Gov. Dannel Malloy and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced on Monday a call for legislation that would make it easier for Connecticut residents to register to vote and submit absentee ballots, according to the Connecticut Mirror.
The proposed legislation would allow voter registration on Election Day, online voter registration and increased penalties for those found guilty of blocking or impeding voter access.
“In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we have a tremendous opportunity this year to expand access to the ballot box to the many citizens of our state who face barriers to voting because their busy working lives make it difficult to register or appear at their polling place on Election Day," Merrill said in a statement released by Gov. Malloy's office on Monday. "Many states have already made these reforms and by taking these important steps forward we can include a younger generation of voters and expand participation in our democracy."
According to the Mirror, almost one-third of eligible voters in the state are not registered, a statistic that was of concern to Merrill when she spoke with Patch in October about . “That’s a very high number and we don’t really talk about it," she said. "That’s the first thing that’s very striking.”
State Republican Chairman Jerry Labriola told that Mirror that his party would continue to fight Election Day voter registration because it wouldn't leave an opportunity for officials to verify that the registration is indeed valid.