Hombre de Providence sentenciado a 32 años en prisión estatal por asesinato en 2017
65% of voters identified as having bad addresses cancel or change their registrations
Earlier this year, Ken Block submitted to the Rhode Island Board of Elections (Board)
a list of 224 votes cast in the 2016 general election by voters whose addresses
appeared to be disallowed by law. Examples of some of these addresses included
UPS Stores, public safety buildings, federal post offices, empty lots and commercial
office buildings that are not zoned for residential use.
The Board forwarded this list to local Boards of Canvassers to have the local boards
attempt to send a mailing to these voters, seeking clarification of the address.
109 voters responded to the mailings. Of these:
49 or 45% changed their addresses
12 or 11% were returned as undeliverable by the Post Office
9 or 8% cancelled their registrations
3 or 2.7% were determined to be clerical errors
The above actions affirm that the original addresses for these voters were improper.
Interestingly, 27 voters, or 24% of the 109 voters who responded, claimed that they
actually lived at an address that was not zoned residential according to online
property tax records. Some of these addresses included self storage facilities.
It is not surprising that 115 voters could not be contacted by the Boards of
mailings, given the non-residential nature of the addresses for these voters.
As a result of this effort, the Secretary of State’s office has added UPS Store
addresses to the list of addresses that are now rejected by the State’s voter
A deeper look at the voters who changed their addresses or cancelled their
shows some interesting patterns. We were able to identify 17 voters who cast ballots
from some of the commercial addresses as the owners of those businesses or the owners
of the property on which the business was located. In some cases, we were able to
determine that some of these voters did not have residences in Rhode Island, and
in other cases the voter changed their address to a residential address in a different
Rhode Island municipality. In either scenario, that voter was using an improper
address to cast a ballot in a jurisdiction where that voter was not legally allowed
The Board of Elections should now follow up on these results. In circumstances
where a voter cancelled their registration, changed their address or had the Post
Office return their mail as undeliverable, it is incumbent on the Board to determine
if the vote cast in 2016 was cast legally or not. Note that this is NOT an issue
of challenging the registration of these voters – these voters have taken actions
that confirmed that their original addresses were bad.
The Board should also consider additional courses of action for the 115 voters who
were not responsive to the first attempt at contact, given the strong set of outcomes
for the 109 voters who did respond.
«It is important to audit data and processes in order to ensure that our government
functions as it should», said Block. «It is especially important to do so when an
audit has not been recently, or ever, performed. Although auditing elections has
proven fraught, the results to date, which include the discovery that the State
of Rhode Island is in violation of federal elections law, demonstrate the value
of this sort of audit. We will continue to look closely at Rhode Island elections
and propose changes that address problems that we have discovered through our efforts.»