Automatic voter registration passes General Assembly
STATE HOUSE – Rep. David A. Coughlin (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) and Sen. Gayle L. Goldin’s (D-Dist. 3, Providence) legislation (2017-H 5702A / 2017-S 0770A) that will allow people to automatically register to vote when applying for a driver's license, its renewal or a personal identification document passed the General Assembly tonight.
“This legislation will create a seamless and efficient process that is more convenient and less error-prone for both voters and government officials when it comes to voter registration. It will increase registration and participation rates, cleanse the voting rolls, make voting more convenient, and reduce the potential for voter fraud, all while lowering costs for the taxpayers,” said Representative Coughlin.
“Automatic voter registration is one of the innovations Rhode Island can and should institute to engage more of the public with the democratic process. It would make participation easier for first-time voters, and help reduce the incidence of would-be voters being turned away at the polls. True democracy depends on encouraging all citizens to vote, and finding ways to eliminate the roadblocks that prevent them from doing so. Automatic registration will help bring Rhode Island closer to that ideal,” said Senator Goldin.
The bill would require that the person certify that they are an American citizen and it would also require the intent to provide false voting registration information before a person can be criminally prosecuted.
The act would take effect 30 days after the administrator of the DMV certifies in writing to the General Assembly that the Rhode Island Motor Vehicle Licensing System (RIMS) computer system is capable of meeting the requirements of the act.
The bill now heads to Governor Raimondo’s desk for her consideration.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903