H.R. 1 (2021) Policy Breakdown

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PILF to Rhode Island House: Voter ID Increases Confidence, Accuracy of Voter Rolls

(Alexandria, VA) – April 12, 2021: Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) President J. Christian Adams testified before the Rhode Island House State Government and Election Committee regarding HB 6099, a bill that would institute voter ID requirements to register to vote.

In prepared remarks, Adams notes that:

“When it comes to election administration and legal compliance, seemingly unrelated actions can have downstream effects on other aspects of our elections. H.B. 6099 offers a textbook example of how any improvement in one element in the system can create efficiencies in another. The bill’s voter ID-for-voter registration requirement may appear as just yet another example of the increasingly popular election integrity practice—but the downstream effects would continue to pay dividends with respect to broader administration concerns.”

Adams argues that lack of personal identifying information (PII) leads to negative effects on the voter rolls including not being able to positively identify and remove dead registrants.

“I’ve seen first-hand how lacking PII in significant portions of the voter roll can have a negative, down-stream effect on record quality. As I mentioned, my Foundation settled a federal lawsuit with our legal expenses paid by the Pennsylvania Department of State. The Commonwealth carried at least 21,000 dead registrants on the rolls going into the 2020 General Election and we weren’t seeing reasonable official efforts made under federal law to mitigate the problem. We eventually learned that their lack of PII in many instances directly contributed to their not being able to positively identify and remove dead registrants—so they sat—often for decades.”

Adams notes that according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s research Rhode Island leads the nation in percentage of registered voters with no PII.

“According to our research, Rhode Island actually leads the nation with respect to percentage of voter roll without PII – at 20 percent. One out of every five.”

In conclusion, Adams argues that voter ID requirements for registration will increase voter confidence and in the long term increase the accuracy of Rhode Island’s voter rolls.

“H.B. 6099’s voter ID requirement in registration will pay off in the short- and long-term for the better of all. Voters can act with confidence that their systems are operating with bona fide participants. Registration officials will have more reliable data to maintain their records in a timely manner. On a broader scale, plans like 6099 help to tamp down fears and disinformation shared among any groups unhappy with a particular election outcome.”

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) is the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections. PILF has brought lawsuits and won victories in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and across the United States.

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