The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)
Voters’ status spark concern
Residents receive letters questioning registration eligibility for election
TORRINGTON — Voters are calling City Hall in likely record numbers after getting a letter that suggests they may not be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 general election.
“I’m getting tons of calls from people getting stuff in the mail,” said Nan Gallicchio, a clerk for the registrar of voters.
The letter is from a company called Be Registered LLC, with an address for a post office box in Atlanta.
In response to questions from the secretary of the state, attorneys for the company wrote in an email seeking guidance to that office that the letter would be sent by a “bipartisan group that is seeking to encourage millions of potential voters to be eligible to vote in the upcoming elections.”
“BeRegistered intends to mail to prospective voters a voter registration card along with instructions and a reply envelope that will encourage the potential voter to register online (where available) or by mail. BeRegistered will not be conducting a ‘voter registration drive’ and will not collect any completed registration forms; rather, its only activity will be in alerting the potential voter of the opportunity and need to register and to provide them with access to the online portal or mail-in form to do so,” the email said.
The letter, however is causing doubt about whether the recipients are indeed eligible to vote.
“In the 22 years I’ve worked here, I have never had so many concerned about whether they are registered,” Gallicchio said.
The mailing contains a voter registration card and an envelope addressed to the Secretary of the State’s office in Hartford. Agency spokesman Gabe Rosenberg said their
office is receiving completed cards.
“We are sending them to local registrars.” he said.
The corporation is represented by the law firm, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, in Lexington, Ky.
The Georgia Corporations Division website does not list BeRegistered LLC as a business, though there is a yearly registration requirement for that state. They are also not listed in state records in Kentucky.
The law firm did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
“This is disturbing to voters,” Gallicchio said. She has heard from residents who told her “I’ve been a voter for 50 years and now I’m told that in not registered.”
A post on the website www.politicalforum.com also took issue with the letter the commenter received. “I live in Connecticut not in Georgia so why am a being mailed a vote reg application form that I did not ask for, do not need , and do not want, and from an unknown unidentified source?” the post reads. “I have been a registered voter for 47 years or more.”
Gallicchio thinks the direct mail company may be using an old list of registered voters. She said the company should “at least get a current list.”
With so much interest in the midterm elections, which has all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives open, Gallicchio said the office is getting a lot of new registrations.
The office is preparing for election day by hiring extra staff, Gallicchio said. In the 2016 presidential contest, so may voters waited until the last minute to register, there were 300 people in line on election day.
“They were down the hall and out the door. We had to get the police to help,” Gallicchio said.
For the first time, the office will hire an extra clerk who will be stationed outside the registrars’ office to streamline the wait, Gallicchio noted.“It should make the the process go more smoothly.”
Residents who wait until election day to register might have to stand in line for two hours, Gallicchio
In September, 181 residents registered, Gallicchio said. She expects quite a few more will be submitted in the next 33 days as the election nears.
Voters should know they don’t have to be a member of a specific political party to vote in the general election. “I’m surprised so many think that,” Gallicchio said.
While Connecticut allows voters to register on the day of the election, the registrars instead urge voters to do so right away. The office suggests voters register online at voterregistration.ct.gov/ OLVR/welcome.do.
Voter registration cards can also be mailed to: Registrar of Voters, City Hall, 2nd floor, 140 Main St., Torrington, 06790.
The Secretary of the State’s office also has tools available to check whether a person is registered to vote. The online address is: myvote.ct.gov. The site will also show residents at which polling place they can vote.
Residents may also call the Torrington Registrar of Voters to check on their voting status, at 860-4892227