State sees high voter reg­is­tra­tion

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - KICKOFF - By Ana Rade­lat

Fol­low­ing a na­tional trend, voter reg­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues to soar in Con­necti­cut, es­pe­cially among young peo­ple, who tra­di­tion­ally have weak par­tic­i­pa­tion in elec­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the Con­necti­cut sec­re­tary of the state’s of­fice, from the 2016 election through the end of Septem­ber, 103,436 new vot­ers reg­is­tered as Democrats, com­pared with 53,371 who reg­is­tered as Repub­li­cans.

But many more Con­necti­cut res­i­dents — 168,090 — reg­is­tered as un­af­fil­i­ated.

Al­though voter reg­is­tra­tion in Con­necti­cut has surged for all age groups, the big­gest in­crease is among vot­ers ages 18 to 25.

In the last midterm cy­cle, as of Oct. 10, 2014, only 7,960 Con­necti­cut res­i­dents in that age bracket had reg­is­tered to vote. As of Oct.10 of this year, 51,659 young vot­ers had reg­is­tered.

“It’s tremen­dous,” said Con­necti­cut Sec­re­tary of the State Denise Mer­rill. “I feel like I’ve been wait­ing all my life for young peo­ple to turn out and now they have.”

More of those young peo­ple reg­is­tered as Democrats (16,797), than Repub­li­cans (6,596). But more than half — 28,566 — of those new young vot­ers reg­is­tered as un­af­fil­i­ated.

The in­crease in voter reg­is­tra­tion across the board is sig­nif­i­cant, an­a­lysts say. Since there’s no pres­i­den­tial con­test in a midterm election, the num­ber of those sign­ing up to vote in those cy­cles is usu­ally de­pressed. That trend has been bro­ken in Con­necti­cut and else­where across the na­tion.

Com­pared with the same pe­riod in the last mid-term election, new Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can voter reg­is­tra­tions in Con­necti­cut more than dou­bled — and un­af­fil­i­ated voter reg­is­tra­tion tripled.

“Just in Septem­ber, we had more than 20,000 reg­is­tra­tions,” said Mer­rill.

Voter reg­is­tra­tion in Con­necti­cut ends Oct. 30 and en­roll­ment usu­ally surges as that dead­line draws near. This year is no dif­fer­ent, with the pace of reg­is­tra­tions ac­cel­er­at­ing even more since the be­gin­ning of the month. Con­necti­cut also has Election Day reg­is­tra­tion for those who meet the el­i­gi­bil­ity re­quire­ments.

More than 5,600 new voter reg­is­tra­tions were pro­cessed in the first 10 days of the month, as the con­tro­versy over the con­fir­ma­tion of new Supreme Court Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh trans­fixed the na­tion and deep­ened its par­ti­san di­vide.

In those 10 days, 2,312 vot­ers reg­is­tered as Democrats, 1,202 reg­is­tered as Repub­li­cans and 2,153 as un­af­fil­i­ated.

Mer­rill at­trib­uted the in­crease of voter reg­is­tra­tions to sev­eral fac­tors. One is that Con­necti­cut res­i­dents can now sign up to vote when they are at the Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles and on­line.

An in­crease in so­cial me­dia cam­paigns aimed at reg­is­ter­ing vot­ers is also help­ing in­crease reg­is­tra­tions, Mer­rill said, as is in­creased politi­ciza­tion of the na­tion since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump won the White House.

“The 2016 election seems to have gal­va­nized vot­ers,” Mer­rill said.

Con­necti­cut is one of 19 states where Democrats are ahead of Repub­li­cans when it comes to ac­tive reg­is­tered vot­ers. As of Oct. 10, there were 780,313 ac­tive Demo­cratic vot­ers reg­is­tered in Con­necti­cut, com­pared with 457,813 ac­tive reg­is­tered Repub­li­cans.

The num­ber of un­af­fil­i­ated ac­tive vot­ers was 862,466.

Al­though reg­is­tered Democrats in Con­necti­cut out­num­ber reg­is­tered Repub­li­cans, Democrats in the state turn out to vote “at a slightly lower per­cent­age” than GOP vot­ers, Mer­rill said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.