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.