PROVIDENCE, R.I. — This week, the Rhode Island Voting Access Coalition announced new polling showing strong bipartisan support for measures that expand access to the ballot for Ocean State voters.
The survey shows that, of Rhode Island voters who cast ballots in 2020:
- 86% believe that “making voting easy” is “important” (65% of voters say that it is “very important”)
- 66% of Republicans say that “making voting easy” is “important” (38% say it is “very important”)
- 82% of unaffiliated voters say that “making voting easy” is “important” (57% say it is “very important”)
- 96% of Democratic voters say that “making voting easy” is “important” (81% say it is “very important”)
The poll, commissioned by national nonpartisan advocacy group Represent.Us, found that large majorities of Rhode Island voters support provisions of H 6003 & S 516, a bill that will ensure safe and accessible elections. Every Ocean State voter would have the freedom to cast a ballot as they choose: whether on Election Day, during early voting or by mail voting.
The poll also indicated strong support for same day voter registration. The General Assembly is now considering H 5983 & S 569, a constitutional amendment allowing Rhode Island voters to correct or update their voter registrations, or register for the first time, on the same day they cast their ballots. In 2020, voter turnout in states with same day registration averaged 5% higher than in states without.
Key findings from the poll show that, among Rhode Island voters:
- 71% support early voting options
- 60% support allowing voters to request a mail ballot online
- 57% support “no excuse” mail ballot applications
- 56% support a permanent mail ballot voter list
- 61% support same-day voter registration
As Rhode Islanders and voting rights advocates agree that H. 6003/S 516 must become law, included below is partial coverage of Wednesday’s poll announcement:
“‘While other states like Georgia, Florida and Texas are actively enacting voter suppression laws, the Let RI Vote campaign is focused on safely and securely expanding access to the ballot for all eligible voters. These poll results show strong bipartisan support for policies to make voting easier.’
The advocates say, for example, that ‘Rhode Island has the earliest voter registration deadline in the United States. The 30-day requirement is a relic of an age of paper voter registrations and is mandated by our state constitution.’”
“‘We learned a lot of things about our country, both good and bad, from the pandemic,’ [Newport Senator Dawn Euer] said. ‘Many of the things that are outlined in this legislation are things that were done by executive order or by court order during the pandemic. They worked.’ And now, it’s time to codify those changes in law, she said.
“‘Right now, anyone can show up on Election Day and register to vote for the president,’ [North Kingstown Senator Alana DiMario] said. ‘So why shouldn’t they be able to do the same for town council, school committee, the General Assembly and statewide offices?’”
“‘Last year proved beyond a doubt that we can improve access to the ballot box while protecting the integrity of every vote,’ said Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. ‘At a time when many states are working to restrict voting options for their citizens, we must continue to be a leader in voting access by enacting the Let Rhode Island Vote Act.’”