Last week, Connecticut took an important step in making the right to vote accessible to more people by embarking on a statewide online voter registration system. This new system will make the first hurdle to casting a ballot — registration — that much easier to surmount. While registering for the first time is seen as a rite of passage by many, including 18-year-olds and new citizens, it can be a challenge for those who work or are away at school when town offices are open or who lack the means to get to town hall. This is especially true for those who live in Connecticut’s cities and larger towns. While there is a mail-in process, that has its pitfalls as well. Using the Internet also simplifies the process for people who simply want to make a change to their registration. Perhaps they want to align with a political party so they may participate in a primary. Or, maybe they just need to inform of a change of address.
The online process does not just involve filling out a form. Potential voters must have a driver’s license, learner’s permit or non-driver ID on file with the state motor vehicle department. They must also meet other eligibility requirements.
Online voter registration is not new. Arizona pioneered the paperless process in 2002. As of this month, 15 states offer online registration and four more have passed legislation but have yet to implement the process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).