Rhode Island becomes ninth state to enact automatic voter registration

Rhode Island becomes ninth state to enact automatic voter registration
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Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has signed a bill allowing qualified people in her state to automatically register to vote, making it the ninth state to allow automatic voter registration.

State officials touted the measure on Wednesday, as the Trump administration's voter fraud panel gathered in Washington, D.C., for its first meeting.

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (D) applauded Raimondo for signing the bill the previous day, saying "clean voter lists" are crucial to the integrity of the state's elections.

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"Having clean voter lists is critical to preserving the integrity of our elections, which is why I made enacting Automatic Voter Registration a priority," Gorbea said.

"Automatic Voter Registration will help reduce the bloat in our voter rolls resulting from unintentional, duplicate voter registrations and help increase voter participation."

Gorbea thanked the bill's sponsors, who were both Democrats, and other members of the state legislature for the bill's "overwhelming" support.

The governor signed the measure Tuesday, according to the Rhode Island General Assembly's website.

The bill, which passed the House and Senate last month with bipartisan support, would automatically register and re-register Rhode Islanders to vote whenever they obtain or renew a driver's license, unless they opt out.

State officials touted the measure as President Trump's commission on voter fraud held its first meeting Wednesday, where the president kicked off the group's first meeting and addressed states that have refused to turn over voter data.

The panel, chaired by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was created to investigate Trump's baseless claims that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election.