Rhode Island: Block’s ‘voter analysis’ debated before elections board | Providence Journal

With no one actually disputing the possibility that Rhode Island has for close to a decade violated a federal law requiring a driver’s license or Social Security number from people registering to vote for the first time, a battle of wills broke out Wednesday night at the state Board of Elections. The battle pitted elections board member Stephen Erickson, a one-time state lawmaker and retired District Court judge, against 2014 Republican candidate for governor Ken Block, who did a recent — and highly controversial — voter analysis for a nonprofit co-founded by President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon. Before a live audience at the election board’s Branch Avenue headquarters, Erickson and Block essentially acted out their running Twitter dispute over the complaint that Block filed with the U.S. Department of Justice late last month alleging violations by Rhode Island of the “Help America Vote Act (HAVA).”

Among Block’s contentions: that 143,000 of the people who voted in Rhode Island last year did not have personally-identifying information in their voter files, and 22,000 of the 143,000 were people who registered to vote for the first time after the personal-ID requirements in HAVA took effect Jan. 1, 2003.

… Block’s critics have tried to tie his recent run of allegations to an “alt-right” campaign to limit voting rights. “We know Mr. Block’s intentions,” said state Rep. Joseph McNamara, the Rhode Island Democratic Party chairman, the day Block filed his complaint. “He’s following the president’s lead conflating issues to create fear and distrust among voters about the legitimacy of their vote. This is classic fake news at its worst, and Ken Block is doing Rhode Island and its voters a grave disservice by his comments.”

Full Article: Block’s ‘voter analysis’ debated before R.I. elections board.

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