PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea today
celebrated the passage of Automatic Voter Registration during a State House
Library ceremony where Governor Raimondo signed the bill into law. Gorbea
championed the legislation sponsored by Representatives David Coughlin, Jr. and
Raymond Johnston, Jr., and by Senators Gayle Goldin, William Conley,
Jr., Erin Lynch Prata, Joshua Miller, Maryellen Goodwin, Jeanine
Calkin, Cynthia Coyne, James Seveney, Daniel Da
Ponte, Donna Nesselbush, and Harold Metts. The new law will improve the
integrity of Rhode Island voter lists by ensuring that a voter’s information is
up to date and accurate.
"I promised Rhode Islanders that I would work to ensure
that elections in our state are fair, fast and accurate. Having clean voter
lists is critical to preserving the integrity of our elections, which is why I
made Automatic Voter Registration a priority of my administration, Secretary
Automatic Voter Registration has gained bi-partisan
popularity across the country as an effective way to clean up voter rolls.
Rhode Island is the ninth state to enact such legislation and 32 states have
introduced legislation to implement or expand automatic registration.
"We must do everything we can to help Rhode Islanders
participate in and engage with government at every level," said Governor
Gina M. Raimondo. "That means bringing our voting infrastructure into the
21st century. I am thankful to Secretary Gorbea and General Assembly leaders
for working so hard to get this legislation to the finish line, increasing
access and opportunity for all."
In Rhode Island, eligible citizens will automatically be
registered to vote as they interact with the DMV. Those who do not wish to be
registered can easily “opt out.” Additionally, current Rhode Island voters who
update their address with the DMV will benefit from automatically updating
their voter registration information as well. This will help eliminate the
bloat in the state’s voter rolls resulting from unintentional, duplicate voter
registrations and data entry errors.
"I thank Governor Raimondo, Speaker Mattiello, Senate
President Ruggerio, our sponsors and the entire General Assembly for working
with me and for their overwhelming support of legislation that will further our
efforts to modernize elections in Rhode Island," Gorbea said.