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State Senator

Beth Bye

Deputy Majority Leader

Representing Bloomfield, Burlington, Farmington & West Hartford

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Contact: Lawrence Cook

January 20, 2016

Bye: Connecticut Scores Major Improvement in Voting Access Thanks to Democrats

A vote that State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) made in 2012 over the united objection of Republican legislators has since helped nearly 40,000 Connecticut residents to become new voters—and has earned the state kudos from a national voting rights organization.

“Rock the Vote,” which is the largest nonprofit and nonpartisan organization in the United States driving the youth vote to the polls, has just released a scorecard which shows that—after Democrats instituted needed voting reforms in 2011—Connecticut’s access to voting score nearly tripled, from a 4.2 to an “impressive” 11.2.

“In 2011, Rock the Vote identified a number of areas related to voting access that were crying out for improvement in Connecticut,” Rock the Vote President Ashley Spillane said. “However, by introducing online voter registration, same day registration and other programs, the past four years has been time well spent. There’s obviously more to do, but we’re pleased that Connecticut has come such a long way.”

The improved access to voting score comes shortly after TrendCT.org reported that nearly 40,000 state residents—Democrats, Republicans, unaffiliated voters and minor party members—have all used Connecticut’s new online system to register to vote since Democrats in the legislature passed “An Act Concerning Voting Rights” in 2012 over near-unanimous Republican opposition (only one Republican, Rep. Livvy Floren of Greenwich, voted for the bill). The online registration option took effect in 2014.

TrendCT reports that in 2014, nearly 24,000 Connecticut residents registered to vote using the new system, and another 17,000 used it in 2015; nearly 42 percent of those who registered online in 2014 were between the ages of 18 and 29.

“The state legislature and all elected public officials should be finding ways to increase public participation in our democracy, not fighting it, and that’s exactly what this legislation has done,” Sen. Bye said. “You can’t argue with Rock the Vote’s new accolades for Connecticut or the nearly 40,000 new voters we have registered. I’m proud to have voted my conscience and bring more state residents into our democratic process using a modern, efficient and secure registration method that’s already in use in half the states in America.”

According to TrendCT, of the nearly 40,000 new voters registering online over the past two years, 16,885 have registered as unaffiliated voters, 12,887 as Democrats, 7,989 as Republicans, 676 as Independents, 135 as Libertarians and 56 with the Green Party.

Public Act 12-56, “An Act Concerning Voting Rights,” not only allows people to register to vote online, it also allows Connecticut residents to register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day—the day of a regular state or municipal election. Nearly 3,000 state residents from all across Connecticut registered to vote on Election Day 2013, the first year same-day registration went into effect.

The House and Senate vote tallies for PA 12-56 can be found online.



Chair: Appropriations

Vice Chair: Children

Member: Education; Judiciary; Legislative Management

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