Secretary of the State Mark Kohler and Deputy Secretary Scott Bates Celebrate National Voter Registration Day at the Old State House, Honor NASS Medallion Award
HARTFORD – Secretary of the State Mark Kohler and Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates were joined by House Speaker Matt Ritter and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz to celebrate National Voter Registration Day at The Old State House today, as well as honor seven individuals and one organization with the NASS Medallion Award for their commitments to voter and civic education.
“First off, I think we’ve seen that government by a representative democracy just doesn’t happen,” Secretary Kohler said. “It requires that people be actively engaged. It requires that people participate and one of the most important ways people need to participate is to vote, and the first step is to register. We really want to encourage people to register, especially our young people. That’s what this day is about.”
“I want to encourage our young people in the state who haven’t registered to register, and I want to encourage our young people in our state who don’t participate in numbers as high as older citizens to vote because so much is at stake here. This is an amazing way to make your voice heard,” said Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz, a former Secretary of the State in Connecticut from 1999-2011.
“So often people say, ‘well this person is going to win, or that person is going to win, it’s not going to be my vote that matters,” Speaker Ritter said. “I can tell you, your vote counts, every vote matters. I encourage all Connecticut residents to vote and for those who are eligible to register, please do so. If you’re eligible and not registered, please register for this important process.”
National Voter Registration Day also allowed for the Office of the Secretary of the State to honor seven individuals and one organization for their dedication and service to furthering the mission of the National Secretaries of State (NASS).
The NASS Medallion Award was created to acknowledge individuals, groups, or organizations with a record of promoting NASS’ goals in elections, civic education service to state government, and a commitment to giving.
There was no ceremony in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021-22 NASS Medallion Award winners include Sue Larsen, Livvy Floren, Lourdes Montalvo, and Shannon Wegele.
“We’re recognizing Sue Larsen for her outstanding leadership of the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut during the 2020 election and her committed mentorship of young women through Laurel Girls State,” Deputy Secretary Bates said. “Livvy Floren, a former State Representative from Greenwich, was a leader who helped forge bipartisan alliances to advance access to the democratic process in this state.”
“Lourdes Montalvo is receiving the award for a lifetime commitment to voter registration and civic engagement in the Hispanic community throughout the state. Shannon Wegele is receiving this award for her many years of advocacy in the effort to give Connecticut voters more agency in when and how they may cast their votes. Congratulations to all the winners.”
The 2022-23 winners, announced by Secretary Kohler, included Dr. Brittany Yancy, the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, Val Ramos, and Bruce Sievers.
“We recognize Dr. Yancy for her leadership in promoting education and awareness regarding Connecticut’s Women of Color Suffragettes,” Secretary Kohler said. “The League of Women Voters of Connecticut of Connecticut has been a leader in voter registration, education, and empowerment for over 100 years and has broken barriers to the ballot box for countless voters who would have been otherwise disenfranchised.
“Val’s commitment to protecting democracy along with his advocacy for access and equity within the Latino and Hispanic communities along with finding new and creative opportunities for state residents to become civically engaged. We are recognizing Bruce as the first person in the country to cast a ballot because of the 26th Amendment, granting the right to vote to voters 18 years old and up.”
At the end event, students from A.I. Prince Tech in Hartford registered to vote for the upcoming election in November.
*Please note in above photo (left to right): Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates, Secretary of the State Mark Kohler, Sue Larsen, Lourdes, Montalvo, Val Ramos, Shannon Wegele, Laura Smits (President League of Women Voters of Connecticut), Dr. Brittney Yancy, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Bruce Sievers.