Nearly 20 Percent Of Rhode Island Voters Don’t Live In Rhode Island

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Some 150,000 individuals on Rhode Island’s voter rolls are not Rhode Island residents, the state’s top elections administrator has found.

The Providence Journal reports that Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea conducted an audit of the state’s voter registry and identified some 150,000 non-Rhode Islanders registered to vote in the state. Gorbea says this group of non-state residents is primarily composed of citizens who have since moved to other jurisdictions or died and does not suggest widespread fraud.

“It’s not really fraud,” Gorbea told the Journal. “It’s really just inaccuracies.”

“There isn’t a silver bullet against bloat on the voter rolls,” she added.

The Journal previously reported that there were 781,770 registered voters in the state in 2016. As such, the group of non-state residents Gorbea’s audit identified account for 19 percent of all registered voters in Rhode Island.

President Donald Trump convened a commission on election integrity in May, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a hardline immigration restrictionist. Critics charge the panel is little more than a pretext to enact federal laws which stymie ballot access. Several states, including California and Virginia, have refused requests to cooperate with the commission’s work.

Still, Gorbea concedes an inaccurate voter registry jeopardizes the state’s elections.

“[H]aving clean voter lists [is] critical to preserving the integrity of our elections and ensure that elections are fair, fast and accurate,” she said.

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