New Haven Considers Changes to Voter Registration, Election Day Staffing

New Haven struggled with long lines for Election Day voter registration in 2014, 2016 and 2018

“It was really a crisis it was a voting crisis,” Timothy White said.

Nearly four months after what he would call a November nightmare, Yale student Timothy White can still see the long lines that plagued New Haven City Hall on Election Day.

“Students, friends and people posting on Facebook about how insane it was, lines reaching three to four hours long,” White said.

“A lot of people were in that line because their absentee ballots were not received from other states,” White said.

While White was able to get his vote in, dozens of other voters, including many Yale students, who waited to register to vote on Election Day didn’t.

With only an hour and a half left until polls close, dozens of people are still waiting to register to vote in the same-day registration lines in New Haven.

“It’s really clear to me that we need to have more people here for election day registration,” Mayor Toni Harp said.

This is not the first time the Elm City has had this issue - they had long lines for same-day registration in 2014 and 2016.

Harp announced on Thursday some additional funding to the registrar in her proposed 2020 fiscal budget, suggesting more staffing for the next Election Day.

Harp also suggested a push for additional locations for students to register to vote including on campuses.

"When your city is like ours that has so many young people who are new to our community that want to be able to register and vote on that day then maybe having more than one place that they can do that is a real solution,” Harp said.

White was back at City Hall Thursday night to tell alders what improvements he’d like to see especially come November 2020.

“I urge the registrar’s office to make sure that there are more people on site on that day to register people,” White said.

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