Photo identification is never required to vote in Connecticut, an important point to remember when some voters may have lost or misplaced their IDs in Hurricane Sandy and others may be confused by controversial photo identification laws in other states.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches have sent a letter to registrars in all of Connecticut’s 169 towns, asking them to remind poll workers of state law about voter identification so that nobody is wrongly denied the right to vote on Nov. 6.
“Many people don’t have government-issued photo identification and they need to know they can vote without it in Connecticut,” said Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of the ACLU of Connecticut. “This year, we’re also concerned about people who have driver’s licenses or passports but lost track of them in the hurricane.”
The law allows almost all registered voters to cast ballots after showing any of a wide range of identification, including a credit card or utility bill -- or after simply signing a form attesting to their identities. The only exceptions are for some people casting ballots for the first time in a federal election after mailing in their voter registration; acceptable forms of identification are more limited for those voters but photo identification is still not required. (The rules are more fully explained in the letter to registrars, which is attached.)
“The people least likely to have government-issued photo identification are the poor, the young and minorities, “ said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the NAACP of Connecticut. “The courts have blocked laws requiring photo identification in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, and we must be certain the same discriminatory standard is not inadvertently applied in Connecticut.”
Schneider said that the ACLU of Connecticut has heard from many voters who are misinformed. “We know that registrars and poll workers, whose jobs have been complicated by the storm, share our goal that no eligible voter be disenfranchised. We’re just asking for their help.”
To combat potential voter fraud, the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission created a hotline to report any irregularities at polling places.