The demand for mail ballots in the recent election shows the need to allow for early voting, Rhode Island’s secretary of state said Wednesday. Democrat Nellie Gorbea said about 17,000 traditional mail ballots were returned for the Nov. 6 general election, up from about 11,500 in 2014. She said nearly 11,000 “emergency mail ballots” were returned within 20 days of the election, up from nearly 5,000 in 2014. Gorbea, who was elected to a second four-year term, said she’ll once again push for a bill to allow early voting at city and town halls within 20 days of an election. The legislative session begins in January. Gorbea said it would make voting more convenient, secure and eliminate mistakes that disqualify some mail ballots. Voters would cast ballots in person just as they would if it were Election Day.
“The increases we’re seeing in mail ballots and emergency mail ballots point to the fact that Rhode Islanders want to vote on days other than Election Day and feel comfortable doing so,” Gorbea said. “And our system should make it easier for them to exercise their right to vote.”
A bill to allow early voting has stalled for five consecutive years. Some municipalities were concerned about costs and some lawmakers worried about changing the traditional methods.
Full Article: Secretary of state proposes early voting in Rhode Island.