A state proposal to offer early voting during the 20 days before official election dates would cost Cumberland at least an added $20,000, Town Clerk Sandra Giovanelli said this week. Calling it an “unfunded mandate” by state officials, Mayor Bill Murray and a coalition of mayors and administrators are readying opposition to this plan that will require hiring personnel and record-keeping challenges during one of the busiest times in Town Hall. Giovanelli’s $20,000 is based on the current wage paid for election clerks and doesn’t include the cost of renting space or other expenses.
Articles about voting issues in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island: Pawtucket officials demand answers after ‘historic failure’ on Election Day | The Valley Breeze
City officials say they won’t soon forget the “historic failure” of the 2016 election in Pawtucket, saying they don’t want to see the interminable lines and disenfranchisement of voters ever again. The City Council is asking the Rhode Island Secretary of State and Board of Elections for an explanation of what happened in Pawtucket, which saw the worst of the problems across the state on voting day. Councilor Mark Wildenhain said the problems were consistent all day, with people waiting five minutes to vote and then two hours or more to get that vote registered by putting it through the machine. In some polling locations, residents ripped up their ballots and left, he said. Police nearly needed to break up a fistfight at the St. Cecilia Church polling place. … Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said in a statement Monday that “the delays experienced in Pawtucket on election day were unacceptable.”
The state Board of Elections has authorized additional voting machines to relieve delays at precincts Tuesday, according to Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea. Each polling place began the day with one scanner machine for voters to feed their ballots into, Gorbea said. But high turnout in some precincts, combined with two-page ballots, caused lines to form, Gorbea said. Sometimes those lines stretched two hours or more, according to reports that The Providence Journal received from voters. The two-page ballots were problematic, Gorbea said, because the machines scan a picture of each ballot and then save encrypted images as a ballot security measure. This is the first general election with the state’s new ballot scanners. The old machines didn’t encrypt scanned ballot images into computer memory, she said. The Board of Elections authorized a second ballot machine for each polling place, as needed, Gorbea said.
More than 12,500 Rhode Islanders who used the “upgraded” Division of Motor Vehicles computer system over the summer to register to vote or update their voter information while renewing their driver’s licenses were inadvertently categorized as “unaffiliated,” whether they were or not. The state Department of Revenue director, Robert S. Hull, who oversees the DMV, said Friday that the DMV “was made aware” of the problem midweek, and is “working diligently with the secretary of state’s office and our vendor — SAFRAN MorphoTrust USA — to make sure that all voter registration information received through the DMV is accurate and up to date.” The vendor stated it expects to fix the problem by the end of next week.
Rhode Island voters will go to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for Congress and General Assembly and for mayor in North Providence and Woonsocket. Voters will notice a few minor changes at the polls this year, and turnout is expected to be light. … Voters will notice a small change in the way they vote: filling in an oval on their paper ballot rather than connecting an arrow. The change is due to new digital-scan voting machines being rolled out across the state in the primary. A portion of the polling locations will also start using new electronic poll books during the primary. The new wireless tablet-based system is designed to make it easier for poll workers to find voters’ names and eliminate the waits that can happen when workers have to pore through printed binders arranged alphabetically. Several more polling places will use electronic poll books during the Nov. 8 general election, and then the full rollout is scheduled to happen in 2018, Gorbea’s office said.
Rhode Island: Board of Elections fires embattled executive director Robert Kando | Providence Journal
With the primary election less than two weeks away, the state Board of Elections on Wednesday voted 4-to-2 to fire its controversy-prone — and twice suspended — executive director Robert Kando. After the vote, the chairman, Richard R. Dubois, told reporters: “There’s a history, but we’re moving because we want someone who is a little more innovative.” Effective immediately, he said, Bob Rapoza, the director of elections who took then-suspended Kando’s place during the presidential primary in April, would take charge as the acting executive director. “We just have to move on,” said Dubois, whose elevation to the chairmanship in June, along with the appointment by Governor Raimondo of two new members to the board broke the long-running stalemate over Kando’s future as the $145,994 a year head of the state board that presides over campaign-finance reporting, ballot counts and many other election-related activities.
Jim Vincent, president of the Providence branch of the NAACP, is hailing a federal appeals court ruling that strikes down a North Carolina voter ID law that judges say was “passed with racially discriminatory intent.” “Justice was served,” Vincent said Monday. “I am extremely concerned about voter suppression in this year’s presidential election, given how close it could be.” North Carolina is one of about a dozen swing states in the presidential race. Vincent said he’s unsure how Friday’s decision — combined with recent federal court rulings against voter ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin — could affect Rhode Island’s 2011 voter ID law. “Because it’s the least intrusive voter ID law, it may be the most difficult to overturn,” he said. But Vincent said Friday’s ruling bolsters his argument that Rhode Island’s law was based on scant evidence of voter fraud. And he said it underscores his questions about why Rhode Island simultaneously made it easier to vote by mail ballot, when mail ballot fraud is more common than impersonation at the polls. “The state of Rhode Island is in a state of confusion,” he said.
Rhode Island is acquiring 590 new electronic voting machines that will be used for the fall elections. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on Thursday unveiled the new equipment, which replaces machines from the 1990s. The Democrat says the vote-scanners will be secure and report results quickly because they use wireless technology. The paper ballot will be different from what Rhode Island voters have used for many years. Voters will now fill in ovals instead of connecting arrows.
Rhode Islanders with cell phone cameras would be able to prove that they’ve voted, via a selfie photo, under a proposed change in voting regulations.The proposal would modify a blanket restriction on any photo-taking or electronic recording in the voting areas of polling places, allowing voters to photograph themselves while restricting them from photographing other people, according to the Board of Elections’ legal counsel, Raymond Marcaccio. The proposed change reflects a recognition that many voters, especially younger people, want the freedom to take selfies.“It’s the way of the world for this generation,” said one board member, Stephen P. Erickson. “They grow up with excessive sharing. They’re gonna do it.” The proposal to allow selfies is among several changes entertained by the board, including a proposal that would allow bake sales in the vicinity of voting areas.
Rhode Island: Common Cause calls for ‘immediate improvements’ to voting in Rhode Island | Providence Journal
Common Cause Rhode Island is calling for immediate improvements to voting in Rhode Island following a primary election in which, according to the advocacy group, “too many eligible voters showed up at the wrong polling place, or waited an unnecessary amount of time to cast their ballot.” “For the vast majority of voters, yesterday went fine,” said John Marion, the executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, on Wednesday afternoon. “But we’re trying to achieve a process where we don’t see any problems and that’s what we are striving for.” On Tuesday, there were problems at some of the polling locations.