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May 24, 2002
By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney
You asked how and where Connecticut citizens can register to vote.
Connecticut citizens who are at least age 17 and are not incarcerated or on probation for a felony conviction can register by mail or at the offices of town clerks and registrars of voters, at voter registration sessions conducted in any public place, at certain state agencies, at public libraries, at home if they are permanently disabled or an election official comes to their door, or where they work or go to school. Registrars of voters must approve qualified applicants, other than those who are mentally incompetent, who reside in their towns. Any approval of an application submitted by a 17-year-old takes effect when the applicant turns 18.
REGISTERING TO VOTE
In addition to meeting age, citizenship, residency, and competency requirements, everyone who registers to vote must state, under penalty of perjury, (1) his name, residential street address, date of birth, (2) whether he is a U.S. citizen, (3) whether he is prohibited from registering because of a criminal conviction, and (4) whether he was previously registered to vote. Applicants can choose to include a political party affiliation. Applicants, who register in person, must present their birth certificate, drivers' license, or Social Security card for inspection (CGS § 9-20). Naturalized citizens and people who have acquired citizenship in other ways must provide either their naturalization certificate or passport or a written statement, signed by an election official, that the person was previously registered to vote (CGS § 9-20a).
VOTER REGISTRATION SESSIONS
By law (CGS § 9-17), citizens interested in registering to vote may apply at any time. But to vote at an election or primary, they must register at least 14 days before Election Day or by noon on the last business day before a primary. Registrars of voters must hold these voter registration sessions as follows:
TABLE 1: MANDATORY VOTER REGISTRATION SESSIONS
14th day before a primary, but only in towns with populations greater than 25,000 people
Two hours—between 5pm and 9 pm
Saturday of the third week before a regular election
From 10am to 2pm
14th day before a regular election
From 9am to 8pm
Between January 1st and the end of school in each public high school, except in regional school districts where sessions are rotated.
Last week before a regular election for people who did not qualify to register at an earlier session.
From 9am to 12 noon
Registrars must publish the date, time, and place of each session, except school sessions, in a newspaper published or circulated in their town between five and 15 days before it is conducted (CGS § 9-16).
VOTER REGISTRATION AGENCIES
Voter registration information and materials are available at the Department of Social Services, Labor Department, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), State Library, and at the libraries of state colleges and universities (CGS § 9-19h). Public assistance offices, agencies that provide state-funded programs to people with disabilities, public libraries, and any other state offices designated by the secretary of the state serve as voter registration agencies. These agencies must distribute mail-in voter registration application forms, assist applicants who need help completing the form, accept completed forms and send them to the registrars of voters of the town where an applicant resides (CGS § 9-23n).
Department of Motor Vehicles
The DMV provides a voter registration application (copy attached) with drivers' license application and renewal forms. An applicant must provide his name; address; date of birth; citizenship; party enrollment, if any; and previous voting address, if any. The DMV must send completed applications to the registrars of voters of the town where each applicant resides (CGS § 9-19h).
REGISTERING AT WORK OR COLLEGE
If at least 25 people, who believe they are qualified to vote, complete a registration application at the same college or place of employment and submit it to a town clerk or registrar of voters, the clerk or registrar (or his deputy or assistant) must visit the college or place of employment and act on the applications, unless a session was held there within the prior 120 days (CGS § 9-19c).