RI voter rolls contain 189K extra names

New ballot technology

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Voter rolls in Rhode Island contain 189,000 more registered voters than there should be, according to a new analysis done by our news partners at The Providence Journal.

“I want to make sure people can trust our elections and that includes the accuracy of our voter rolls,” Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea told Eyewitness News.

Despite statements from presidential candidate Donald Trump, the state’s election is not rigged, Gorbea added.

In fact, Gorbea disputes the scale of The Providence Journal’s findings but said voters may stay on the rolls longer than they should because they’ve moved out of state or died.

“We are following federal guidelines and federal laws on the adding and removing of individuals from our voting lists,” she said.

John Marion of good-government watchdog group Common Cause said the federal government has plenty of rules in place that make it purposely hard to remove registered voters from the rolls, because it’s harmful to the voting process if someone is removed who shouldn’t have been.

Gorbea said officials are working to remove people from the rolls who should be removed, but it takes time.

“I absolutely will not participate in a purging of eligible voters. We have to be careful how we do this,” Gorbea said.

In an effort to clean up the state’s voting rolls, Rhode Island has joined something called ERIC. More than 20 states are involved in sharing their databases to recognize duplicates, to catch if people have moved to other states.