Thursday, October 02, 2008

R.I.'s Election Violations

CBS News carried a story Tues. night on "voter purging."

"But, the new report by the non-partisan public policy and law institute, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law exposes troubling new insight into the process. There are no national standards and as a result, the cleaning up of voter rolls is not as precise as it should be and eligible voters are often wrongly removed. The Brennan report calls the nationwide process "chaotic," shrouded in secrecy, riddled with inaccuracies, prone to error and vulnerable to manipulation.

....Another study, by the group U.S. PIRG, released last week, also looked at the issue of voter purging and discovered that 19 states are ignoring a federal law banning systematic purges within 90 days of a federal election. The 19 states include battleground states of Colorado, Ohio and Nevada." (CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian)

Federal law prohibits voter purges 90 days before federal elections (The National Voter Registration Act ,NVRA, 1993. It also mandates that anyone removed from rolls for address problems, must be notified of such. If your name is not on the rolls, you must be given a provisional ballot. If the provisions of the law were followed, chances of voters being thrown off the rolls would be greatly reuduced. However, the law does NOT require that it actually be counted.

"Of the 50 states included in our survey, 19 states appear to be unaware of the 90-day requirement; the state statutes made no mention of the deadline and the election officials were
unaware of one." Yup, Rhode Island is one.

Recently Sec. of State, Ralph Mollis, appointed a Legislative committee- "Voters First" and intro'd lege. package of reforms. Wouldn't you think that being in synch with federal law might have made the list? Evidently not as Rhode Island law currently contradicts federal law (one of four doing so) by giving a different deadline. In fact, R.I. allows for voter purges at any time.

What is even more startling is that the Sec. of St. office was not even aware of the federal law. "The representative for Rhode Island 'didn’t think there was any deadline for systematic
purges.' (source)

Ironically, the State (one of 10) rec'd a letter this spring from the Justice Dept. requiring it to purge its voting lists under NVRA. Our last voter purge was in March of 2006 (source).

I asked the Sec'y of St.'s office for some info regarding the letter & the lack of compliance with federal law. Still waiting... But why should this office be any different than the Board of Elections? I asked them some questions regarding the electronic voting machines last year and ...still waiting.

Elections, voting lists are...like...really important. Aren't they?
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