Substitute House Bill No. 7014

Public Act No. 99-112

An Act Concerning Voter Registration at Public Colleges and Universities.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 9-23g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) In addition to the procedures for admission of electors under sections 9-19b, 9-19c, 9-19e, 9-20 and 9-31, any person may apply to a registrar of voters of the town of his residence for admission as an elector in accordance with the provisions of this section and section 9-23h.

(b) The Secretary of the State shall prescribe, and provide to registrars of voters, town clerks and voter registration agencies, [described] as defined in section 9-23n, as amended by this act, application forms and other materials necessary to complete such application and admission process. The Secretary of the State, registrars of voters and town clerks shall provide a reasonable number of such forms and materials to any elector who requests such forms and materials. The secretary shall also, in the course of his elections duties, prepare instructions and related materials describing procedures for such application and admission process and shall provide the materials to registrars of voters and town clerks. The application shall contain the information required under section 9-23h. All statements of the applicant shall be made under the penalties of perjury. The application for admission as an elector shall include a statement that (1) specifies each eligibility requirement, (2) contains an attestation that the application meets each such requirement, and (3) requires the signature of the applicant under penalty of perjury. Nothing in this section or section 9-23h shall require that the application be executed in the state. An applicant who is unable to write may cause his name to be signed on the application form by an authorized agent who shall, in the space provided for the signature, write the name of the applicant followed by the word "by" and his own signature. The completed application may be mailed or returned in person to the office of the registrars of voters or the office of the town clerk of the applicant's town of residence or a voter registration agency. [described in section 9-23n.] If the applicant entrusts his application to another person or agency for mailing or return to the registrars of voters, such person or agency shall immediately mail or return the application. The town clerk shall promptly forward any application which he receives to the registrars of voters. Such application form shall be provided by or authorized by the Secretary of the State.

(c) Forthwith upon receipt of a registration application in the office of the registrars of voters, the registrar shall mark such date on the application and review the application to determine whether the applicant has properly completed it and is legally qualified to register. Forthwith upon completing his review, the registrar shall (1) indicate on the application whether the application has been accepted or rejected, (2) mail a notice to the applicant, (3) indicate on the application the date on which such notice is mailed, and (4) provide a copy of such notice to the other registrar. If the registrar determines that the applicant has not properly completed the application or is not legally qualified to register, the notice shall indicate that the application has been rejected and shall state the reason for rejection. If the registrar determines that the applicant has properly completed the application and is legally qualified to register, the notice shall indicate that the application has been accepted. A notice of acceptance or a notice of rejection shall be sent (A) within four days of receipt of an application during the period beginning on the forty-ninth day before an election and ending on the twenty-first day before such election, (B) on the day of receipt of an application if it is received (i) during the period beginning on the twentieth day before such election and ending on the fourteenth day before such election, [or] (ii) during the period beginning on the thirteenth day before an election and ending on election day if the application has been received by the fourteenth day before an election by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or by a voter registration agency, [described in section 9-23n or] (iii) during the period beginning on the twenty-first day before a primary and ending on the fifth day before a primary, or (iv) during the period beginning on the fourth day before a primary and ending at twelve o'clock noon on the last weekday before a primary, if the application has been postmarked by the fifth day before the primary and is received in the office of the registrars of voters during such period or if the application is received by the fifth day before a primary by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or by a voter registration agency, [described in section 9-23n,] and (C) within ten days of receipt of an application at any other time. A notice of acceptance shall be sent by first-class mail with instructions on the envelope that it be returned if not deliverable at the address shown on the envelope. A notice of acceptance shall indicate the effective date of the applicant's registration and enrolment, the date of the next regularly scheduled election or primary in which the applicant shall be eligible to vote and the applicant's precinct and polling place. If a notice of acceptance of an application is returned undelivered, the registrars shall forthwith take the necessary action in accordance with section 9-35 or 9-43, notwithstanding the May first deadline in section 9-35. An applicant for admission as an elector pursuant to this section and section 9-23h may only be admitted as an elector by a registrar of voters of the town of his residence. Not later than December thirty-first, annually, the Secretary of the State shall establish an official calendar of all deadlines set forth in this subsection for regularly scheduled elections and primaries to be held in the following calendar year.

(d) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the privileges of an elector for any applicant for admission under this section and section 9-23h shall attach immediately upon approval by the registrar, and the registrars shall enter the name of the elector on the registry list.

