Wilton gains 447 new voters

Wilton has seen a 4% increase in registered voters since last August. As of Wednesday, Aug. 17, there were 11,698 registered voters in town — 447 more than there were on Aug. 12 of last year.

There are 4,219 registered Republicans, 3,284 registered Democrats, 4,131 unaffiliated voters, and 64 registered as other. Last August, Wilton had 4,056 Republicans, 2,904 Democrats, 4,230 unaffiliated and 61 other voters.

At 13%, the Democratic Party saw the highest increase in registered Wilton voters over the last year, followed by other voters (5%) and Republicans (4%). Unaffiliated voters dropped 2% since 2015.

Online registration

Earlier this year , Wilton’s registrars of voters — Democrat Carole Young-Kleinfeld and Republican Tina Gardner —  set up a computer in their town hall office for people to use to access the state’s online voter registration system, voterregistration.ct.gov .

The online voter registration system launched in 2014 and allows Connecticut residents to not only register to vote, but also change their party affiliations and addresses. All that’s needed is a valid Connecticut driver's license, permit, or photo ID card.

Young-Kleinfeld said voters of all ages who walk into the office “almost always use” the dedicated computer kiosk for online registration.

“Lately, many of our new voters who walk in are young, going off to college and seem to feel very comfortable with using that system,” she said.

Young-Kleinfeld said the registration shows up in the town’s system “within seconds of registering online,” and she and Gardner are able to show newly registered voters “exactly what a completed voter registration card looks like when it comes in online,” as well as their digital signature from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The registrars also explain to new voters the process of getting an absentee ballot from the town clerk and answer “any other questions they might have about voting,” said Young-Kleinfeld.

“It’s a nice feeling to be able to speak personally with some of our new voters,” she said. “However, since voters can use the online system from home, their tablets or their smartphones, voters of all ages are taking advantage of that convenience.”

DMV registration

In May, Connecticut introduced a new  motor-voter registration system through the DMV, designed to automatically register eligible citizens who go to DMV for license or state-issued identification card services.

Since the launch of the DMV system, Young-Kleinfeld said, she has been “surprised at the number of voter registrations coming in.”

On Aug. 17 alone, Young-Kleinfeld said, Wilton’s registrars of voters received 20 new voter registration applications.

“We transferred eight voters to their new towns for registration, corresponded with several overseas voters, and made several in-town changes of various kinds for Wilton voters,” she said. “That’s a lot of activity for one day in our office.”

Election season

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and Wilton’s registrars urge potential Wilton voters to register as soon as possible — either by mail, online, or in-person at town hall, 238 Danbury Road.

“Don’t delay,” said Young-Kleinfeld. “Although Connecticut law allows new Wilton residents to register and vote on Election Day at town hall, we’re sure that there will be long waiting lines there because of the extra time required by the validation and approval process.”

Every presidential election season is “extremely busy” for Wilton’s registrars, said Young-Kleinfeld, “and this one is no exception.”

“We’re already recruiting poll workers, scheduling October training sessions for them, scheduling voting sessions at our town’s residential facilities in October, getting our voting machines ready, and receiving training ourselves in a new election night reporting system,” she said.

Gardner said the presidential registration season is “very lively” and with her term as registrar ending Jan. 3, 2017, she is looking forward to this year’s election.

In order to register to vote in Connecticut, a person must be a United States citizen, Connecticut resident, and at least 17 years old. They must be 18 years old on or before Election Day.

Voting and polling place information for Wilton residents is available at www.wiltonct.org/departments/voter/voter.html.