Wesleyan Disenfranchisement Update

The Middletown Press reported on Thursday that about half of Wesleyan students who registered to vote in town might not be eligible to vote.  With ~450 registered, that 225 students who registered to vote who would be denied.  Although they haven’t enforced the rule in the past, the registrar says registering with a WesBox is a no-no.

Many students used a Wesleyan Post Office Box number to register, “Which isn’t allowed,” Republican Registrar of Voters Janice Gionfriddo said. Students have to use their actual dorm address, not a P.O. Box number, according to Gionfriddo. […]

There are no rules prohibiting students who are not a permanent resident of Connecticut from voting in the state, except they cannot be registered to vote in two places, Gionfriddo said. If they are registered in their home state, they will have to unregister there to register in Connecticut.

In order to register, students must provide a valid ID — which could be a school ID — and a piece of mail from their current campus address, according to Gionfriddo. The deadline to register to vote is Nov. 1, according to the Secretary of the State’s office.

The Wesleyan student body has registered 249 independents, 192 Democrats, and 6 Republicans.  Let’s not kid ourselves though.  While the entire student body does not seem too willing to sell their souls to the Democratic Party, it’s definitely safe to say it “leans” liberal and probably tends to vote Democrat heavily.  Many more students have registered to vote than usual, due to the efforts of not only nonpartisan groups like WSA, but ones like WesDems.  Interestingly, the Registrar of Voters is a Republican.  Hmmm…

It turns out, however, according to WesDem Gabriela De Golia ’13  that the registrations will NOT be thrown out.  Instead, the registrar is going through the WesBox registrations and fixing their addresses to the address of the place where you actually, physically live on campus.  The Wesleyan campus is split between five voting precincts, however, so everyone can’t just vote at the Senior Center as they have in the past.  For more details, 

The five precincts introduce 3 other polling locations – Snow, Macdonough, and Spencer Schools.  Students will be mailed their new polling location within a week, so check your WesBox for it.  De Golia also writes:

Student volunteers will also help provide information as to who votes where in the coming days to make sure info gets around.  The registrar has asked that, if students can, they should go to the Registrar of Voters (located at 245 DeKoven Drive) to confirm their campus residency.  However, this is not mandatory. We have written confirmation that students can show up on election day at their newly designated voting location and present their WesID, and give verbal confirmation of where they reside on campus, and this is enough proof as to their residency in Middletown.

Apparently, there are also rumors that various people who think that Wesleyan students should not have the right to vote in Middletown and WesDems fears voter intimidation. They have “written statements from the Office of Legislative Research of the Connecticut General Assembly and the Office of the Secretary of the State that students may be considered residents of the town where they attend college, and can therefore legally register in that town.”

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