VRM in the States: Connecticut
Connecticut approved automatic voter registration administratively in May 2016 and began implementation in August. When eligible citizens interact with the DMV, their information is transferred electronically to election officials, who register all those who do not opt out of registration at the DMV. This built on legislative efforts to pass automatic registration in the state. On March 7, the Brennan Center submitted oral and written testimony before the Joint Committee on Government Administration and Elections in support of the bill. Learn more about automatic registration here.
This effort is part of a trend of state governments advancing automatic registration. In March 2015, Oregon became the first state to pass a law to automatically register eligible citizens when they interact with the DMV. California, Vermont, West Virginia, and Alaska all followed, authorizing automatic registration between 2015 and 2016.
Prior Advances in Voter Registration Modernization
This reform builds on Connecticut’s existing voter registration modernization efforts:
- Online Voter Registration: Connecticut launched online voter registration through the Secretary of State’s office in 2014. Eligible citizens with a state driver’s license or non-driver ID can use the system to register to vote and update their registration information.
- Election Day Registration: Connecticut implemented Election Day registration in 2013. For general elections, voters can register in person at certain designated locations on Election Day.
- Portability: Registered voters who move to a new town within the state without updating their registration can, on Election Day, re-register at a designated location and then cast a regular ballot at their new polling place. Registered voters who move within the same town can affirm their new address at their polling place and cast a regular ballot.
- Electronic Pollbooks: Connecticut began implementing electronic pollbooks in 2015.
Gains from Voter Registration Modernization in Connecticut
The steps Connecticut has taken thus far have yielded increases in voter registration, and the state expects financial benefits. For example:
- During a March 2015 interview with Brennan Center staff, Connecticut election officials reported they expect to save money from online voter registration by printing fewer paper application forms and hiring fewer personnel to process applications.
- Connecticut implemented online registration at a cost of approximately $330,000.
- In the first two months of online voter registration, the Secretary of State’s office received 24,300 new voter registration applications and 4,500 updates to existing registrations.