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How Charges of Voter Fraud Became a Political Strategy
10/21/16 |
Publication Date: 
Friday, October 21, 2016 - 01:00

[T]he principal fraud that Mr. Trump and most Republicans assail, and the only one that voter identification laws address — voters who intentionally misrepresent themselves at polling places — is exceedingly rare, experts say. They add that it is almost impossible to perpetrate on a scale that would affect the results of a national election. Democrats also note that with Republican domination of state governments, voting nationwide is increasingly overseen by Republicans. ...

Since the 2000 presidential election underscored the crucial role of voting rules in close races, allegations of widespread fraud also have figured in high-stakes political strategies. Increasingly, voter identification laws and other restrictions advertised as election security measures help determine who votes, and who does not.

“Suddenly, it became clear that in very close elections, manipulating the rules could potentially matter,” said Mr. Hasen, the election law expert. “And so voter fraud became an excuse for making it harder to register and to vote.”

And as the notion of pervasive fraud gained political value, keeping it in the public eye became smart politics as well. 

Federal Judge: Wisconsin Shows ‘Disturbing Pattern’ of Failing to Provide Access to the Ballot
10/21/16 |
Publication Date: 
Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 16:00

Nine percent of Wisconsin’s registered voters—300,000 people—do not have one of the few acceptable forms of strict voter ID required to vote, according to the state’s own analysis. These citizens are relying on the state’s promise of free and readily accessible voter IDs to exercise their right to vote. Early voting has already begun in Milwaukee, Madison, and elsewhere in the state.

On September 29, reporting from both VoteRiders and Ari Berman of The Nation revealed that Wisconsin failed to live up to its promises....[O]nly 3 of the 10 DMVs surveilled by VoteRiders told applicants that they would receive voter IDs within a week or less. On-the-ground investigations found that Wisconsin’s DMVs continued to require applicants to present hard-to-acquire documentation, such as birth certificates. ...

U.S. District Judge James Peterson ordered the state to...implement several changes, or “improvements,” to the law...[including] to provide follow-up training and competency checks for its DMV workers and to dedicate additional resources to funding a public information campaign about the state’s voter ID law. This is to ensure that people are informed about the availability of IDs even if they do not have birth certificates or other hard-to-obtain documents. Additionally, the state will report to the court on its administration of the voter ID law every Friday from now until the election.

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Connecticut Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: November 1, 2016 (online/mail); November 8, 2016 (in person)

For more information, visit the Connecticut Secretary of State’s website.

Election Day:

Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Election Day.

Connecticut does not have early voting.

How to Find Your Polling Place:

Visit the Connecticut Secretary of State’s Voter Registration Lookup page.


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines:

Connecticut requires voter registration online or by mail to be postmarked by November 1, 2016. In person voter registration has no deadline. To register on Election Day, a voter must bring his or her birth certificate, driver’s license, or social security card to the polling place.  If the voter is a student enrolled at an institution of higher education, he or she may instead provide his or her student photo identification card. The voter must also provide proof of his or her bona fide residence address.

How to Check Your Registration: Use the Voter Registration Lookup page or call 866-OUR-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to register to vote in Connecticut, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be a resident of the town in which you are registering to vote; and
  • Have completed confinement and parole if you were previously convicted of a disenfranchising felony.

How to Register: Connecticut residents may register in person, by mail, or online. To apply in person, complete the State of Connecticut Mail-In Voter Registration and take it to your local town hall or voter registration office. To apply by mail, complete the State of Connecticut Mail-In Voter Registration and mail it to your local town hall or voter registration office. To register online, visit Connecticut’s Online Voter Registration System.

Identification Required for Registration: Voters may register by mail without identification, but they must provide a form of identification when they vote at the polls on Election Day.

If You Want to Vote Early

Connecticut does not have early voting, but voters who qualify for absentee voting may vote absentee in person at their local elections office (usually the clerk of the municipality in which the applicant is qualified to vote). For more information on absentee voting, visit the Secretary of State’s absentee voting information page.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

A voter may cast an absentee ballot for any of the following reasons:

  • active service with the armed forces of the United States;
  • absence from the town of his or her voting residence during all of the hours of voting;
  • illness;
  • physical disability;
  • religious beliefs do not allow secular activity on the day of the election; or
  • the required performance of his or her duties as an election official at a polling place other than his or her own during all of the hours of voting at such election.

