For the first time in recent memory many Rhode Islanders who went to the polls last November faced significant lines to vote. According to one survey the average Rhode Islander faced a line that was three times longer than in 2008. In the last several years a number of legislative changes have been made to restrict access to the polling place including shortening the voting day and expanding the number of voters at many locations. On top of that Rhode Island implemented a voter ID requirement for this first time.
Our own report, ‘We have to fix that,’ as well as that of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration have recommended some simple reforms that can improve the voting experience. On-line voter registration allows citizens to update their registration using a computer; making it easier for our mobile society to keep up-to-date and ensuring our voter rolls are clean. In-person early voting will allow citizens who cannot or do not want to vote on Election Day to cast a ballot in the same manner. It takes voting out of the 19th Century and into the 21st.