Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea wants to protect voters' identities by removing birthdays from the state's voter rolls. But critics say this could lead to a pileup of redundant registrations.
This week, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would codify a decision Gorbea, a Democrat, made a few years ago. In summer 2016, she quietly changed what information is publicly available in the state's Central Voter Registration System by removing the day and month from the list of voter birth dates, The Providence Journal reported.
The bill, which so far is only supported by Democrats, would put that change into writing. While Gorbea says this will help prevent voter identity theft, the Journal reports that no such incidences of theft have been cited.
Opponents argue that keeping full birth dates on voter rolls helps parse out any repeat registrations or enrollments from people who are deceased. Rhode Island has roughly 790,000 registered voters, but past investigations by the Journal revealed there could be thousands of duplicates.