Pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and Conn. Gen. Stats. Secs. 9-23n and 9-23o libraries in the State of Connecticut which are open to the public are required to offer voter registration services year-round. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 required certain public agencies to provide this service and the Connecticut General Assembly extended this requirement to public libraries. Although some groups are involved in voter registration on a voluntary basis, please be aware that libraries are required by law to offer voter registration. Effective January 1, 2003, libraries and other voter registration agencies also are required to give a receipt upon submission of voter registration application. Receipt forms were distributed to public libraries by the Office of the Secretary of State prior to January 2003. This requirement was passed as part of Public Act 02-83.
Application and Renewal of Library Cards
Each person who applies for a library card or renews a library card or gives a change of address must be offered voter registration in the following manner: "Would you like to apply to register to vote here today?" If the applicant says, "Yes", hand him a voter registration card. Offer to forward the voter registration card to your town's registrar of voters. If the patron files the voter application with you give them the receipt at the bottom of the form. Also inform the patron that if he doesn't receive an approval from his registrar of voters within three weeks, a call to the registrars of voters in his town is advised.
Leave voter registration cards on display near or at the main charge-out desk and add instructions as to where in the library completed forms are collected to be forwarded to the registrar of voters of the town of residence. The library staff needs to check that the writing is legible before the card is transmitted to the registrar of voters of the town of residence. (The library pays the postage to forward them to the proper registrars.)
Under federal law, Bridgeport, Hartford, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, Waterbury and Windham must provide all voter registration notices, forms, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, in Spanish as well as in English.
If someone requests help in filling out the form, the library staff needs to help the applicant. You must provide the same degree of assistance usually offered to your patrons regarding the completion of any other forms.
Libraries must accept completed voter registration applications forms from anyone, even persons who are not their patrons.
The library staff, especially near the voter registration deadlines must indicate date of receipt in the lower left hand corner of the card.
The library must verify the address of the registrar, provide postage and mail forthwith (as soon as possible under the circumstances). Libraries may wish to make other arrangements to forward mail-in cards from town residents to the registrars of voters of the town.
For your information (the library is not expected to enforce or verify):
The eligibility requirements are as follows: at least 17 years-of-age or older, a United States citizen and a resident of a Connecticut town. Although 17 year olds may register to vote, they cannot vote until their 18th birthday.
Voters who move from one Connecticut town to another must register again at their new town of residence in order to be able to vote. Persons who have been convicted of a felony must contact the registrar of voters in the town where they live, in person, and may not submit their voter application to the library. The registrar must first restore their voting rights, if they qualify, before they can be eligible to register to vote.
The voter registration application forms are available through the Office of the Secretary of the State in English and Spanish and are also available by calling (860)-509-6100 or toll-free 1-(800)-540-3764. Please make sure you are using the most up-to-date cards.
Connecticut State Library | 231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106 | 860-757-6500 * Toll-free 866-886-4478
The State of Connecticut is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and strongly encourages the applications of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.