One month before the upcoming elections, the New Haven Registrar of Voters expects to see a considerable increase in both the current registered voter count as well as one of the highest historic voter turnouts.
In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Election Day, the secretary of the state of Connecticut has had to shoulder the bulk of the effort to reach out and notify its state residents to register, as the city registrar, the agency that typically has those responsibilities, has been operating at high capacity with the amount of material received thus far, said Delores Knight, New Haven’s Republican Registrar. According to the registered voter system, the city registrar received five Department of Motor Vehicles-referred applications, 442 online applications and 517 mailed-in applications on Oct. 3 alone, Knight added.
Still, in an effort to increase voter turnout, the city’s elected officials and the University Registrar are encouraging residents and Yale students to register before the Nov. 1 deadline. They can do so in-person, online, via mail or at the DMV, Knight said, adding that proof of identification and Connecticut residency, such as a driver’s license, are required.
City officials and student political organizations are reaching out to their respective audiences through visiting community social hubs and holding voter registration drives in an effort to boost citizen participation in the ongoing political discourse.
Voter Registrar of the Yale College Democrats Nick Girard ’19 said millennials, who comprise the largest voting bloc, are instrumental in shaping the national political landscape. Last month, the Yale College Democrat collaborated with organizations across the political spectrum in a voter registration drive, which resulted in the successful application of around 300 students.
“Though our organization supports Secretary Clinton, our voter registration efforts are nonpartisan,” Girard wrote in an email to the News. “We want to see more college students turn out and vote, to exercise their right that so many have fought to earn and protect. We cannot sit out an election like this where every election, from president to school board, will decide in narrow elections by us here and now.”
With the deadline to register in one month, students and residents should register before the deadline to avoid long lines on Election Day, said Shannel Evans, the Democratic registrar.
“Election Day registration is originally designed for those who have newly obtained citizenship or residency within the few days between the deadline to register and the election day,” Evans added.
Ward 22 Alder Jeanette Morrison also underlined the importance to include all citizens into the election process. She echoed Girard’s sentiment by emphasizing that the right to vote, essential to being a US citizen, should never be taken for granted.
Morrison said she will work closely with the Ward 22 co-chair on the Democratic Town Committee Gabrielle Diaz ’18, who will conduct visits to the five senior buildings located within her ward. Their initiative will focus on updating voting registration and distributing absentee ballots.
“Voter registration is always a number one priority,” Morrison said.
As of Oct. 3, 88,177 New Haven residents have registered to vote, with 60,192 identifying as Democrats and 3,657 identifying as Republicans.