(2) Except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, if a mailed application is postmarked, or if a delivered application is received in the office of the registrars of voters, after the fourteenth day before an election or after the fifth day before a primary, the privileges of an elector shall not attach until the day after such election or primary, as the case may be.

(3) If an application is received after the fourteenth day before an election or after the fifth day before a primary by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or by a voter registration agency, [described in section 9-23n,] the privileges of an elector shall not attach until the day after the election or primary, as the case may be, or on the day the registrar approves it, whichever is later.

(4) If on the day of an election or primary, the name of an applicant does not appear on the official check list, such applicant may present a notice of acceptance received through the mail to the moderator at the polls, after which the registrar or assistant registrar, upon notice to the registrar, shall add such person's name and address to the official check list on such day and the person shall be allowed to vote if otherwise eligible to vote.

(e) A registration application filed under this section shall be rejected if the application (1) has not been signed or dated by the applicant or the authorized agent of the applicant pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, (2) does not indicate the applicant's date of birth or bona fide residence, (3) does not indicate United States citizenship, or (4) is determined by the Secretary of the State to be substantially defective. No registration application filed under this section shall be rejected if the application fails to provide the applicant's Social Security number or the zip code of the applicant's bona fide residence.

(f) Upon admission of an applicant under subsection (d) of this section, who indicated on his registration application that he changed residence since voting last in Connecticut, the registrar shall notify the registrar who accepted the voter's last registration, and the registrar in the voter's place of last residence, if different. Notification shall be made upon a form prescribed by the Secretary of the State. A registrar receiving such a notification shall delete the elector's name from the registry list.

(g) All provisions of the general statutes relating to electors, which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this section, shall apply to electors admitted under the provisions of this section.

(h) The Secretary of the State may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to carry out the purposes of this section and section 9-23h.

Sec. 2. Section 9-23n of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

[Public] (a) As used in this section, "voter registration agency" means (1) public assistance offices, [and] (2) all offices in the state that provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities, (3) libraries that are open to the public, and (4) such other appropriate offices as the [secretary] Secretary of the State shall designate in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, P.L. 103-31, as amended from time to time. [, shall be voter registration agencies and shall: (1) Distribute]

(b) Voter registration agencies shall (1) distribute mail voter registration application forms, (2) assist applicants for such assistance or services in completing voter registration application forms, except for applicants who refuse such assistance, and (3) accept completed voter registration application forms and forthwith transmit such forms to the registrars of voters of the town of voting residence of the applicants. If a registration application is accepted within five days before the last day for registration to vote in a regular election, the application shall be transmitted to the registrars of voters of the town of voting residence of the applicant not later than five days after the date of acceptance. The voter registration agency shall indicate on the completed mail voter registration application form, without indicating the identity of the voter registration agency, the date of its acceptance by such agency, to ensure that any eligible applicant is registered to vote in an election if it is received by the registration agency by the last day for registration to vote in an election. If a state-funded program primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities provides services to a person with a disability at the person's home, the agency shall provide such voter registration services at the person's home. The procedures in subsections (c), (d), (f) and (g) of section 9-23g, as amended by this act, [which] that are not inconsistent with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, P.L. 103-31, as amended from time to time, shall apply to applications made under this section. Officials and employees of such voter registration agencies are not admitting officials, as defined in section 9-17a, and may not restore, under the provisions of section 9-46a, electoral privileges of persons convicted of a felony.

Sec. 3. Section 9-23o of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

A voter registration agency, [described] as defined in section 9-23n, as amended by this act, shall comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, P.L. 103-31, as amended from time to time, and shall distribute with each application for service or assistance provided by the agency, and with each recertification, renewal or change of address form relating to such service or assistance a mail voter registration application form approved by the Secretary of the State unless the applicant declines to register to vote pursuant to the provisions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, P.L. 103-31, as amended from time to time. Such declination shall be in writing, except in the case of an application for service or assistance provided by a library, or a recertification, renewal or change of address form relating to such library service or assistance. Such voter registration agency shall provide each applicant to register to vote the same degree of assistance with regard to the completion of the registration application form as is provided by the agency with regard to the completion of its own forms, unless the applicant refuses such assistance.

Sec. 4. (NEW) Each public institution of higher education shall (1) distribute mail voter registration application forms, and (2) assist applicants who request assistance in completing voter registration application forms.

