Elijah Alvarez and Lissette Rodriguez demonstrate the new online voter registration system. CT Mirror
Elijah Alvarez and Lissette Rodriguez demonstrate the new online voter registration system.
Elijah Alvarez and Lissette Rodriguez demonstrate the new online voter registration system. CT Mirror

Connecticut on Tuesday became the first state in New England and the 15th state overall to launch a web application that allows residents to register to vote.

The system is available to citizens 18 and older who hold a Connecticut driver’s license or an identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“With online voter registration, we truly mark a historic step in moving Connecticut’s elections into the 21st century,” said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.

The new system is tied to the DMV, which has electronic signatures on file for new voters. The signatures are transmitted to local registrars.

“We think this has tremendous potential,” Merrill said.

Connecticut has an estimated 200,000 residents who are eligible vote but have not registered.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman joined Merrill as Lissette Rodriguez, 20, of East Hartford went on line to register, using a laptop.

“The net result will be higher civic engagement,” Malloy said.

In 2012, the General Assembly authorized Election Day registration and online registration. Election Day registration became available in November.

The other states are Arizona, Washington, Kansas, Utah, Oregon, California, Virginia, Colorado, South Carolina, Nevada, Minnesota, Maryland, Indiana and Louisiana.

If there is online registration today, will there be online voting tomorrow?

Merrill thinks not. The online registrations still are verified by local registrars, while the security issues related to online voting are many, she said.

“Maybe not in my lifetime,” Merrill said. “I don’t think we are there yet.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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