FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Under a new streamlined motor-voter system unveiled Tuesday, in the near future eligible residents who visit the Department of Motor Vehicles for a new driver's license or identification card will automatically be registered to vote.
According to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and the DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra, Connecticut will be the first state in the nation to introduce automatic voter registration through this type of agreement.
"This is a monumental event enhancing voting rights and opportunity in Connecticut, and a continuation of our rigorous efforts to bring new voters onto the rolls," said Merrill. "This agreement also puts Connecticut alongside a vanguard of states that are leading the nation in the movement to register every eligible citizen. This is a proud day for our state, and I wish to thank Commissioner Bzdyra and his staff for their commitment.”
For the past few months, both offices have been discussing measures to improve efforts under the National Voter Registration Act, also called the motor-voter law. The 1993 federal act encourages voter registration at DMV offices when eligible citizens seek a driver's license or state-issued ID card. Discussions have focused on the need for broader outreach and efficiency in helping people become voters. The centerpiece is an innovative new system that would automatically process the voter registration.
Officials estimate it will take two years to develop the system. Until then, they plan to work on short-term actions, including a unified application for licensing and voter registration at DMV offices while the broader automated system is built.
“We are very pleased with this agreement knowing that it will help bring more voters on the rolls in Connecticut. We are eager to work with Secretary of the State Merrill and her team on making us a state at the forefront helping every eligible citizen register to vote,” said Bzdyra.
In addition to the new system, the agreement between the two offices includes streamlined reporting by the DMV to municipalities of the names of newly registered voters, as well as those making name or address changes.
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