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Eight Groups Send Letter to Board of Elections Askings for New Voter ID Rules

Posted: December 22, 2012|Category: Voting Rights

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Today eight groups, including the Rhode Island ACLU, sent a letter to the Board of Elections calling on that body to issue rules for implementing the state's new Voter ID law. In less than two weeks the new law goes into effect and so far the organization responsible for monitoring its enforcement at the polls has not set any guidelines. Without rules from the Board of Elections, during Rhode Island's next election our polling places could be thrown into confusion.

In addition to their responsibilities for poll workers, the Board of Elections needs to immediately issue rules for the counting of provisional ballots. Under the state's new Voter ID law, anyone without a "valid and current" identification is allowed to cast a full provisional ballot. If the signature on the voter's registration card matches that on the provisional ballot, the votes are counted. With an expected increase in provisional ballots cast, additional rules are necessary to make sure their handling ensures that every valid vote is counted.

Although the Board of Elections is exempt from the Administrative Procedures Act, we hope that they will make any draft regulations public and allow ample time for public comment. Without additional rules our groups anticipate the new Voter ID law will be problematic for Rhode Island.

The groups who signed the letter include the Rhode Island Affiliate of the ACLU, Common Cause Rhode Island, League of Women Voters of Rhode Island, Marriage Equality Rhode Island, NAACP Providence Branch, The Poverty Institute, Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, and the Univocal Legislative Minority Advisory Coalition.

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