Emergency Voting: Applications to vote absentee can be made within six days of an election if the voter:

  • Experiences an unforeseen illness or unforeseen physical disability that occurs within six days preceding the close of the polls; or
  • Is a patient in a hospital within six days before the close of polls.

Rules and Deadlines:

  • An absentee ballot returned by mail by the ballot applicant, a designee of a person who applies for an absentee ballot because of illness or physical disability, or a member of the immediate family of an applicant who is a student, must be received by the clerk of the municipality in which the applicant is qualified to vote no later than the close of the polls on Election Day (November 8, 2016).
  • An absentee ballot which is delivered in person by the applicant must be delivered to the clerk by the day before the election (November 7, 2016).

An absentee ballot which is delivered in person by the designee, or immediate family member of the absentee voter, must be delivered to the clerk no later than the close of the polls on Election Day (November 8, 2016).

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

Valid forms of ID are:

(1) for voters who registered, by mail, to vote for the first time on or after January 1, 2003, who did not provide proof of identification and address at the time of registry,

  • Current and valid photo ID that includes the voter’s name and address, or
  • Copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and address; and

(2) for all other voters,

  • Social Security card or any other preprinted form of identification which shows the elector’s name and either address, signature, or photograph; or
  • Signed statement on a form approved by the Secretary of the State detailing the voter’s residential address, date of birth and name.

Without one of these forms of identification, a voter is permitted to vote a challenged or provisional ballot.

VoteRiders has created Connecticut voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

You must change your voter registration if you move to a new address in the same town or move to a new town.

Moving within the Same Town

If a voter moves his or her residence within the same town, the voter can update his/her information on Election Day. The local Registrar of Voters should be able to help individuals change their address ( The voter may have to cast his/her vote at the polling place of his/her old address.

Moving Between Towns

If the voter moves to a new town and has not re-registered before Election Day, the voter will have to register with his/her new address on Election Day. To do so, the voter may have to go to a designated Election Day Registration location. In that case, the voter should contact their local Registrar of Voters office to find out where to go to register ( If a voter submits a provisional ballot without re-registering in the new town, it will not be counted.

 Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for absentee voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and merchant marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside the United States (together these groups are called UOCAVA voters).

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) Connecticut-specific FPCA page.

UOCAVA voters may also register to vote and request an absentee ballot by completing and mailing Connecticut’s Absentee Ballot Application.

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters may receive their blank absentee ballots by U.S. mail. Ballots must be returned via U.S. mail, commercial carrier, or by hand delivery.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by Uniformed Services members on active duty, members of the merchant marine, and their spouses or dependents. If you have applied for a regular ballot from your local election officials and do not receive your regular ballot in time, you may use the FWAB. Your FWAB must be received by your local voting officials in Connecticut no later than the close of polls on Election Day. For specific instructions, visit the FVAP’s Connecticut-specific FWAB page.

A voter who has been convicted of a felony and who is no longer incarcerated may have his or her voting rights re-instated.  When a voter is convicted, the Commissioner of Correction notifies the Secretary of the State, which in turn notifies the voter’s local registrar that he or she has forfeited his or her voting rights.

When the voter is released from prison or discharged from parole (1) the Commissioner of Correction gives the voter a document certifying that he or she has been released or discharged, and (2) the Commissioner of Correction notifies the Secretary of the State within a month that the voter is no longer disqualified from voting.

If the voter returns to the town where he or she was registered before conviction, this process eventually restores his or her voting rights, but it may take several months and the voter will need to update his or her address with the registrar.

If the voter is living in a new town or was not previously registered to vote, he or she needs to submit a new voter registration application and include in his or her registration application satisfactory proof that he or she has been released or discharged. This may be done with the certificate issued to the voter by the Commissioner of Corrections or through the voter’s parole officer.


Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

For more information for student voters, visit the Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

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2016 Election Information for your state