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Wilton Democrats Back Improved Voter Registration Role For DMV

Deborah McFadden is the new chairman of the Wilton Democratic Town Committee, which says it's dismayed over Republican Rep. Tom O'Dea's stand against bolstering the state Department of Motor Vehicles' role in voter registration.
Deborah McFadden is the new chairman of the Wilton Democratic Town Committee, which says it's dismayed over Republican Rep. Tom O'Dea's stand against bolstering the state Department of Motor Vehicles' role in voter registration. Photo Credit: Submitted
Rep. Tom O'Dea, who represents the 125th District, including New Canaan and part of Wilton, opposes a bill to expand the role of the state Department of Motor Vehicles role in voter registration.
Rep. Tom O'Dea, who represents the 125th District, including New Canaan and part of Wilton, opposes a bill to expand the role of the state Department of Motor Vehicles role in voter registration. Photo Credit: Contributed

WILTON, CONN. -- The Wilton Democratic Town Committee has announced that it “strongly supports” legislation that would expand the state Department of Motor Vehicle’s role in processing voter registration forms.

The committee said it was “dismayed” that Republican Assemblyman Tom O’Dea, who represents the 125th District, has “sought to impede” the DMV bill’s progress.

According to a report by cthousegop.com, O’Dea feels that the proposal being pushed by Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill will distract from the mission of, and add another burden to, an agency that is already struggling to provide basic services.

Wilton Democrats say their mission is “to increase voter registration and participation.”

The committee admitted that the DMV’s voter registration system is less than efficient. The agency mails voter forms when it sends out registration renewals, but these forms often confuse already registered voters, it said.

If the House bill becomes law, it said, the DMV would record new applications electronically and transmit them automatically to local registrars. This would, the committee said, eliminate incomplete or illegible forms.

It said that Wilton’s registrar of voters, Carole Young-Kleinfeld, supports this legislation.

The committee said that O’Dea’s argument that ineligible voters -- undocumented individuals, for example -- would find it easier to register to vote illegally under the new system is “simply a red herring.”

Controls are already in place to prevent illegal registration, it said.

Local registrars, who would still have final approval, would be able to detect duplicate or incomplete voter registrations, the committee said.

What’s more, it argued, the bill would not take effect until 2017, giving DMV offices “ample time to prepare.”

According to cthousegop.com, O’Dea, the ranking member of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, says the DMV continues to have numerous customer service problems and long lines.

The problems have only been made worse, cthousegop.com quoted O’Dea as saying, by defective software that has caused motorists to have their legit registrations suspended for lack of insurance, when, in fact they were covered.

It’s not the time, O’Dea told cthousegop.com, to pile extra duties on the agency.

To read the cthousegop.com article, click here.

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