As the presidential election approaches, city government and student political groups at Yale are pushing to register as much of New Haven’s unregistered population as possible.
Due to a lengthy registration process and an 8 p.m. voting deadline, voters are encouraged to register early, City spokesman Laurence Grotheer said. Both students and city officials have honed in on this issue, encouraging Elm City residents and fellow students to register in advance of Election Day.
Mayor Toni Harp held a press conference at City Hall last Tuesday to inform the public of Connecticut’s Nov. 1 early registration deadline. At the Tuesday conference, Harp sought to clarify which groups of people must register and how this process can be completed. Voters can register to vote in Connecticut on the state’s DMV website or at the Registrar of Voters at 200 Orange St., according to a summary of the meeting’s talking points.
City government’s information campaign is targeted chiefly at the Elm City’s large student population.
“Today I want to underscore for everyone who turned 18 since the last election, for everyone who moved since the last election and especially for students -— again, New Haven has thousands of them — that you must register to vote if you want the option to cast a ballot on Nov. 8,” the meeting summary reads.
Campus political groups have been doing their part to inform Yalies of the election’s timeline and to get students registered.
Michael Bogaty ’19, a member of the Yale College Democrats, said his organization has worked on several initiatives to increase student voter registration and garner support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton LAW ’73.
“We have elections captains who work on various aspects of registering people and getting out the vote,” Bogaty said. “This has included giving people from swing states information on absentee ballots, registering Yalies and informing them of their polling places before Connecticut’s Nov. 1 deadline and getting as many students as possible to commit to voting for Clinton.”
Bogaty added that the YCD plans to send out texts reminding students to vote on Election Day. These texts will only be sent to students who requested to be reminded, Bogaty said.
Co-chair of the Yale New Republicans Benjamin Rasmussen ’18 said his organization is providing right-leaning students with opportunities to get involved in down-ballot elections and noted that the YNR might send members to New Hampshire to canvass for Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).
He did not comment on his organization’s involvement in the presidential race. However, he clarified that, during this election cycle, the YNR has not worked with the Yale College Republicans, an organization whose endorsement of Trump in August prompted members of the YCR to defect and form the YNR.
Campus and city government groups that hope to get students registered do not have substantial ground to cover. According to a News survey sent out to the undergraduate student body on Oct. 11, only 110 of the 2,154 undergraduates who completed the survey, or 5.62 percent, were still not registered to vote.
Although registration must be completed at City Hall, residents must go to separate polling stations after to cast their ballots. Grotheer added that during the municipal and state elections two years ago, many people were unable to finish the registration procedure before the voting deadline due to long lines. Given that 2016 is a presidential election year, Grotheer said he feared a higher voter turnout would exacerbate this problem, making it even more important for unregistered New Havenites to register before or on Nov. 1.
There will be 40 polling stations throughout New Haven on Election Day.