System to register voters at DMV comes under fire - WFSB 3 Connecticut

System to register voters at DMV comes under fire

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The DMV has a number of problems, and has been plagued with long wait lines (WFSB) The DMV has a number of problems, and has been plagued with long wait lines (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A plan to get more people to vote in Connecticut is coming under fire.

Federal law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to help people register to vote, however the state’s compliance is a failure.

The Secretary of the State is pushing for an automated process, but some lawmakers are saying no, and that the DMV has enough to deal with.

The DMV has a number of problems, and has been plagued with long wait lines and a multi-million dollar computer system created big problems.

It got so bad that 3M, the company installing the system, was fired, and intense pressure caused the department’s commissioner to resign.

Republican lawmakers said that is enough reason not to add more responsibilities.

"The implementation of their computer system has been a nightmare. We don't need any more nightmares in the implementation of the system,” said Republican State Senator Michael McLachlan.

The state is failing to meet federal requirements to register new voters through the DMV.

When it comes to compliance, Connecticut is near the bottom. Less than one voter registration for every 10 driver’s license transactions.

"If we just comply with the law, we would be doing it sort of the old fashioned way. It would be a paper based system,” said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.

She said she wants to use technology that would automatically register new drivers to vote.

The DMV said “We undertook this effort with the Secretary of the State because it is critical to be in compliance with federal and state laws regarding voter registration."

Merrill said automation would take about two years to complete and wouldn’t cost a lot.

"This is really the wrong time, the absolutely wrong time to be engaging in more work that belongs with the Secretary of the State,” said Republican State Senator Toni Boucher.

Cost is definitely a factor. The DMV has already spent $26 million on a failed computer system.

Eyewitness News was told there is going to be a study to look at how this will be done. It is unclear how long it will take and what the price will be.

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