§ 17-9.1-7. Registration at the division of motor vehicles — Additional agencies.
(a) Every person applying at the division of motor vehicles for a driver’s license or a renewal of the license, or personal identification document issued by the division of motor vehicles, and who is or may be by the next general election qualified to vote, shall be registered to vote, or if previously registered, be afforded the opportunity to change their address for voting purposes.
(b) The application to register to vote must be offered simultaneously with the application for the driver’s license or renewal of it or personal identification document. Division of motor vehicles employees must provide to applicants for driver’s licenses, license renewal, or personal identification documents the same level of assistance and instruction with respect to the application to register to vote as is provided with respect to the application for driver’s licenses, renewal of the license, or personal identification documents; provided, that one signature may be sufficient on the application for driver’s license, renewal of the license, or personal identification document and the application to register to vote. The applicant shall be afforded the opportunity to decline to register to vote. If previously registered, the applicant shall be afforded the opportunity to change his or her address for voting purposes. In order to protect the privacy of those who do not wish to register to vote for any reason, the failure of an applicant for a driver’s license or renewal of it or a personal identification document to register to vote may not be used for any purposes other than to determine the person’s voter registration status.
(c)(1) The voter registration application shall contain the registrant’s name, residence address, mailing address if different from residence address, date of birth, and registrant’s signature and date of affixation of signature, and may include any other information, certifications, and declarations, including those made under the penalty of perjury, that may be required by the state board in order to administer a single and unified system of voter registration in accordance with applicable state and federal laws that shall enable duly registered voters to vote in all elections in their respective voting districts including, elections for federal officers. The voter registration application must also include, in print identical to that used in the attestation portion of the form, the following:
(i) The penalties provided by law for submitting a false voter registration;
(ii) A statement that, if the applicant declines to register to vote, his or her decision will remain confidential and be used only for voter registration purposes; and
(iii) A statement that, if the applicant does register to vote, information regarding the office or branch of the division of motor vehicles to which the application was submitted will remain confidential, to be used only for voter registration purposes.
(2) It shall be the responsibility of the division of motor vehicles to print and to have available at all times a sufficient number of voter registration forms in order to carry out the provisions of this section.
(d) The completed voter registration application shall be transmitted by the division of motor vehicles to the central voter registration system mandated pursuant to § 17-6-1.2 not later than the next business day after the date of acceptance by the division of motor vehicles. Transmission shall be made by electronic means as prescribed by the secretary of state, and shall be in an electronic form compatible with the voter registration system maintained by the secretary of state.
(e) Any person who has fully and correctly completed an application to register to vote at the division of motor vehicles is presumed to be registered as of the date of the acceptance of the registration by the division of motor vehicles, subject to verification of the registration by the local board as provided in § 17-9.1-25.
(f) Pursuant to § 17-9.1-11, the division of motor vehicles shall not transmit the voter registration of any applicant who fails to certify that they are a citizen of the United States.
(g) If a person who is ineligible to vote becomes registered to vote pursuant to this section, that person’s registration shall be presumed to be deemed officially authorized and not be deemed attributable to or the fault of that person. Notwithstanding the foregoing, anyone who knowingly and willfully provides false information pursuant to this section shall be subject to prosecution under § 17-9.1-12.
(h) The state board of elections shall have the authority to adopt regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this section, including all registrations taken at the division of motor vehicles.
(i)(1) In accordance with Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, 52 U.S.C. § 20506, other applicable state government agencies that the secretary verifies already collect documents that would provide proof of eligibility, including age, citizenship, and residence address, may follow the procedures for automatic voter registration enumerated for the division of motor vehicles as described in subsections (b) through (d) of this section.
(2) Any additional agencies that are designated for automatic registration must follow the rules and protocols established in this section for the division of motor vehicles.
(j) Effective date. The provisions of this section shall take effect thirty (30) days after the administrator of the division of motor vehicles certifies in writing to the general assembly that the Rhode Island motor vehicle licensing system (RIMS) computer system is capable of meeting the requirements set forth in this act. The administrator of the division of motor vehicles shall consult with the secretary prior to making this determination about the computer system.
History of Section.
P.L. 1994, ch. 171, § 4; P.L. 1996, ch. 235, § 2; P.L. 2005, ch. 204, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 345, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 226, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 321, § 1.