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Connecticut to Pursue Laws that Will (Gasp!) Encourage, Not Suppress, Voting

Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill has announced that her state will buck the national trend of voter suppression and pass laws to make it easier to vote on election day. Two proposals include same-day registration and an online voter database. Citing an outdated system, Merrill told the Hartford Courant that the state needs to modernize its system in order to encourage more people to vote:

“It’s long past time that we move our elections into the 21st century in Connecticut,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said during a press briefing Friday prior to a legislative hearing on the proposals. “We are not on the cutting edge and our system is old, costly and inconvenient.”

As a result, Merrill said, one out of three state residents who are eligible to vote aren’t even registered.

The proposals also include harsher penalties for voter intimidation and interference. Voter suppression has become a favorite tactic of extremist Republicans in states that succumbed to the 2010 Tea Party takeover. Several new laws endorsed and/or written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) seek to require government issued IDs, a practice that disproportionately discourages minorities, the elderly and the very poor from voting. Very few states are pursuing the opposite, progressive path which Merrill suggested Connecticut will pursue.

Read the entire The American Prospect piece, “Crazy Idea: Laws to Encourage Voting.”


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