Secretary Merrill Highlights Great Work of Registrars of Voters Statewide in Ensuring Accurate Voting Lists
164 towns have undeliverable election mail rates below the national average
More than 150 towns have rates less than half of the national averageHARTFORD - Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today highlighted the excellent work of Connecticut's registrars of voters statewide, of both parties, in ensuring that Connecticut's voter rolls are among the most accurate in the country. The national average for undeliverable election mail was 16.4% in 2018 (according to the Election Assistance Commission's Election Administration and Voting Survey 2018 Comprehensive Report: https://www.eac.gov/sites/default/files/eac_assets/1/6/2018_EAVS_Report.pdf). Connecticut's preliminary average is roughly half the national average at 8.3% (of the 1.2 million absentee ballot applications mailed to voters for the primary, roughly 100,000 were returned as undeliverable). This includes voters who may have forgotten to include unit or apartment numbers when they registered to vote, but continue to live at their address even though their mail was undeliverable. The Office of the Secretary is in the process of returning all of the undeliverable mail that we received to the registrars for further list maintenance. Based on the preliminary returns received from the United States Postal Service (60,000 of the expected 100,000 returned), 164 of Connecticut's 169 towns have undeliverable election mail rates less than the national average, and more than 150 towns have rates less than half of the national average.
"Connecticut's registrars of voters, one Democrat and one Republican in each of Connecticut's 169 towns, are among the best local election officials in the country, said Secretary Merrill. "These results are a testament to the hard work that registrars do in ensuring accurate voter rolls and in ensuring that Connecticut's elections are secure, accurate, and accessible."
Connecticut has an election administration system unique in America. With no county government and at least one registrar of voters from each party in each town, no state administers elections quote like Connecticut does. Our voter rolls are administered locally, by the registrars of voters, with help from the local town clerks. The voter rolls are maintained according to Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act, and Title 9, Chapter 143 of the Connecticut General Statutes. More information on how Connecticut's voter rolls are maintained can be found here: myvote.ct.gov/voterrolls.
"Registrars of Voters annually update their rolls through a canvass," said President of the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut and South Windsor Registrar of Voters Sue Larson. "They also work with their Town Clerks to update death notices and property transfers. This is a year long process that Registrars of Voters do to maintain the accuracy of the voter lists."
"In 2018 the city of Waterbury worked with the mayor and other leaders to secure funds to conduct a complete canvass of all voters who had not voted in the past eight elections," said Waterbury Registrar of Voters Tim DeCarlo. "This was in addition to our annual National Change of Address canvass which is required by law. This resulted in over nine thousand voters being moved to inactive status. Waterbury has more than 52,000 voters and although we continue to see a great deal of our voters move within town, our office works hard to update the rolls daily with the information that is provided to our office."
Connecticut has long been a leader in accurate voter roll maintenance, joining the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) in 2014. ERIC is a non-profit consortium of 30 states (including Florida, Rhode Island, Texas, and Georgia) dedicated to sharing information to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the voter rolls in the member states. Our membership in ERIC, along with Connecticut being the first state in New England to introduce an online voter registration portal and our system of Election Day Registration, led to Connecticut having "the lowest percentage of excess voters" in New England in 2016 according to a study by the Providence Journal. Since then Connecticut has taken further steps to ensure accurate voter rolls by administratively implementing Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) through the DMV. AVR allows for greater participation and more accurate voter rolls by automatically registering new voters and updating voter registration information as voters interact with the DMV. Since August 2016, more than 360,000 voters have registered to vote or updated their voter registration at the DMV using AVR. Secretary Merrill has proposed codifying AVR in Connecticut law.