Analysis

Committee Recommends Changes to Voter Registration System in Rhode Island

In February 2015, the Rhode Island Department of State Transition Committee released a new report, “Restarting Rhode Island.” Under the direction of new Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, the report sets forth 20 recommendations related to open government, business services, and civic participation, including several changes to the state’s voter registration system.

The committee proposed that the secretary implement an Internet system to allow voters to register and update their registrations online. As of early 2015, 20 states have online voter registration, and several more are building systems. Another 11 state legislatures had bills authorizing online systems introduced this year.

Additionally, the Department of State plans to update voter rolls to ensure that they are accurate and up to date. More accurate rolls will save taxpayer money due to fewer resources—such as mailings, staff time, and the production of ballots—being spent to serve individuals no longer living in Rhode Island. 

Further, the Transition Committee recommended that jurisdictions replace outdated voting machines, update voting technology, and adopt electronic poll books.

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