House Leader goes after McMahon voter-registration drive

The House Majority Leader today said she plans to introduce legislation that will make it illegal to pay someone to register voters.

“Any practice like this is fraught with the potential for voter fraud,” said Rep. Denise W. Merrill, D-Mansfield, who is a candidate for secretary of the state.

The issue arose after the Stamford Advocate reported that Republican Linda McMahon’s U.S. Senate campaign planned to start a voter registration drive in Merrill’s district that would pay $5 to student workers at the University of Connecticut for each Republican they registered.

A McMahon spokesman told the Advocate the plan is legal, but registrars and the secretary of the state’s office raised concerns that it might encourage fraud. The campaign has since cancelled the plan.

“We dropped the bonus component after weighing the concerns,” said Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for the McMahon campaign. The campaign is still paying workers $10 an hour, but will not pay a $5 bonus for each Republican registered as originally planned.

Merrill is opposed to any payment for voter registration, said Merrill’s spokesman Dan Uhlinger.