By John McNamara
A wave of new voter registrations statewide may push New Britain enrollment past 30,000 for Election Day on November 8th.
One week prior to the November 1st deadline, there are 29,100 eligible to vote according to Democratic Registrar of Voters Juan Verdu’s office. In addition, unregistered voters may go to City Hall on Election Day to enroll and vote under the Same Day Registration (SDR) law that will add to the number voting in the Presidential election.
The citywide breakdown shows enrollment at 53% Democratic; 34.7% Unaffiliated; 10.8% Republican, and; 1.5 % other parties.
A Democratic Town Committee (DTC) task force reported last week that 4,154 have been added to the city’s rolls since June. Of the newly registered 46.6% became Democrats, 45.4% registered Unaffiliated and 8% Republican. The record-setting voter surge has been fueled by reforms initiated by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill that have introduced the “motor voter” option at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and a statewide system enabling residents to register to vote online. In New Britain several hundred new voters have been added on the ground through canvassing and outreach by the DTC task force led by Don DeFronzo, Mario Santos, Isabelita Cancel and Willie Justiniano.
Historically voter enrollment reaches its peak every four years in the presidential election and then falls off in subsequent years. DTC Chairman Bill Shortell said the task force will continue voter registration efforts and will work with incoming Democratic Registrar of Voters Lucian Pawlak to improve the annual canvassing of voters that occurs every year between January and April to maintain the peak levels being set this year.