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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New front in the fight for the right to vote

By Bob Plain in Rhode Island’s Future

Related image
Charlestown's peripatetic state representative Blake "Flip" Filippi
President Donald Trump did something that pleased both Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and Common Cause of Rhode Island Executive Director John Marion. Namely, Trump shut down his controversial voter fraud commission.

“I was not surprised to learn that President Trump has dissolved his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity,” said Gorbea, in a statement to reporters.

“It was clear from the start that this commission was an attempt to distract voters from the real dangers in our election systems – lack of funding for modernization and security, including cyber threats from foreign actors,” she continued. “The commission was plagued with open meeting violations and transparency issues. From the beginning, it faced multiple legal challenges, including one from a member of the commission.

Gorbea noted she “refused to release voters’ private information and did not comply with the commission’s overly broad request for data.”

Marion offered a similar sentiment.

“It’s good the ‘Commission’ was shut down,” he told RI Future. “It was a misguided effort, based on the false premise that millions of illegal votes were cast in 2016. There are real improvements that need to be made to elections in the United States, but that Commission was doing little, if anything, to address them.”


Common Cause issued a report on Trump’s voter fraud commission in September that also echoed the comments of Gorbea and Marion.

“Instead of addressing real problems like Russian hacking and solutions that improve security and accessibility, the commission was always a partisan vehicle to justify President Trump’s baseless lies about why he lost the popular vote,” said Common Cause in a statement yesterday

“This commission was flawed from the start, led by the wrong people pushing the wrong agenda. We are pleased that the commission has been dissolved, although we are not backing down from any of our efforts to ensure that every eligible American can vote and have their ballot counted as cast.”

Local conservative politician Ken Block, founder of the so-called Monderate Party who later ran for governor as a Republican, was involved with Trump’s voter fraud commission. 

Block contends because he identified some 200 Rhode Islanders who are registered to vote at non-residential addresses that there could be widespread voter fraud in Rhode Island. Election officials and open government advocates routinely accuse Block of misrepresenting data for political purposes.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I hope Ken Block's list contained Charlestown state Representative Blake "Flip" Filippi whose address keeps changing. He recently been thought to have moved from Block Island (or maybe Lincoln or Providence) to a new house he bought in Charlestown. However, his recent Christmas e-card gives Block Island as his return address.

Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island’s Future. Previously, he’s worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.