More than 44 percent of voter registrations in Connecticut happened in October alone.
Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz announced Monday that the state had registered this unprecedented number of voters in the month before Election Day. She said 134,502 residents registered to vote in the month of October, bringing this year’s total to over 300,827. Over one-third of the new registered voters were between the ages of 18 and 29.
“The incredible interest in this year’s election is reflected in the voter registration numbers,” said Bysiewicz, also the state’s chief elections official, in a statement. “It is truly inspiring to see so many 18-year-olds and 80-year-olds registering to vote for the first time.”
New Haven’s Republican Registrar of Voters Rae Tramontano, who, along with Democratic counterpart Sharon Ferrucci, handled the city’s voter registrations, said unprecedented participation is a testament to the nature of this campaign season.
“It is a historical election,” she said. “People want to get involved.”
Newly registered voters are not going unnoticed by campaigns. In the heavily contested 4th district, Democratic hopeful Jim Himes and incumbent Rep. Chris Shays, a Republican, have tried to reach out to the over 63,000 new voters in their district.
Shays said voter registration is so high because people are inspired by the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama.
In an interview with the News last week, Himes agreed, saying that newly registered Obama supporters have also been enthusiastic down ticket.
“Newly registered Obama voters have been a source of energy for our campaign,” he said.
According to figures released by the Secretary of the State’s Office, voters registering this year affiliated with the Democratic Party over the Republican Party by a ratio of over three to one. The largest group of new voters, 138,088 strong, registered without party affiliation.
Bysiewicz said she predicts voter turnout to hit 90 percent, well in excess of participation in the 2004 and 2000 presidential elections. On Monday, her office announced the steps it has taken to ensure a smooth election including recruiting more poll workers, educating voters and deploying rapid response teams to deal with issues as they arise.