Sec. 5. Section 9-35 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The registrars, on the Tuesday of the fifth week before each regular election, shall be in session for the purpose of completing a correct list of all electors who will be entitled to vote at such election. Such registry list shall consist of an active registry list and an inactive registry list. Such session shall be held during such hours between nine o'clock a.m. and five o'clock p.m. as the registrars find necessary to complete the list. Notice of such session shall be given at least five days before the session by publication in a newspaper having a circulation in such municipality, if any, and by posting on the signpost therein, if any, or at some other exterior place near the office of the town clerk. At such session and on any day except on the day of an election or primary, the registrars shall remove from the list the name of each elector who has died, who has been disfranchised or who has confirmed in writing that the elector has moved out of the municipality, except electors entitled to remain on such list under the provisions of this chapter. An elector shall be deemed to have confirmed in writing that the elector has moved out of the municipality if (1) the elector has submitted a change of address form for purposes of a state motor vehicle operator's license, unless the elector states on the form that the change of address is not for voter registration purposes, (2) the elector has submitted a change of address form to a voter registration agency, [described] as defined in section 9-23n, as amended by this act, and such agency has provided such change of address to the registrars of voters, or (3) the registrars of voters have received a cancellation of previous registration from any other election official indicating that such elector has registered as an elector outside such municipality. Whenever the registrars of voters of a town remove from the registry list the name of an elector who has submitted a change of address to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or a voter registration agency under subdivision (1) or (2) of this section, indicating that the elector has moved out of such town, the registrars shall send the elector, by forwardable mail to the elector's former address from such list or current address in the new town, (A) a notice of removal, (B) information explaining how to have the elector's name restored to such list, which shall be in a form prescribed by the Secretary of the State, and (C) a mail-in voter registration application which can be used by the elector to apply for admission as an elector in the new town. If such notice, information and application are sent to the elector's former address and are returned undeliverable, the registrars shall mail such documents to the elector's address in the new town. The registrars shall enter the names on such list by street and number of the house, when the houses are numbered, so that there shall be entered on the list first, the street, avenue or road; second, the number of the house or residence in numerical order or, if the registrars of any town find it more convenient, by odd and even numbers in numerical order; and third, the names of the electors in such house in alphabetical order. The names of any electors who cannot be so listed shall be listed alphabetically in the voting district wherein any such elector is a bona fide resident. The registrars of voters may consecutively number the names on the registry list or may include voter identification numbers for the names on the registry list, provided such list shall comply in all respects with the requirements of law other than for the addition of such numbers. The registrars shall not use Social Security numbers for any such voter identification numbers. In any case in which the registrars have obtained reliable information of an elector's change of address within the municipality, they shall enter the name of such elector on the registry list at the place where he then resides, provided, if such reliable information is the National Change of Address System of the United States Postal Service, the registrar shall change the registry list and send the elector a notice of the change by forwardable mail and a postage prepaid preaddressed return form by which the elector may verify or correct the address information. If during the canvass the registrars determine that an elector has moved out of town and such elector has not confirmed in writing that the elector has moved out of the town, the registrars shall, not later than May first, send to the elector, by forwardable mail, a notice required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, P.L. 103-31, as amended from time to time, together with a postage prepaid preaddressed return card on which the elector may state the elector's current address. In the year of a presidential preference primary, the registrars shall send such notice not earlier than the date of such primary. If the registrar does not receive the return card within thirty days after it is sent, the elector's name shall be placed on the inactive registry list for four years. At the expiration of such period of time on the inactive registry list, such name shall be removed from the registry list. If such elector applies to restore the elector's name to the active registry list or votes during such period, the elector's name shall be restored to the active registry list. Such registrars shall retain a duplicate copy or record of each such notice in their office or, if they do not have a permanent office, in the office space provided under section 9-5a, and shall note on such duplicate copy or record the date on which such notice was mailed. In each municipality, any elector, upon change of residence within the municipality, may cause the elector's registration to be transferred to his new address by presenting to the registrars a signed request therefor, stating his present address, the date the elector moved to such address and the address at which the elector was last registered. The registrars shall thereupon enter the elector's name on the list at the elector's new residence; provided no transfer of registration shall be made on the registry list on election day without the consent of both registrars.

Approved June 3, 1999

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