DOJ, Connecticut settle ‘motor-voter’ registration complaint

Denise Merrill

CTMIRROR.ORG FILE PHOTO

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill

The U.S. Department of Justice and Connecticut announced Friday that an enhanced online voter registration system will launch Monday at the Department of Motor Vehicles in response to a civil rights investigation that concluded the state was in violation of the so-called “motor-voter” provisions of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993.

Under a settlement negotiated by the Justice Department, the secretary of state’s office and the DMV, a voter registration system will be electronically integrated into the licensing system so that every application for a license, renewal or photo ID “shall function as an application to register to vote, unless the customer chooses to opt out.”

“This is a major step toward ensuring that every eligible citizen is registered to vote. It also just represents good customer service to the people of Connecticut, who will be able to register to vote or update their registrations while conducting business with the DMV. It will help them carry out two tasks in a single transaction, removing the need to go to town hall or mail in updated information,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said.

“A robust, inclusive democracy requires ensuring that eligible voters can easily and conveniently register to vote,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “State officials worked cooperatively with the Justice Department to quickly provide eligible Connecticut voters an integrated one-stop opportunity to register through the DMV, as the law requires.”

A memorandum of understanding negotiated with the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut and the DOJ lays out timelines, divisions of responsibility, training and performance monitoring for the new system, Merrill said.

The agreement ends the investigation without court action.

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