Rhode Island’s name change on track to be approved

VOTES TO APPROVE Question 1, which would eliminate
RHODE ISLAND VOTERS have approved eliminating "Providence Plantations" from the state's official name. / PBN FILE PHOTO/FRANK MULLIN

PROVIDENCE –  The unfinished count of the vote that could change the name of the state shows that so far 52.8% of voters approved the change, or 230,812 votes, and 47.2% rejected it, or 206,008 votes, as of 1 p.m. Wednesday,  according to the R.I. Board Of Elections’ website.

The state still has votes to count, including mail ballots. If the move is made official, the name of the state will change from the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to the State of Rhode Island.

Some see the word “plantations,” which is part of the official state seal on display at the Statehouse, as a symbol of the type of systemic racism that has led to protests across the country.

Others, however, have said they see it as a link to the state’s founding that’s worth preserving and feel it has been unfairly dragged into the debate over racial inequities since “Providence Plantations” referred to farms in Colonial Rhode Island that didn’t necessarily have slaves.

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The Rhode Island name change has been placed on the ballot once before in 2010, but was rejected by voters by a ratio of nearly 4 to 1.

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