With about 30 percent of eligible voters unregistered, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is asking the General Assembly to enable people to automatically register as Connecticut voters when they do business with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The concept is being promoted nationally by the Brennan Center for Justice as the next step in a movement to provide the same ease in voter registration that is found in modern commerce – in other words, something that can be done quickly, automatically and, preferably, online.
California and Oregon adopted similar laws last year, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie raised fraud concerns – an issue frequently raised by Republicans – in vetoing a broader voter reform bill whose provisions included automatic registration. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have promoted the concept, Clinton in a campaign speech in which she accused the GOP of voter suppression and Sanders by sponsoring legislation.
Automatic registration legislation is pending this year in more than a dozen states.