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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

1 comment:

  1. HA! First I could not believe RI was among the least "friendly". It started many years ago with the "Motor-Voter" laws and has continued on. We couldn't ask people for ID, we register anyone and everyone, we go to the high schools, we register kids before the age of 18, people can register on line, at the DMV, at welfare offices, at Town Hall, via mail. What more can be done? Are we to vote for them too? That seems to be the only thing left. I maintain that people have to take some responsibility instead of the "you do it for me" mentality. I believe my protege has similar feelings on the matter (as we had discussed this ad nauseum). Ok, I am getting off my soapbox.

    As for my new homebase, I don't know enough about the system down here yet to comment on it. But I will say that when I went to get my new license, I did register to vote. My polling location is 2 miles away. The website is easy to navigate (for finding out who the reps and senators are, ballots etc.).

    I also want to say that I spent 15 minutes at the courthouse to get my license plates. Yes, Will, 15 minutes. Very pleasant people and I had many different plates to choose from. I chose a plate supporting the state parks with iris' on it. TN requires only a back plate front plate...Boston Red Sox :)

    You can take the girl out of New England but can't take New England out of the girl.


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