VRM in the States: Rhode Island

February 1, 2017

Advances in Voter Registration Modernization

  • Electronic Voter Registration: Rhode Island launched electronic voter registration at DMV offices in 2005. DMV clerks enter voters’ vocal responses electronically and collect signatures on an electronic pad. Voter registration information is transferred daily to election officials.
  • Online Voter Registration: Rhode Island launched online voter registration through the Secretary of State’s office in 2016. Eligible citizens with a state driver’s license or non-driver ID can use the system to register to vote and update their registration information.

Gains from Voter Registration Modernization in Rhode Island  

The steps Rhode Island has taken thus far have yielded increases in voter registration and financial benefits for the state. For example:  

  • During an April 2013 interview with Brennan Center staff, Rhode Island election officials reported reduced staff time spent processing registration forms due to electronic registration. The state has also experienced cost savings because it no longer needs to print and mail forms to DMVs.
  • In 2006, the year after Rhode Island implemented electronic registration, the registration rate at the DMV nearly doubled