Connecticut’s new voter law bucks national trend

Khalil Abdullah | 5/23/2012, 8:31 a.m.

“We have 169 mostly small towns running the elections,” she said, and the image of an “antiquated system with little old ladies crossing off names in pencil” persists. As to the implementation of EDR, Merrill’s team spoke at length to election officials and peers in Wisconsin on “how the mechanics work on the ground.”

Merrill’s commitment to EDR gained renewed vigor after she attended her first National Association of Secretaries of State meeting in 2011, winding up on a committee examining voting policies alongside newly-elected Kris Kobach of Kansas. Kobach, who had assisted in drafting punitive anti-immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama, spoke on the need for additional legislation to more aggressively root out ineligible voters, recalls Merrill.

Returning from the meeting, she began to rally supporters, including Gov. Malloy, to the EDR cause.

“I had no idea at the time we introduced legislation that there would be this national move to restrict voting, and I see it as exactly that,” Merrill said.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, there are now 10 states that require a state-issued photo ID in order to vote. Prior to the 2011 legislative session there were only two.

Gov. Malloy, at an April press conference with legislators from the state’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, criticized the tilt toward increased restrictions. “No one, five or six years ago, or even three years ago, would have guessed that states would be taking up laws to limit access to voting,” he said.

As to the campaign’s motive, his judgment was harsh. “I will go so far as to say racist in its intent.”

New America Media