master lever

Scott MacKay Commentary
3:40 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Scott MacKay Commentary: RI Master Lever Myths

State lawmakers have been fighting over the master lever for years, but how much does it really matter?
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Eliminating the master lever in Rhode Island elections is picking up steam in the General Assembly. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay says getting rid of straight party voting may be much ado about not much.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives recently voted unanimously to end the so-called master lever, a relic of the state’s urban political machine past. A conga line of statewide elected politicians, from Gov. Lincoln Chafee down to Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, support this change.

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On Politics
4:40 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

TGIF: 12 Things to Know About Rhode Island Politics & Media

Welcome back to my Friday column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week via the twitters. Let's head in.

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Political Roundtable
4:00 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Political Roundtable: Salvatore on Providence's Finances, the People's Pledge, Master Lever & More

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Ward 14 City Councilor David Salvatore, chairman of the council's Ways and Means Committee, joins Political Roundtable to discuss the emergence of Providence's finances as a campaign issue; the impact of a "People's Pledge" in the Democratic primary; the soaring cost of growing state Medicaid enrollment; and the possible effect of eliminating the master lever.

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On Politics
6:51 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

House Votes 70-0 To Kill Master Lever; Paiva Weed "Keeping An Open Mind"

Rep Doreen Costa (R-North Kingstown) rebutted one colleague's concern by saying grandparents are "smart cookies" who can understand voting without the master lever.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Rhode Island House, in an abrupt change after years of indifference to the issue, voted unanimously Thursday to eliminate the use of the master lever in Rhode Island in 2014. Through her spokeswoman, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed said she's "keeping an open mind about the legislation to eliminate the straight ticket voting option from Rhode Island ballots."

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On Politics
8:50 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

House Judiciary Committee Votes to Kill the Master Lever

Judiciary Chairman Cale Keable reads into the record the names of master lever repeal supporters who left before they had a chance to testify.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

After years of opposition have failed to yield a response, the House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday evening to this year eliminate the use in Rhode Island of the master lever.

Critics have complained for decades that the master lever is outdated, confuses voters, and offers an advantage to the Democrats who rule the General Assembly.

In what could be an early win for Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, the full House is slated to vote on the issue Thursday. Similar legislation has yet to emerge from the Senate Judiciary Committee or be scheduled for a full Senate vote.

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Political Roundtable
4:00 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Bonus Q+A: Mattiello on the Pension Settlement, Tolls, Ethics, the Master Lever & More

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and guest panelist Erika Niedowski of The Associated Press join Bonus Q+A this week to discuss changes in the RI House; the proposed pension settlement; whether the House should vote on a proposal to restore state Ethics Commission oversight of the General Assembly; and much more.

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Political Roundtable
4:00 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Political Roundtable: Gorbea on Voter ID, Education + Why She's Running for Secretary of State

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Democratic Secretary of State candidate Nellie Gorbea joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss her campaign; Rhode Island's Voter ID law, the move to create separate councils overseeing K-though-12 and higher education; and the lack of bidders for a study on the impact of not paying back investors in 38 Studios.

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On Politics
4:48 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Ken Block's latest foray into outer political space

Are Ken Block’s 15 minutes of master lever fame up yet? Block, founder of the Moderate Party, losing 2010 gubernatorial candidate, computer genius and self-appointed political gadfly, has been campaigning relentlessly for an end to the master lever in Rhode Island elections.

Block has advanced a plethora of  reasons, many of them simple good-government ideas that likely resonate with a large slice of voters. He also pushes the yahoo side, weaving in corruption, the state’s economy and shadowy State House dealings by pols elected due to voter ignorance/master lever machinations.

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On Politics
7:42 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Block Says Master Lever Critics Will Raise Focus on Fox, Paiva Weed

John Marion of Common Cause of Rhode Island uses a prop to argue against straight-ticket voting, as Senator Lou Raptakis looks on.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

The leader of efforts to kill straight-ticket voting, Moderate Party founder Ken Block, says opponents of the master lever plan to raise their focus on winning support from House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed.

“It’s up to the speaker and the Senate president to bring those bills up for a vote in committee to get them to the floor, and now the public pressure begins to mount on both of those offices to do that," Block says. "We’ll be pushing on that very hard over the next month, month and a half.”

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Politics
8:33 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Payday Loans and Straight-Ticket Voting Under Scrutiny

Two state Senate committees will review contested legislation Tuesday.
Credit Kristin Gourlay

Two bills getting a lot of attention this legislative session will go under the microscope at committee hearings Tuesday. Lawmakers will be discussing legislation abolishing straight-ticket voting and restricting payday lenders.

Moderate Party founder Ken Block is leading an effort to do away with straight ticket voting, a practice also known as using the master lever. Block says the master lever sows confusion and gives an advantage to the ruling Democrats in the General Assembly.

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