- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island has more registered voters than would be expected based on census numbers.

The Providence Journal (http://bit.ly/2fhzkXr ) reports the state should have 592,672 voters based on U.S. Census Bureau estimates of the number of adults and the percentage registered to vote in the 2008 presidential election.

But 781,770 people are registered, an excess of about 32 percent.

The percentage of excess voters is the highest in New England. Connecticut had the lowest at 10.5 percent.

Excess voters can wind up on the rolls when voters die or move out of state without elections officials noticing.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is trying to clean up the voter list. She said she’s safeguarding Rhode Islanders’ right to vote by continuing to improve election systems.

Rhode Island is working with a multistate consortium to detect people who move by sharing voter and motor vehicle information. It recently began online voter registration, which makes it easy for voters to change their addresses.

John Marion, of Common Cause Rhode Island, said the state needs to err on the side of caution, so no one who has a right to vote is denied on Election Day.

“But, we don’t want bloated voter rolls because they could be used for mischief, though that’s not particularly likely, and also because they cause cities and towns to incur extra costs and they can cause problems for poll workers who have to sort through excess names,” Marion, executive director of the government reform group, said Wednesday.

Marion also said cleaner voter rolls will give a more accurate picture of the rate of voter turnout.

The state can’t legally remove voters within 90 days of an election.

Since January 2015, when Gorbea took office, Rhode Island has removed 32,000 voters from the rolls, 46 percent of whom had died, and marked another 54,000 voters inactive.

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Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com

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