Decision 2020

CT Sees Record-Breaking Voter Registration With Less Than 3 Weeks Until Election

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There are just 13 days left to register to vote in person or online. The pandemic has made the process of doing so in-person more time consuming.

“A lot of locations are only going to be able to do one at a time," explained South Windsor Registrar of Voters Sue Larsen.

Waterbury’s Registrar of Voters reports receiving 50 to 70 new registrations daily, which is on par with previous presidential elections. However, more are coming through online, instead of in person.

“With the coronavirus now we’re all looking for virtual ways of doing things," Waterbury Registrar of Voters Tim De Carlo said.

2016’s record-breaking registration of 2.1 million people has already been topped. Wednesday, there are 2.2 million people registered to vote in Connecticut.

“We always get a lot in the last couple of weeks, particularly in a presidential election, so this is a real all-time high," said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.

Same day registration, which typically takes place at city or town hall and not at a polling place, is still an option.

Long registration lines in places like New Haven frustrated those unable to cast their ballot in 2016 and 2018 because they were not in a voting line by the deadline. During a special session this summer, lawmakers agreed to extend voting to those who were in line to register by the 8 p.m. deadline.

“That will help tremendously because it means that if you’re in line by eight o’clock you will be able to vote, register in vote. That was the problem last time is that even if people were in line by eight o’clock they were sent home if they didn’t get through the line in time and that was terribly unfair," Merrill said.

“Election Day registration you show up, and you fill out a voter registration card, you’re put in the centralized voter registration system...then you go and you vote on that ballot, you put in in an envelope, you sign it, and you put it in the bin itself, and then we bring it upstairs and we count it," De Carlo said.

Also taking the pressure off the polling places this election is the popularity of absentee ballots.

You must follow a certain set of steps to ensure that your absentee ballot will be counted.

“We have something like 560,000 absentee ballots that have been requested. That’s a big number. That’s 25% of the entire voting population," Merrill said.

Larsen, who is president of the Connecticut Registrars of Voters, urges patience to those registering on November 3.

“If you’re planning on waiting until the last minute my suggestion is you’re going to be waiting quite a long time," Larsen said.

There are a few exceptions to the October 27 deadline. If you turn 18 or move to a different town after the 27, or are in the military, you can still register to vote in person before Election Day.

You can check if you're already registered to vote on the Secretary of the State's website.

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