DMV computer glitch changes 12,500 voter affiliations

Rhode Island DMV

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Thousands of Rhode Islanders have had their political affiliations changed due to a computer glitch at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Target 12 confirmed Friday.

More than 12,000 voters who renewed their licenses over the past few months had their party affiliation accidentally switched to “unaffiliated.”

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea released the following statement on Friday:

“It has been brought to my attention that ongoing system upgrades at the Division of Motor Vehicles have inadvertently led to a disruption in their “motor voter” registration system. We have reached out to the DMV and their software vendor and have determined the following:

Starting on July 19, approximately 12,500 Rhode Islanders who used the upgraded DMV system and registered to vote or updated their existing voter information did not have their party affiliation transferred to the Central Voter Registration Database as part of their voter registration file. This resulted in their party affiliation being listed as unaffiliated, the system’s default. This did not impact their ability to vote in the September 13 statewide primaries.

On September 14, the DMV switched their online renewal process at RI.GOV from the old to the new system. To date, approximately 910 Rhode Islanders who used that system also registered to vote or updated their registration information. These registrations were not transferred to the Central Voter Registration Database.

No data was lost in either instance. We are currently working with the DMV, their vendor and local boards of canvassers to make sure that all voter registration information received through the DMV is accurate and up to date. It is my priority to make sure that all eligible Rhode Islanders can vote on Election Day. I want to reassure voters that this will not impact their ability to vote in the General Election on November 8.”

The DMV expects to have the matter resolved by the end of next week, according to a statement from Robert S. Hull, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Revenue.

“The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles was made aware at midweek of a disruption in the agency’s “motor voter” registration system. This disruption will have no impact on a voter’s ability to participate in the General Election on November 8. No data was lost due to the disruption. The disruption did not impact anyone’s ability to vote in the September 13 statewide primaries. We are working diligently with the Secretary of State’s office and our vendor – SAFRAN MorphoTrust USA — to make sure that all voter registration information received through the DMV is accurate and up to date.”