Connecticut announced this week that it will become the fifth state in the U.S. to automatically register its citizens to vote. And it’s going to do so in an innovative way. While Oregon, California, West Virginia and Vermont have each passed laws through their state legislatures enacting automatic voter registration, the process in Connecticut was initiated by state agencies. The office of Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill (D) signed an administrative agreement with the state Department of Motor Vehicles to automatically register eligible voters by August 2018. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires states to give eligible voters the opportunity to register to vote when they renew their driver’s license or state identification card, or when they acquire a new one, at the DMV. Connecticut says it will transition to a system where eligible voters are registered automatically when they interact with the DMV. The state says up to 400,000 new voters could be registered through this process once the two agencies hammer out the details.
“It just makes sense that people shouldn’t have to go to two different places to do a state service. If you’re 18 and a citizen, it’s your right to vote,” Merrill told The Huffington Post Tuesday. “This makes interacting with the state government easier, for everyone.”
A memorandum of understanding between Merrill’s office and the DMV notes that the program may need funding from the state legislature. In other words, the program isn’t entirely circumventing Connecticut’s General Assembly, where Democrats control both chambers. An automatic registration bill failed to pass out of the legislature in the latest session.
Full Article: This State Says It Can Automatically Register Voters Without Legislative Approval.