Rhode Island is making national news by becoming the ninth state to pass an Automatic Voter Registration bill, which automatically registers eligible citizens to vote when interacting with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea has long championed AVR, saying it will clean up voter rolls and boost registration among previously underrepresented groups. “I made a point of saying that we would have elections that are fair, fast and accurate,” Gorbea said at a press conference Tuesday at the State House. She continued, “Of course, having a clean voter list is critical to preserving the integrity of elections.”Full Article: Automatic voter registration now state law | Johnston Sun Rise.
Articles about voting issues in Rhode Island.
They are all Democrats. But not all of the Democrats in Rhode Island’s highest elected offices had the same luck getting their legislation through the overwhelmingly Democratic-controlled General Assembly. In the year before the 2018 elections, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea scored a big one. Her push for early, in-person voting did not succeed, but the Assembly approved — and the governor signed — her bid for automatic registration of all potentially eligible voters who do business at the Department of Motor Vehicles, unless they decline to be registered.Full Article: Political Scene: Gorbea gets a win with voter registration law.
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.”Full Article: Gorbea says automatic voter registration coming soon | WJAR.
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.Full Article: Raimondo signs Automatic Voter Registration into law.
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.Full Article: Ex-elections chief Kando asks court to reinstate lawsuit.
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.Full Article: Federal judge dismisses former director's suit against state Board of Elections.
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.Full Article: R.I. House OKs automatic voter registration bill.
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.Full Article: Legislators consider making post-election audits law in RI | WPRI 12 Eyewitness News.
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.Full Article: Town leaders raising doubts about early voting proposal | The Valley Breeze.
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.”Full Article: Officials demand answers after ‘historic failure’ on Election Day | The Valley Breeze.
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.Full Article: Extra voting machines sent to some R.I. precincts.
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.Full Article: DMV computer disaffiliates 12,500 R.I. voters.
Rhode Island voters will go to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for Congress and General Assembly and for mayor in North Providence and Woonsocket. Voters will notice a few minor changes at the polls this year, and turnout is expected to be light. … Voters will notice a small change in the way they vote: filling in an oval on their paper ballot rather than connecting an arrow. The change is due to new digital-scan voting machines being rolled out across the state in the primary. A portion of the polling locations will also start using new electronic poll books during the primary. The new wireless tablet-based system is designed to make it easier for poll workers to find voters’ names and eliminate the waits that can happen when workers have to pore through printed binders arranged alphabetically. Several more polling places will use electronic poll books during the Nov. 8 general election, and then the full rollout is scheduled to happen in 2018, Gorbea’s office said.Full Article: Rhode Island voters to see new machines at polls Tuesday | Election 2016 Live | dailyjournalonline.com.
Rhode Island: Board of Elections fires embattled executive director Robert Kando | Providence Journal
With the primary election less than two weeks away, the state Board of Elections on Wednesday voted 4-to-2 to fire its controversy-prone — and twice suspended — executive director Robert Kando. After the vote, the chairman, Richard R. Dubois, told reporters: “There’s a history, but we’re moving because we want someone who is a little more innovative.” Effective immediately, he said, Bob Rapoza, the director of elections who took then-suspended Kando’s place during the presidential primary in April, would take charge as the acting executive director. “We just have to move on,” said Dubois, whose elevation to the chairmanship in June, along with the appointment by Governor Raimondo of two new members to the board broke the long-running stalemate over Kando’s future as the $145,994 a year head of the state board that presides over campaign-finance reporting, ballot counts and many other election-related activities.Full Article: Board of Elections fires embattled executive director Robert Kando - News - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI.
