Conn. registers to vote

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With just under three weeks left until the presidential election, Connecticut residents are more politically active than ever.

Figures released Thursday by the office of Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz show that the number of registered voters topped 2 million for the first time in state history.

Bysiewicz, in a press release, called it a “truly inspiring” occasion.

“Now that Election Day is upon us, more and more Connecticut residents are realizing it’s time to make a serious decision about the future of this country,” she wrote. “They clearly want to make their voices heard on November 4th.”

Over 210,000 residents have registered to vote since the beginning of this year, with nearly one quarter of them registering in the first half of October alone. That may not be the end of it: Voter registration forms are being accepted by mail until Oct. 21, and hand delivered until Oct. 28.

Campus political groups are excited by the news.

“These new voters will also re-energize our local elections,” Ben Shaffer ’10, president of the Yale College Democrats, said Thursday, “particularly as Connecticut enters the first election under the new public financing law that has made elections more competitive and more open all across the state.”

Last night, outside of campus dining halls, the Yale Dems registered 50 new voters, bringing their total to 145 this semester, according to the Dems’ Registrar of Voters Matthew Ellison ’10.

Yale College Republicans President Matt Klein ’09 said the increase in registered voters demonstrates the especially high level of involvement in the election this year. But, he said, the YCR have not engaged in formal voter registration drives.

“The odds of us encountering people who would vote Republican is kind of low,” he admitted.

Of newly registered voters, 90,855 were between the ages of 18 and 29. Most new young voters registered as unaffiliated with a party, but of those that did, four of five registered as a Democrat.

Looking forward to Election Day, Bysiewicz said that all indicators are pointing to a record turnout.

She said she expects a voter turnout of 90 percent at the polls Nov. 4, with a possibility of breaking the record of 93 percent turnout set in 1960 with the election of John F. Kennedy.

1,989,913 Connecticut residents registered in the 2004 elections. According to 2006 Census projections, there were 3,504,809 people living in Connecticut.

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