Feds settle dispute over voter registration


HARTFORD, Conn. – The U.S. Justice Department settled its dispute with Connecticut officials Friday claiming the state has done enough to resolve concerns that it wasn’t complying with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

An investigation found that when Connecticut residents were applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses they were not being given applications for voter registration. The investigation also found that when an address was changed at the Department of Motor Vehicles there was no consistent form of communication about the address change with local registrar of voters.

Under the terms of the settlement, Connecticut has agreed to integrate voter registration as part licensing process at the DMV.
Connecticut will also ensure that change of address information submitted for driver’s license purposes will be used to update voters’ address information unless the voter declines to update her voter registration, according to a press release from the Justice Department.

Read the full story at CTNewsJunkie.com


  1. Stuart Wells

    Among Registrar’s concerns are:
    1. We will often be getting second-hand information (a form filled out by DMV employee for the new voter) but are not allowed to see and compare this with what the new voter actually filled out at the DMV.
    2. People lie to the DMV more than to Registrars. They do this to try to save on insurance costs, car taxes, beach stickers, and for a preferred school district for their kids. It may be merely using their business address rather than their home address for convenience.
    3. Many young adults have one address for DMV (often family home) and another for voting (college address, for example). We can explain this to them. Will the DMV know, or care? This could lead to a lot of additional paperwork and postage costs.
    However, under the current system of rules, we get a weekly list of driver’s changes of residence. We check to see if the person is a registered voter. If the change is from one part of Norwalk to another part of Norwalk, we update the voting list accordingly. BUT, if DMV tells us that a person moved from Norwalk to another town, we automatically take them off the voting list in Norwalk. But their new town of residence doesn’t put them on the voting list unless it receives a new voter registration card. The new system “should” get them registered to vote in their new town. That is one of the major reasons for the new system. (I say “should” because, of course, we won’t know how well its going to work yet — and, well, a lot depends on the DMV and whether it’s employees will see this as an actual part of their jobs.)
    Also, DMV employees have a union, and this is extra work — will they want extra pay? Will DMV be adding staff? Where will that money come from in our cash-strapped state?
    This is supposed to yield an increase in voter registration. That will mean more costs for the Registrars’ office too (for postage and paperwork), and more equipment, like more voting booths (whether or not there is any increase in votes cast). Norwalk pays for that. The only office whose costs won’t rise is the Secretary of the State’s. That’s probably why they issued a press release in May saying it would save money based on another state’s experience with a similar change — which didn’t exactly hold up to examination.
    Stuart Wells, Norwalk Registrar of Voters

  2. EveT

    Excellent info from @Stuart Wells. Thanks for explaining the complications of this seemingly simple function.
    Bottom line, if all citizens would register and vote, our democracy would work better.

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