Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed an automatic voter registration bill into law Wednesday, making the state the ninth in the nation to register eligible voters when they interact with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Democratic Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea noted in a statement that such laws help update voter rolls and address concerns of election security. “Having clean voter lists is critical to preserving the integrity of our elections, which is why I made enacting Automatic Voter Registration a priority,” she said. “Automatic Voter Registration will help reduce the bloat in our voter rolls resulting from unintentional, duplicate voter registrations and help increase voter participation.”
As the nonpartisan law and policy organization Brennan Center for Justice explained in an analysis on automatic voter registration policy, the voting reform registers eligible U.S. citizens to vote upon interaction with government agencies unless they decline, and those agencies then send voter registration information to election officials. “These two changes create a seamless process that is more convenient and less error-prone for both voters and government officials,” the analysis explained.
Despite some Republicans’ apparent fears about the accuracy of voter rolls, automatic voter registration hasn’t been pushed by the president and his cohort as a key solution.