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Guest Editorial: Not registered? You can still vote today

By Alex Knopp and Alexander Taubes

NORWALK, Conn – Today is the first Election Day in Connecticut history on which voters are able both to register to vote and then to cast their ballots. Norwalk residents who are not registered to vote or who have moved to Norwalk since they last registered can go to the Community Room in City Hall today to register and vote at the same time.

Norwalk residents may be puzzling over this significant change in election law because the message has not been clearly communicated by the media. For example, The Hour on Tuesday, Oct. 29, carried the headline: “Tuesday deadline to register to vote —unless voters choose Election Day Registration.” Even if citizens read the entire headline, they still may be confused about what that “deadline” really meant.

At a time when many states are making it harder for their citizens to vote, Connecticut has made steady progress expanding voting opportunity. Our state recently joined 12 others (plus the District of Columbia) to remove a main obstacle to voting by allowing registration on Election Day.

Hopefully, in future elections, our state will join the vast majority of them in allowing voters to register at all local polling places, rather than only at a central location at City Hall on Election Day.

To both register and vote today, you will need to bring to City Hall proof of residence and identity. If you have a current and valid photo ID that shows your name and Connecticut address, that’s all you need. Otherwise, you could bring proof of residence (such as a copy of a current utility bill, tuition bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, checkbook, lease, or any government document that shows your name and current address) together with proof of identity (even an ID that does not have your address, like a college student ID or U.S. passport, or a credit card or college registration statement).

You will also have to declare under oath that you haven’t previously voted in the election.

Few elections have as much impact on our quality of life as municipal elections, but it is also sadly the case that local elections are notorious for low voter turnout. The good news this year is that, even on this Election Day, you can still register at City Hall and then vote. Please take advantage of this important new opportunity.

Alex Knopp is the former Mayor of Norwalk. Alexander Taubes is a student in Mr. Knopp’s Legislative Advocacy class at Yale Law School.

 

Comments

15 responses to “Guest Editorial: Not registered? You can still vote today”

  1. Diane C2

    Why on earth would someone have to register to vote ON Election Day? Did they forget that Election Day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November? Been that way for, let’s see now, ever! (actually, since 1845).

  2. Daisy

    Diane, I don’t think you and agree about much – but this is one of those times. Not unlike the parents who suddenly decide after having these children for 5 years, that – oh, oops school starts today, guess I have to register them!

  3. M Allen

    They would have to register today because when the “get out the vote” van pulls up and entices them to go vote, they can now do so.

  4. D Maggs

    @M Allen. Spot on! I wonder what these disingenuous dirtballs offer the sheep as they are led in and told who to vote for? Coffee and a donut? This is ANYTHING but about making voting easier. Somehow Someway The United States has held elections since 1788… when there were no cars, trains, phones or radio ads. It really goes shows how desperate certain parties are to get votes.

  5. M Allen

    Well, in a perfect world, the concept of “day of” registration isn’t bad. But its not a perfect world and the history of the days of the Ward Boss isn’t that far behind us. But at least “day of” registration requires real proof of identity. Its way more secure than normal voting. At least there’s that.

  6. John Frank sr

    We don’t live in a perfect world. A lot of eligible voters never bothered to register, convinced their vote wouldn’t make any difference. To some extent, that attitude is changing. Making it easier to register, at polling places, would eliminate having to take time off on two separate days. You ever tried getting a few hours off from a landscaping job, to go register ?

  7. Diane C2

    I like to give full consideration to all sides of issues, but I’m sorry Mr. Frank, this particular issue would be very hard to sway my opinion on. For instance, workers who can’t get to city hall at all during the hundreds of weekdays leading up to the election can still register via mail, plus, the registrars have extended hours to 8pm at least one night the week before… see note below from city web:

    IN PERSON: The last day to register to voter in person at the Registrar’s Office, Room 122, City Hall is Tuesday, October 29th, 2013. The office will be open until 8:00 P.M. that evening.

    BY MAIL: The last day to register by mail, or by hand-delivery to the DMV, or voter registration agency, is Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

  8. Oldtimer

    Diane
    We usually are pretty close to the same side on a lot of issues, but, in this case, you have no experience with having only very limited English, or being totally unable to read. You are spot on, as long as we are talking about people who are literate in English, like us, but we cannot ignore those who are not that fortunate.

  9. M Allen

    OT – wouldn’t that be why the SNCC and other community organizations held voter registration drives? Went door to door?

  10. EastNorwalkChick

    We should be encouraging more citizens to vote and if this, along with voter registration drives, does the trick, then we should be celebrating it, not looking like it’s the worse thing in the world for us to do.
    .
    Any one know how voter turnout is? Mark/Nancy? Drove by Nathan Hale around 12:00 today, parking lot was filled…Marvin has been steady all day.

  11. Diane C2

    @East Norwalk – judging by my rounds on the food drive, voter turnout looks higher than usual for municipal year.
    Also, I agree that we should do all we can to encourage folks to vote, but not at the expense of control and fraud prevention.

    @Oldtimer – I think you need to read English to become US citizen, so if someone can’t read English, how is it they can register to vote? Plus, if someone is illiterate, does that mean we have forms and translators in every possible language?

  12. EastNorwalkChick

    @Diane- I had thought that too, had a good haul of food for the drive @9:30am, not much at 12:00, will go back at 2:30-3:00pm. 🙂

  13. D Maggs

    @John Frank & Old Timer.. You ever take time off to go register a car? Or take time off to go pull a permit? Or take time off to have a route canal? Take time off to go to your kids school play? We all do. It’s called life. Somehow, someway we all figure it out. It’s that sort of weak attitude that permeates and makes excuses for everyone and everything. Plain and simple “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” And that whole “Oh I can’t __ cause I have a job….” thing is weak. Heck! With that sort of approach I don’t know how I made it to work after voting today!?!? I shoulda put in for the day off. Stop making for excuses for people who aren’t interested in voting, and yes maybe they feel disengaged, and for certain parties who are trying to entice people with a free ride and cup of Joe for their vote.

  14. Ryan

    Three cheers for D Maggs! Finally a voice of accountability. You wanna vote? Register!

  15. Oldtimer

    From our point of view, where we have a certain faith in our government, and the benefit of at least enough education to be literate in at least one language, registering to vote is a no-brainer. From some other points of view any dealing with the government, including registering to vote, is a frightening prospect. Some manage to face their fears and register, many do not. Trying to help these people is better than criticizing them for not doing what we have always taken for granted.

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