Statement on Alleged “Loophole” in Voter ID Rules

Posted: Oct, 09, 2017


A little more than a week ago, Common Cause RI pointed out some serious misrepresentations contained in a complaint that Ken Block filed with the Department of Justice about certain Rhode Island voting procedures.

In his latest attempt to undermine, without cause, the integrity of Rhode Island’s voting process, Mr. Block today made an utterly false allegation that the Board of Elections created an “illegal loophole” in 2012 that allowed people to vote by mail ballot in recent years without showing identification allegedly required under the state’s voter ID law.

Despite Mr. Block’s latest impassioned cri de coeur, his allegation needs to be called out for what it is – completely untrue. It was clear in 2011 when the voter ID law was passed, and it remains clear today, that the ID law was aimed only at people voting at the polls, not by mail ballot. This was no secret. If he wants, he can go back to then-Governor Chafee’s signing statement back in 2011, which specifically included the fact that “Mail ballots will not require voter ID.”  He could also have attended the public hearing on the voter ID regulations in question, as the ACLU and other groups did, rather than make up totally unwarranted statements five years later about what was done.

Like others intent on suppressing voting rights these days, Mr. Block may think the voter ID law is not strict enough, but he should stop continually misleading the public about what the state’s voting laws actually say. The ACLU and other open government groups welcome reforms that improve our electoral process, not ones that rely on fiction and seek to undermine access to the franchise.