Bring Same-Day Registration to Rhode Island

Rhode Island General Assembly members

All eligible voters who want to cast a ballot on Election Day should be able and encouraged to participate. Rhode Island's 30-day registration deadline is the longest in the nation, and it denies the right to vote for otherwise eligible voters who miss it or have errors in their voter registration information the right to vote. The Rhode Island General Assembly should add a ballot question that asks voters to allow the state to enact Same-Day Voter Registration: a proven common-sense solution that will significantly reduce provisional ballots, improve election administration, and already works successfully in 20 other states.

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Providence, RI

To: Rhode Island General Assembly members
From: [Your Name]

We believe that otherwise eligible voters should not be prevented from casting a ballot because of an arbitrary deadline. And we believe that our democracy is at its strongest when everyone participates. That's why we are urging the General Assembly to put a question on the ballot that would allow them to create a system for Same-Day Voter Registration in Rhode Island.

In Rhode Island, voters must register 30 days prior to an election. This is an arbitrary barrier that prevents and discourages eligible voters from participating. Not only does it keep eligible voters who have not registered in time from participating, but it forces voters who have errors on their registration – whether old addresses or misspelled names – to cast provisional ballots, which are often not counted. Rhode Island's 30-day voter registration deadline is the longest in the nation.

Same-Day Voter Registration allows eligible voters to register or update their registration on the spot – reducing the need for provisional ballots and encouraging robust voter participation. It is the practice in more than 20 states, including four of the six New England states. Many of those states have had Same-Day Voter Registration for decades. In 2020 more than 1100 voters were forced to cast a limited ballot only for the presidential contest because Rhode Island lacks Same-Day Voter Registration.

It's time for the General Assembly to put a question on the ballot that will allow Rhode Island to enact Same-Day Voter Registration.