WNPR

Connecticut Voter Registration On The Rise

Aug 1, 2018

Connecticut experienced an increase in new voter registration after the 2016 presidential election.

The secretary of the state’s office is reporting that 275,114 new voters registered between the between November 2016 and July 2018, an increase over data collected 20 months out from the 2014 mid-term election.

The numbers showed a sharp increase among young voters registering aged 18-24. More than 43,000 new young voters registered during the latest period of review.

“That has been really the most surprising or I guess interesting development,” said Denise Merrill, Connecticut’s secretary of the state. “I think we have at least doubled the number of new registered voters between the ages of 18 and 24 when we compared it to a similar time just after the 2014 election.”

Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean, an associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac University, said the outcome of the 2016 election might be just one factor for older people registering. But, for those aged 18 to 24, she said the “Trump Effect” was very real.

“A lot of the angst that we heard post-2016 led to young people in particular creating organizations and having an organized strategy to figure out how do they not just complain about what’s going on but what do they actually do and I think we’re seeing now the outcome of two years of that kind of strategizing,” Brown-Dean said.

Merrill thinks another reason for the size of the increase is the new motor-voter law that prompts you to register to vote while you get something done at the DMV.

The first effects of the bump in registration could be seen in the upcoming August 14 primaries. Merrill said turnout is traditionally low for primaries, but this year, it could be higher than the 20-25 percent that usually come out to vote.

“I really think that more people are going to come out and vote in this primary,” Merrill said. “People are very aware now of politics and elections and voting in a way that I haven’t seen before.”

The majority of the 275,114 new voters -- 149,816 -- registered unaffiliated or with a third party, 81,908 registered as Democrats, and 43,390 as Republicans.