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Monday, June 27, 2011

Rhode Island among the least friendly states for voting

And the new Voter ID law just passed by the General Assembly isn't going to help our ranking....

Rhode Island was scored in a tie with Pennsylvania for 10th worst state to try to vote in a new report by Rock the Vote. Rock the Vote is a 20-year old non-partisan organization that works to bring young people into the political process by getting them to register, vote and get involved.

They have been closely monitoring - and fighting - efforts by Republicans and right-wing groups to make it more difficult to register and vote (voter suppression).

The report scored the states in three categories: voter registration, voting and preparing young people to vote. The fewer restrictions on registration and voting, the higher the score. Out of a possible 21 points, RI scored 6.3 and an overall score of 30%. Massachusetts and Connecticut did even worse, although the worst states are, predictably in the Deep South (South Carolina and Virginia).

RI Secretary of State Ralph Mollis issued a statement noting that 77% of young Rhode Islanders (18-24) are registered, compared to a national average of 58.5, and that his office is constantly working to increase the number of registered voters and election turn-out.

And of course, the state's poor score does not diminish the absolute pleasure Charlestown citizens experience when registering and voting, thanks to the tireless efforts of former Town Clerk Jodi ("Jo Bird") LaCroix and her able successor Amy Rose Weinreich. Hey Jodi - Tennessee came in #46 in this survey - get on it!

Author: Will Collette