Department of Motor Vehicles Cannot Handle More Burdens

May 25, 2016

Republicans Say State Should Enforce Motor Voter Laws without Implementing New ‘Automatic’ System

Hartford –To comply with federal motor voter laws, Connecticut Senate Republicans today proposed a plan to help ensure current state voter registration laws are enforced without placing added burdens on the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Republican proposal is an alternative to the costly ‘automatic’ motor voter registration system proposed by the Secretary of the State. Instead of pursuing the automatic computer system, which failed to garner legislative approval and was initially met with opposition by the DMV due to its cost and customer service challenges, Republicans are proposing the DMV and Secretary of the State work together to enforce the current motor voter registration system with new protocols.


“The problem is not that we don’t have a system. The problem is that the departments do not follow the system,” said State Senator Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury), the ranking member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. “The DMV is required to offer a voter registration form to everyone and send these forms to town registrars. But this does not always happen. Voter registration applications are not always offered to every person and often applications get filled out and sit in a bin at the DMV instead of getting mailed to the town registrar.”

To enforce proper communication between the DMV and town registrars, Republicans are proposing a system in which the DMV would mail all completed voter registration applications to the Secretary of the State’s office. There will be a memorandum of understanding that the Secretary’s office will be responsible for distributing forms to the appropriate town registrars or inputting the information into the Secretary’s online system, whichever is more effective and efficient for her office. This will remove the burden from the DMV where applications often fall through the cracks and instead put the onus on the Secretary of the State’s Office, which is the more appropriate agency to manage compliance with national motor voter laws. A similar process could also be used to share change of address forms with the Secretary of the State’s Office.


“The DMV in Connecticut cannot even handle its own job currently. Putting more burdens on the department, especially technical burdens at a time when their computer system is unfinished and the state’s budget is already strapped, is not smart. There are ways to comply with the law and encourage voter registration utilizing available resources and not spending millions of dollars and years working on a new system that is likely to cause more problems,” said Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), ranking member of the Transportation Committee.

“The Secretary of the State’s plan would be extremely costly and, by the looks of the DMV’s repeated technical issues, not very reliable. How can we expect the DMV to take on any new projects when they still haven’t fixed the countless problems they already face? They need to get their house in order,” said Senator McLachlan.

Photos from press conference attached.