Failing to answer the question, SoS Nellie Gorbea's misleading statement serves to deepen concerns about a cover-up of RI's federal voter law compliance.

Secretary of State’s Comments on Election Integrity Misleading and Inadequate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 1, 2017

Secretary Of State Gorbea Ignores Core Question

Multiple Fabrications Serve to Deepen Concerns About a Cover-up

Providence, RI – By failing to addresses the core question, by making false assertions, and by citing irrelevant data, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity called yesterday’s statement by Secretary Of State (SOS), Nellie Gorbea, misleading and inadequate.

The core question raised in recent months by Ken Block, and the subject of a complaint he filed with the US Department of Justice, is whether or not the State of Rhode Island is currently complying with federal election law (HAVA).

The statement (below), obtained by the Center, that was issued via email by Gorbea to State Senators and to other legislative officials yesterday, fails to address this important question. The Center has repeatedly called on the SOS office and the Board Of Elections (BOE) to issue a clear and definitive statement as to whether or not the state is in compliance with federal law.

To date, no such statement has been issued by either governmental agency. Instead yesterday’s SOS statement appears to be a purposeful effort to distract from this central question.

The statement also contains other fabricated, misleading, and false allegations, all of which only enhance the perception that election officials are looking to cover-up misdeeds from the public:

  • Neither Ken Block, nor the Center, has ever alleged that any voter or vote cast was “illegitimate”
  • Ken Block did indeed “approach” people in the RI government with his “concerns” before making public statements; but such officials did not respond
  • It is a proven fact that tens of thousands of RI voters were not lawfully registered after the 2003 HAVA federal statute, and that the BOE and SOS have systematically implemented rules changes that served to bypass federal election law

As such, the Center renews its call for an independent investigation and for the House and Senate Oversight Committees to hold emergency fall hearings to look into potential illegal registration and voting guidelines and practices. Last month, The Ocean State Current (The Current) published an analysis of a 2008 BOE rules change that removed an important section on the state’s application form for voter registration. Also last month, Ken Block published research about another questionable BOE rules change in 2012 that effectively exempts anyone who votes via mail ballot or via emergency voting from state voter ID requirements.

The Center further recommends additional items be investigated and that potential actions be taken, with regard to the state’s overall election process:
  • Executive order or legislation requiring Rhode Island’s Secretary of State to backfill PII information for the hundreds of thousands of voter registrations that are missing this information.
  • Review of Rhode Island’s “Motor Voter” and automatic registration policies to determine if they comply with federal law
  • Review of state’s absentee mail ballot, emergency voting, and voter ID laws to ensure they comport with the reformed voter registration process
  • Consider a constitutional amendment to codify appropriate reforms so as to ensure election integrity for future generations
  • State or Federal lawsuit on behalf of potentially disenfranchised voters, in order to assure prompt and clear action to cure any legal defects in advance of the next election cycle

In September, Block released 2016 voting research showing that every Rhode Island city and town had registered voters with missing personally identifying information, as required by federal law, in addition to his complaint to the Justice Department – both can be viewed here.

According to Block’s research, results from the 2016 General Election show that in every city and town in the Ocean State … at least 20% of all votes cast last November, were by individuals without such personally identifying information (PII) on record. In five towns, over 40% of voters had no listed PII.

 

By failing to addresses the core question, by making false assertions, and by citing irrelevant data, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity called the statement by Secretary Of State (SOS), Nellie Gorbea, misleading and inadequate on irregularities in Rhode Island's voter registration process.

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