Puerto Rican voter registration drive gets state help

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s chief elections officer says her office will assist efforts to register hurricane-displaced Puerto Ricans to vote in upcoming elections.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, said Wednesday her office will work with community groups and lawmakers to identify and sign up eligible voters.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans have relocated to the U.S. mainland since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September. An estimated 4,000 have come to Connecticut. Advocacy groups have been working in states including Florida to register the new arrivals to vote.

Related Content: 4 months after Maria, 450K residents of Puerto Rico still without power

Islanders are U.S. citizens, but are barred from voting for president unless they live on the mainland.

Merrill said registration is important for civic engagement and to give the newcomers a say in public affairs, including the federal government’s relief work on the island.

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