Jim Vincent, president of the Providence branch of the NAACP, is hailing a federal appeals court ruling that strikes down a North Carolina voter ID law that judges say was “passed with racially discriminatory intent.” “Justice was served,” Vincent said Monday. “I am extremely concerned about voter suppression in this year’s presidential election, given how close it could be.” North Carolina is one of about a dozen swing states in the presidential race. Vincent said he’s unsure how Friday’s decision — combined with recent federal court rulings against voter ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin — could affect Rhode Island’s 2011 voter ID law. “Because it’s the least intrusive voter ID law, it may be the most difficult to overturn,” he said. But Vincent said Friday’s ruling bolsters his argument that Rhode Island’s law was based on scant evidence of voter fraud. And he said it underscores his questions about why Rhode Island simultaneously made it easier to vote by mail ballot, when mail ballot fraud is more common than impersonation at the polls. “The state of Rhode Island is in a state of confusion,” he said.Full Article: Edward Fitzpatrick: Will N.C. voter ID ruling affect R.I. law? - News - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI.
Rhode Island is acquiring 590 new electronic voting machines that will be used for the fall elections. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on Thursday unveiled the new equipment, which replaces machines from the 1990s. The Democrat says the vote-scanners will be secure and report results quickly because they use wireless technology. The paper ballot will be different from what Rhode Island voters have used for many years. Voters will now fill in ovals instead of connecting arrows.
Rhode Islanders with cell phone cameras would be able to prove that they’ve voted, via a selfie photo, under a proposed change in voting regulations.The proposal would modify a blanket restriction on any photo-taking or electronic recording in the voting areas of polling places, allowing voters to photograph themselves while restricting them from photographing other people, according to the Board of Elections’ legal counsel, Raymond Marcaccio. The proposed change reflects a recognition that many voters, especially younger people, want the freedom to take selfies.“It’s the way of the world for this generation,” said one board member, Stephen P. Erickson. “They grow up with excessive sharing. They’re gonna do it.” The proposal to allow selfies is among several changes entertained by the board, including a proposal that would allow bake sales in the vicinity of voting areas.Full Article: Under proposal, R.I. could allow selfies in voting areas - News - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI.
Rhode Island: Common Cause calls for ‘immediate improvements’ to voting in Rhode Island | Providence Journal
Common Cause Rhode Island is calling for immediate improvements to voting in Rhode Island following a primary election in which, according to the advocacy group, “too many eligible voters showed up at the wrong polling place, or waited an unnecessary amount of time to cast their ballot.” “For the vast majority of voters, yesterday went fine,” said John Marion, the executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, on Wednesday afternoon. “But we’re trying to achieve a process where we don’t see any problems and that’s what we are striving for.” On Tuesday, there were problems at some of the polling locations.Full Article: Common Cause calls for 'immediate improvements' to voting in Rhode Island - News - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI.
Few political issues have drawn as much starkly partisan rancor in recent years as the subject of voting rights. Since the Supreme Court’s historic 2013 ruling disabling key sections of the Voting Rights Act, Democrats have accused conservatives of pursing a nationwide strategy to implement ballot restrictions that effectively block minorities from the polls. Of these new measures, perhaps the most controversial are new state voter-ID laws, which Republican lawmakers have aggressively pushed under the guise of preventing election fraud. While most of these laws have been passed in places where Republicans hold strong majorities in the state government, there is one state that has bucked that trend. Rhode Island, a Democrat-controlled state which hosts its 2016 primary election on Tuesday, has been a rare exception in the partisan divide over voter ID laws, passing a law in July 2011 that requires residents to show photo identification before casting a regular ballot. The law, which was approved by amajority of Democrats in the state legislature, ran afoul of the national narrative about voter ID laws, and has since been trumpeted by conservatives as proof that such measures are simply good-government policy.Full Article: The Strange Case of Rhode Island’s Voter-ID Law | VICE | United States.
Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is coming under stinging criticism for the organization and lack of polling places available for tomorrow’s primary in RI. Much of the criticism has come from those supporting Bernie Sanders that fear long lines will deter new voters. Gorbea has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Gorbea ran for Secretary of State on her platform of expanding access for voters. Her campaign web site promised, that she would “ensure fair, fast and accurate elections.” Her leading campaign priority on her campaign website promised,”Nellie Gorbea believes that democracy works best when people actively participate in voting. She will increase voting levels through public education campaigns, expand access to mail ballots and begin online voter registration to make it easier to vote. She will ensure that all eligible voters can vote.”Full Article: GoLocalProv | Secretary of State Gorbea Under Fire for Voting Access at RI Primary.