In the near future, when you renew your driver’s license at the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles, you can also register to vote. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea answered our questions about automatic voter registration becoming law — signed by Gov. Gina Raimondo this week — which will allow people doing business at the Division of Motor Vehicles to also register to vote. “I pushed for it because it is a great way for Rhode Islanders when they update their addresses with the government that that address change is made across the board into their voter file,” Gorbea said Friday during a taping of “10 News Conference.”
Articles about voting issues in Rhode Island.
Gov. Gina M. Raimondo has signed legislation that makes Rhode Island the ninth state to allow automatic-voter-registration. The legislation championed by Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea would automatically place on the voter rolls anyone doing business with the Division of Motor Vehicles, and potentially other state offices, unless they decline. If the new system works as designed, it will update the central voter registration database, as voters change their home city and town addresses on the drivers licenses and registration, removing the potential “duplicates” from the voter rolls.
Robert Kando, the former executive director of the state Board of Elections, is asking a federal judge to reconsider the dismissal of a lawsuit that accuses the board of violating his rights by firing him last year. Kando filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell Jr. to reverse his dismissal of a lawsuit that challenged Kando’s August firing from the $143,000-plus position he had held since 2005. Kando argued through his lawyer Richard Sinapi that McConnell misconstrued the law in ruling that Kando didn’t have a right to a “name clearing” hearing because he had been categorized as an unclassified employee, who served at the pleasure of the board as his appointing authority. He faulted the judge, too, for failing to view the facts in his favor, particularly as to his arguments that he had been denied proper notice and an opportunity to be heard.
Rhode Island: Federal judge dismisses former director’s suit against state Board of Elections | Providence Journal
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by the embattled former state Board of Elections executive director that accused his once employer of violating his rights by firing him. U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr. granted the board’s motion to dismiss after hearing arguments at Roger Williams University School of Law in April. Kando sued the board in September, arguing that he was fired a month earlier without proper notice. He alleged violations of due process and the state Open Meetings Act.
Legislation to automatically put anyone who applies for a Rhode Island driver’s license on the state’s voter rolls, unless they opt out, cleared the state House of Representatives on Wednesday, despite GOP efforts to block the same practice at other state agencies with troubled computer histories. In the end, the vote was unanimous for the legislation championed by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, the governor and a long list of groups, including the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, Common Cause Rhode Island, Young Democrats of R.I., and the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island.
Rhode Island’s General Assembly is currently considering legislation that would mandate post-election audits. The evaluations are conducted in order to ensure that equipment and procedures used to count votes during an election worked properly and also to ensure public confidence in the results. According to the Secretary of State’s office, 29 states and the District of Columbia require a post-election audit; typically the process is done by hand counting the results, usually by a random sampling of precincts.
A state proposal to offer early voting during the 20 days before official election dates would cost Cumberland at least an added $20,000, Town Clerk Sandra Giovanelli said this week. Calling it an “unfunded mandate” by state officials, Mayor Bill Murray and a coalition of mayors and administrators are readying opposition to this plan that will require hiring personnel and record-keeping challenges during one of the busiest times in Town Hall. Giovanelli’s $20,000 is based on the current wage paid for election clerks and doesn’t include the cost of renting space or other expenses.
Rhode Island: Pawtucket officials demand answers after ‘historic failure’ on Election Day | The Valley Breeze
City officials say they won’t soon forget the “historic failure” of the 2016 election in Pawtucket, saying they don’t want to see the interminable lines and disenfranchisement of voters ever again. The City Council is asking the Rhode Island Secretary of State and Board of Elections for an explanation of what happened in Pawtucket, which saw the worst of the problems across the state on voting day. Councilor Mark Wildenhain said the problems were consistent all day, with people waiting five minutes to vote and then two hours or more to get that vote registered by putting it through the machine. In some polling locations, residents ripped up their ballots and left, he said. Police nearly needed to break up a fistfight at the St. Cecilia Church polling place. … Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said in a statement Monday that “the delays experienced in Pawtucket on election day were unacceptable.”
The state Board of Elections has authorized additional voting machines to relieve delays at precincts Tuesday, according to Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea. Each polling place began the day with one scanner machine for voters to feed their ballots into, Gorbea said. But high turnout in some precincts, combined with two-page ballots, caused lines to form, Gorbea said. Sometimes those lines stretched two hours or more, according to reports that The Providence Journal received from voters. The two-page ballots were problematic, Gorbea said, because the machines scan a picture of each ballot and then save encrypted images as a ballot security measure. This is the first general election with the state’s new ballot scanners. The old machines didn’t encrypt scanned ballot images into computer memory, she said. The Board of Elections authorized a second ballot machine for each polling place, as needed, Gorbea said.
More than 12,500 Rhode Islanders who used the “upgraded” Division of Motor Vehicles computer system over the summer to register to vote or update their voter information while renewing their driver’s licenses were inadvertently categorized as “unaffiliated,” whether they were or not. The state Department of Revenue director, Robert S. Hull, who oversees the DMV, said Friday that the DMV “was made aware” of the problem midweek, and is “working diligently with the secretary of state’s office and our vendor — SAFRAN MorphoTrust USA — to make sure that all voter registration information received through the DMV is accurate and up to date.” The vendor stated it expects to fix the problem by the end of next week.