View the complete text of Act 47

ACT NO. 47
(S.189)

Voter Registration

This act retains the current methods of applying for additions to the checklist, but further facilitates voter registration by requiring the department of motor vehicles and agencies designated by the secretary of state to distribute and accept voter registration applications. With respect to the department of motor vehicles (DMV), all applications for, or renewal of, a motor vehicle driver’s license will also serve as a simultaneous application to register to vote unless the applicant declines to sign the voter registration portion of the application. Voter registrationagencies (VRA) include state offices that provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities and state offices that provide public assistance. These state agencies must distribute voter registration application forms in connection with applications for services or assistance provided by the agency and must assist an applicant with completing the form, unless the applicant refuses such assistance. Voter registration applications received by DMV and VRAs will be forwarded to the secretary of state, who in return will forward them to the board of civil authority of the applicant’s town of residence.

The act retains the current deadline for closing a checklist, but changes the rules for determining whether an applicant has met the "second Saturday preceding the day of the election" deadline. A voter registration application will be accepted as timely if it is postmarked on or before the deadline or submitted or accepted by DMV or a VRA on or before the deadline.

The current system of systematic purging in odd-numbered years will continue and all purging undertaken by a town must be completed at least 90 days before an election. The act makes significant changes in the purging process. The most significant of these changes is the provision that a person who fails to return a pre-addressed, postage paid card sent by the board of civil authority to confirm the voter’s continued residence within the municipality may not be removed from the checklist until the day after the second general election from the date the card was sent to the voter. A voter who fails to respond to the inquiry may not vote during the period prior to removal from the checklist. However, if the voter continues to reside within the municipality and he or she appears at the appropriate polling place during this period and affirms, orally or in writing, his or her current address, the voter’s correct address will be noted in the checklist and he or she will be permitted to vote.

Effective Date: July 1, 1997