The Connecticut House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would allow eligible residents to register to vote on Election Day and would create an online voter registration system. Gov. Dan Malloy issued the following comments: “Passage of this legislation demonstrates Connecticut’s commitment to fair, accessible elections, and I applaud the House for their action on this bill. We’ve sent a clear signal to the rest of the country that Connecticut will not go in the direction of other states.”
The bill will now move to the Connecticut Senate. If passed, the Election Day registration provision would go into effect on July 1, 2013 and the online voter registration provision would go into effect on January 1, 2014. Connecticut would join eight states that currently allow Election Day registration and 11 states with online voter registration.
As Malloy’s comments illustrate, many states have passed legislation recently that create barriers to voting instead of working to expand the franchise to more Americans. Since the beginning of 2011, 176 bills that restrict voting have been introduced in 41 states. Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis called these measures “poll taxes by another name.”
Legislative reforms such as the Connecticut bill are one example of recent pushback against nationwide voter suppression efforts. The diverse strategies to protect voting rights have won important victories all over the United States. These are just a few examples:
- Voting rights supporters used people’s vetoes to restore Election Day registration in Maine and to protect early and absentee voting periods from being shortened in Ohio.
- In Pennsylvania, NAACP chapters are organizing community forums to educate voters about the state’s new photo ID law and some colleges are updating student IDs so they can be used to vote.
- In Wisconsin, a lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters and another brought by the Milwaukee NAACP and Voces de la Frontera succeeded in delaying implementation of a strict voter ID bill.
For more information on proactive voting rights strategies and success stories, subscribe to FELN’s Voter Suppression Update by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.