Nearly 90,000 new Connecticut voters have registered so far this year in advance of the presidential election.

Technically that’s less than one-third of the 300,000 new voters the state gained in 2008 — the historic year when America elected its first black president.

But expecting to top that total is kind of like trying to beat Babe Ruth in a home run derby.

“This is very encouraging,” Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official, said Tuesday as she announced updated numbers to mark National Voter Registration Day.

Merrill also noted that younger voters comprise the single-largest block from this year’s new registrants. Nearly 39,300 voters ages 18 to 29 have joined the rolls this year. And the secretary said her office is expanding youth outreach efforts with a multifaceted curriculum in Connecticut’s schools.

The Connecticut Election Project will provide technology and other resources to teachers to help both primary and secondary school students study both election history and the 2012 presidential contest.

“This way students can learn about elections, not as history, but as events happening right in front of their very eyes,” she said.

Merrill added that residents have until Oct. 30 to register to vote on Election Day. The legislature enacted a statute this past spring that allows Election Day registration, but not until the municipal contests of 2013.

The secretary also said voters who move should remember to register again in their new town hall. Those who are uncertain about whether they are registered can check using the secretary’s new voter online look-up service at

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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