Secretary of State Gorbea leading efforts to clean up state voter rolls

PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea announced today key measures
that will clean up Rhode Island’s voter rolls. «When I ran for Secretary of State, I
told Rhode Islanders that having clean voter lists was critical to preserving the
integrity of our elections and ensure that elections are fair, fast and accurate.
We’ve been hard at work implementing state of the art technology and new systems.
Today, I am announcing measures that are cleaning up our voter rolls in full
adherence to the protections of state and federal law: (1) vigilant maintenance of
our Central Voter Registry, (2) membership in the multi-state Electronic
Registration Information Center (ERIC), (3) updates through the US Postal Service
Change of Address system, and (4) voter updates through our online voter
registration system. I hope to add Automatic Voter Registration to these measures as
well.»

1. Vigilant maintenance of our Central Voter Registry: A critical component in
maintaining the state’s voter rolls is the state’s Central Voter Registration System
(CVRS). Maintenance of the CVRS is highly regulated by state and federal law to
protect voter rights. The process to remove the records of those citizens who are no
longer Rhode Island voters is deliberate and time-consuming. Working with local
cities and towns, however, Secretary Gorbea has legally identified and worked with
cities and towns to remove nearly 66,000 registrations from Rhode Island’s voter
rolls since January 2015.

«Voters lead busy lives. It’s easy for a state’s voter rolls to become bloated over
the years with the names of voters who have moved or passed away,» Secretary Gorbea
said. «We have been working to identify these voters as quickly as possible and make
it easier for cities and towns to remove them in a manner that complies with very
specific state and federal laws.»

2. Membership in multi-state ERIC: Immediately after being inaugurated in 2015,
Secretary Gorbea moved to have Rhode Island join ERIC (Electronic Registration
Information Center). ERIC is a multi-state partnership that compares voting lists
and other federal records like the Social Security Death Master File. By December
2016, ERIC identified roughly 38,000 voter registrations for voters who may have
moved or passed away, or are duplicative in some way. In March 2017, the Department
of State mailed 26,000 voters who were identified as moving within Rhode Island and
8,500 voters who moved to one of the 21 other ERIC jurisdictions (20 states, plus
DC) with instructions for updating their voter registration information.

3. Updates through US Postal Service Change of Address system: In addition, the
Department of State is working with local cities and towns to reach out to
registered voters who have filed a change-of-address with the United States Postal
Service within the past two years. Roughly 53,000 voters who are registered in Rhode
Island will receive a mailing at their new address and their previous address. This
mailing will include instructions on how to update their voter registration.

«I’m making a call to all Rhode Islanders to join me in cleaning up our voter rolls.
Any Rhode Island voter that receives a postcard or mailing regarding their voter
registration status, should follow the simple instructions on the card,» Secretary
Gorbea said. «You can help us clean up the voter rolls while protecting the sacred
right to vote.»

4. Voter updates through Online Voter Registration: Last year, Secretary Gorbea
worked with the General Assembly and the Governor to successfully enact Online Voter
Registration. Online Voter Registration makes it easy for voters to update their own
voter registration information. Since its implementation in August of last year,
over 26,000 eligible Rhode Islanders have securely registered or updated their voter
registration information online.

Passage of Automatic Voter Registration legislation, currently under consideration,
would further bolster efforts by allowing the state to automatically update Rhode
Island voters’ information and register eligible citizens when they interact with
the DMV.

This summer, the Department of State is also expanding efforts to identify
non-residential addresses that may have been entered into the Central Voter
Registration System and notify local elections authorities of any discrepancies.
Rhode Island voters who wish to update their voter registration information can go
to www.vote.ri.gov to update their information online. Voters may also contact the
Department of State’s Election Division by calling 401.222.2340 or contact their
local board of canvassers.

Cleanup By The Numbers:

Voter Registrations Removed

Jan 2015 – Present

Deceased Voters

20,101

Duplicates

8,474

Moved out of State

5,638

Authorized Cancellation

1,469

National Change of Address

3,586

Inactive for two Federal elections

26,565

Total

65,833

Outreach to identified voter registrations

March 2017 – August 2017

ERIC – In state movers

26,000

ERIC – Out of state movers

8,500

National Change of Address

52,949

Total

87,449