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Automatic Voter Registration

Rhode Island Becomes Ninth State to Adopt Automatic Voter Registration

We supported legislation for automatic and portable voter registration, which automatically registers eligible citizens to vote when they interact with the Division of Motor Vehicles, unless they decline. Building off the success of online voter registration, Rhode Island can use technology to both increase participation of qualified voters and keep the registration rolls cleaner. Automatic voter registration is a bipartisan approach to registering eligible voters that will save money, and increase accuracy of the rolls and voter participation.

It passed with overwhelming support from both chambers in the Rhode Island Legislature.



Risk-Limiting Post-Election Audits

In 2017, Rhode Island became the 32nd state to require post-election audits, and the second state to require risk-limiting audits.

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Ethics Reform

Yes on 2: Restoring Ethics Commission Oversight over the General Assembly

Holding All Elected Officials Accountable

Previously, the Rhode Island Ethics Commission could not investigate or prosecute legislators for actions pertaining to their legislative activities. This inability of the Ethics Commission to investigate or prosecute was upheld during a court case. The Supreme Court noted that the constitution could be changed to grant such an ability. Question 2 provided the Ethics Commission with the authority to investigate and prosecute legislative activities. Question 2 passed with 78.11% of the vote, and restored the full jurisdiction of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission over members of the General Assembly.



Online Voter Registration

In 2016, legislation was enacted to create a system for online voter registration in Rhode Island and to join the Electronic Registration Information Clearinghouse (ERIC).  Eligible voters in Rhode Island can now update their voter information or register to vote online without going into an office or mailing forms.



People's Pledge

Common Cause Rhode Island negotiated the first People’s Pledge to reduce outside spending during the Democratic primary for governor.  The three major candidates for governor in the 2014 Rhode Island Democratic primary signs on, and we called on Republican candidates to take a similar pledge for their primary. The pledge committed each candidate to make charitable contributions to offset half of any funds spent on their behalf by outside groups.

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Separation of Powers

Separation of powers established, ending long-standing legislative control of executive boards

Common Cause Rhode Island was among the first to identify the problem created by legislators sitting on the dozens of boards and commissions in our state. This dual office-holding created numerous conflicts of interest and defied the basic model of government adopted by our federal government and the other 49 states. In the 1990s, it became our goal to put separation of powers in our state constitution. Common Cause Rhode Island’s members played a crucial role in the historic 2004 vote that amended the state constitution in four critical ways.

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Merit Selection

Established an open system for merit selection of state judges.



Legislative Branch Reform

Modernized and downsized the General Assembly.



Executive Branch Reform

Strengthened the executive branch through four-year terms for statewide general officers.



Ethics Reform

Created one of the strongest ethics commissions in the nation.

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