New Haven looks to avoid election day issues of two years ago

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — For the first time ever in a presidential race, Connecticut is allowing for Election Day registration. There’s already been record numbers who registered, and after a rush here in New Haven two years ago, election officials are preparing to learn from past mistakes.

Those scenes of a crowded City Hall are still fresh in the mind of New Haven officials. With high voter turnouts expected Tuesday, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is concerned about election day voter registration in the Elm City.

Related Content: Connecticut Election Day Voter’s Guide

“We are concerned that there weren’t enough people to help with election day registration. We’re trying to anticipate that,” Merrill said Monday. “It’s a little difficult to figure out.”

Over 1,000 people flooded City Hall two years ago for Election Day registration, causing chaos and leaving some out in the cold who couldn’t register before the 8 o’clock cutoff.

Now, for the first time in a presidential election, Connecticut is allowing same-day registration in a presidential race. There’s particular concerns for big college towns, like New Haven. Mayor Toni Harp met with the city’s Registrar of Voters Monday morning.

Related Content: Ballot questions for Connecticut voters

“One of the things I wanted to do was understand their planning and go through the process with them to think through if there’s ways we might be able to help on the city side, my administration side,” Harp said.

The Registrar of Voters is elected by the people and independent of mayoral oversight. But it’s all-hands-on-deck across city departments to avoid the problems of two years ago. Ten computers are set up to register voters and moderators will be close to hand out ballots to those people next.

“We’re trying to think through every possible problem and have the solution already at hand,” Harp said.

Election Day registration must be done at city or town hall. In New Haven, it’s 165 Church Street, on the second floor.

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