Secretary of State Gorbea advances on clearing old names off voter rolls

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Nellie Gorbea doesn’t just have security on her mind. She’s looking to save taxpayers money, too.

“We print ballots and referendum books, and all kinds of election materials based on the number of voters,” the Rhode Island secretary of state said on Wednesday.

At previous elections, voters signed a book to certify that he or she had gotten a ballot. Gorbea wants to get people off those voter lists who don’t belong there.

“We’ve removed 66,000 people from our voter list through a legal, appropriate way,” Gorbea said. “These are people that are deceased, or let us know that they have moved out of town.”

Gorbea said accurate voter lists improves people’s trust and reduces costs.

There are three major steps Gorbea’s office is taking to improve voter lists. First, the office of the Secretary of State will now be more vigilant in maintaining the Central Voter Registry. Rhode Island will continue working with “ERIC,” a 20-state Electronic Registration Information Center which checks and compares voter records regularly. Finally, voters are already being encouraged to make updates through the state’s online voter registration system.

The fourth step has the potential to make the biggest impact. It depends on all voters responding, though. The office will be checking its records with every voter by sending out postcards. Gorbea said it’s imperative Rhode Islanders fill them out and send them back.

“What is really important in all of this is that if you get a piece of election mail, just follow the instructions; help us keep those voter lists accurate by being part of the solution,” Gorbea said.