The DMV voter-registration glitch has created a messy situation in a Pawtucket House race, where it has come to light that Rep. Jean Philippe Barros’ only opponent — Democratic primary challenger David Santagata — is not a registered Democrat. With the Wednesday, Sept. 12 primary only days away, the state Board of Elections has scheduled a meeting for Monday to decide what to do in this unprecedented situation where ballots have already been printed — and mail ballots cast — in a race that includes a candidate who was a registered member of the Moderate Party when he was certified as a Democratic primary candidate in Pawtucket House District 59. On Friday, the state Board of Elections posted an agenda that brought this consequence of the DMV snafu to light.
A total of 16,000 voter registration records never made it from the Division of Motor Vehicles website, run by RI.gov, to the central voter registration system, including those of about 1,400 newly registered voters and 3,600 voters who had changed some critical piece of their voter profile, such as their home city, address or party affiliation.
After the secretary of state’s office discovered the glitch last week, the Board of Elections voted to allow cities and towns across the state to update their voter files at the last minute, to make sure voters are not turned away from the polls on Election Day.