Today 30 groups came together to announce their support for the creation of a system for same-day voter registration in Rhode Island.
The House resolution (H 5770) introduced by Representative Karen Alzate (D-Pawtucket) has a hearing before the Committee on State Government and Elections tonight. The Senate companion (S 608) by Senator Alana DiMario (D-North Kingstown, Narragansett, New Shoreham), will have a hearing at a later date. Both resolutions would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2024.
If passed, Rhode Island would offer same-day voter registration in all future elections, according to a press release from John Marion from Common Cause Rhode Island.
Same day voter registration has support of key election officials in Rhode Island, including from Secretary of State Gregg Amore and the Rhode Island Town and City Clerks’ Association. A full list of supporting organizations is available below.
“As Secretary of State, it is my responsibility to help build a democracy that works better for everyone, and right now, too many potential voters are being left out of the voting process because of outdated laws,” said Secretary of State Gregg M. Amore in a statement. “Our elections system is ready and able to transition to same day voter registration, and I urge my former colleagues in the General Assembly to pass this legislation and enable Rhode Islanders to enfranchise their neighbors.”
“Rhode Island’s voter registration deadline — the longest in the nation — is a significant barrier for thousands of residents who want to participate in our democracy,” said John Marion, Executive Director of Common Cause Rhode Island in a statement. “Our group is one of dozens standing up today and asking that Rhode Island be a leader on voting rights.”
“In the final 30 days leading up to an election, local candidates are still out knocking on doors and making every attempt to invite our neighbors to participate in making decisions about how our communities are run,” said Senator Alana DiMario in a statement. “I want every eligible Rhode Islander I meet to have the opportunity to take that moment of engagement and turn it into action.”
“Same day voter registration is a common sense reform that will allow more Rhode Islanders to participate in our democracy, particularly younger people, while helping us update our voter rolls,” said Representative Karen Alzate in a statement. “Rhode Island is one of just a handful of states that sets its voter registration deadline in its state constitution, preventing the General Assembly from modernizing our elections and making them more inclusive. It’s time we change that.”
According to the press release, a 2021 poll showed that 61% of Rhode Island voters support same day voter registration. Same-day voter registration is currently offered in 22 states and the District of Columbia, including four of the six states in New England. More information about the proposal and campaign can be found at letrivote.org.
This broad coalition of groups is led by the Let RI Vote campaign. Supporting organizations (listed alphabetically) include:
- AARP Rhode Island
- ACLU of Rhode Island
- Brown Votes
- Clean Water Action
- College Democrats of Rhode Island
- Common Cause Rhode Island
- Economic Progress Institute
- Every Vote Counts
- Formerly Incarcerated Union
- Housing Network of Rhode Island
- Latino Policy Institute
- League of Women Voters of Rhode Island
- National Council of Jewish Women
- National Education Association Rhode Island
- Planned Parenthood
- Providence Branch NAACP
- RIght from the Start
- Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence
- Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness
- Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights
- Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus
- Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council
- Rhode Island KIDS Count
- Rhode Island NOW
- Rhode Island Working Families Party
- The Womxn Project
- Women’s Fund RI
- UAW, Region 9A