Registration is on average 10% higher than national voter turnout figures. Once signed into law, Election Day Registration would only be available for November General Elections, not for primaries, starting in 2013. The new law will also create an interface between the existing Centralized Voter Registration System and the database housed at the state Department of Motor Vehicles that would verify the identity of a voter wishing to register online prior to approval by the local Registrar of Voters.

Av Harris
Director of Communications
Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill
(860) 509-6255 ofc
(860) 463-5939 cell

We hope we are wrong. We hope that Connecticut’s 339 registrars implement the bill effectively, fairly, safely, and uniformly. That no one is lulled into complacency by low EDR voting in 2013 for the municipal elections and that chaos does not await us in a future high interest election in 2014 or 2016.

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