By Nancy Barrow

It’s very easy to register to vote in the State of Connecticut. Yesterday (Tuesday, September 26) was National Voter Registration Day and Connecticut’s Secretary of State Denise Merrill stopped by to talk to the Hot Morning Crew about getting registered as well as many other politically hot topics!

Nancy: Let’s talk Voter Registration!
Denise Merrill: Last year’s National Voter Registration Day was the largest voter registration turnout in our state history last year! This is mostly because we’ve made it easier to get registered in Connecticut; we have online voter registration–in about a minute you’re registered. And if you’ve recently moved, you should check to make sure you’re registered where you think you are.

NB: What happens if you’re removed from the voter list by accident?
DM: You’ll get to the front of the line to vote and will not be allowed. And that’s when you will find out. In Indiana, they took 500,000 people off the list solely based on the fact that they had not responded or voted in the last two elections.

In Connecticut, we have same-day voter registration so if you can get there and you aren’t on the list, you can register and vote that day. (With a valid ID i.e. a piece of mail with your address and/or something to identify you.) We’re lucky we live in Connecticut because that’s not an option in every state.

NB: Do you find that more younger women—and younger people in general—are registering to vote now?
DM: Yes and they’re running for office at the local level. The towns are voting this year and we’re seeing slates of new people running and winning on both sides of the aisle! Look at Bloomfield for example – a new slate of people ran for office over an environmental concern regarding a new water plant. Through that issue, they got involved.

NB: With everything going on in our country and how divided we are, I feel like people feel like they have to get involved somehow.
DM: Even with this NFL #TakeAKnee thing – people are expressing their right to free speech in their own way and that is the heart of our democracy – that’s what it’s all about!

Our country is based on protest from the suffragettes to the Tea Party, succession from Great Britain — that’s what our whole country is based on and we have the right to civil protest and the right to freedom of speech! It’s nothing about not being patriotic! I’m a daughter of the American Revolution and proud daughter of a veteran, but me kneeling doesn’t mean I’m not patriotic and I don’t love my country.
DM: I would argue that [taking a knee] IS patriotism!

NB: Donald Trump is a problem we need to get rid of. What can people do to fight back against Trump?
DM: Get involved at the local level and volunteer. Every town in Connecticut has a Democratic or Republican Town Committee and many are elderly now because younger people haven’t been as involved. So, show up! They will welcome you with open arms! Get involved in local issues and volunteering for stuff. So many people want to start at the top, that’s not the best place to start. Best place is in your own town with Board of Education or Planning and Zoning, and people doing things right where you live and make a difference

How can we best fight the Trump agenda and not let him get a second term?
DM: At least 10 groups have popped up, most are women’s groups, but not always – there’s something called Indivisible which is a group of just citizens who want to learn more about issues and they’re meeting all over the state.

NB: Every day there’s a new tweet. Take his phone away from him. Buck wants to start #UnfollowTrump.

Buck: If no one listened to him, it wouldn’t make a difference – imagine if he tweeted and no one responded? He’d throw his phone against the wall so hard!

NB: Back to voter registration! How do people get registered?
DM: You can get the info at! You can register there (you need a CT driver’s license to register online). You can also check your registration, where your polling place is, etc. It’s your right to vote – we should make it EASIER for people to vote, not harder. It is a national fight right now. I want to make sure Connecticut is still the leader in these values.




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