Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea joins Bonus Q&A this week to discuss how the General Assembly impasse in June affected one of her legislative priorities; why her lobbying proposal didn't win approval; what she can do increase legislative transparency; and more. For more Gorbea, check her appearance on this week's Political Roundtable.

RIPR file photo


Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss a new study on the economic impact of truck tolls; whether her office can do more to police lobbying; and whether a new state contract for daycare workers should concern taxpayers.

The time for raking snow from the roof has given way to the delights of spring and inevitable complaints about heat and humidity. The General Assembly session is headed to busier times and other big issues are simmering. So thanks for stopping by. Feel free to drop me comments and tips at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters.


Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea has unveiled legislation aimed at reforming Rhode Island’s voting laws. Gorbea promised to modernize the voting system during her campaign.

The proposed legislation brings online voter registration to Rhode Island. Residents would enter a database that can be updated when people move out of town or out of state. Gorbea said that would reduce redundancies in the voter rolls.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea joins Bonus Q+A to talk about whether mail ballots are too easily obtained, what steps should be taken to increase disclosure by lobbyists, how to better encourage voting participation, and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea joins Political Roundtable to talk about what needs to be done to improve lobbying oversight; whether she'll move to oppose Voter ID; her reaction to President Obama's State of the Union address; and more.

Rhode Islanders Registering To Vote At CCRI

Sep 23, 2014

Secretary of State Ralph Mollis will join the Board of Elections and the Community College of Rhode Island today to register Rhode Island voters. The registration will occur between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at all four of CCRI's locations across the state. Mollis says because of efforts like this, more people are registering to vote than ever.

Joe O'Connor / RIPR

Major races are expected to be decided today, as Rhode Island holds a primary. The Democratic and Republican gubernatorial races top the ballot.  Voter turnout is expected to be decent.

Strong, that is, for a primary election, which, historically, has far lower turnout than the general election held in November. For Rhode Island that means only about twenty percent of register voters are expected to go to the polls.  That’s roughly one-hundred forty thousand people. But Secretary of state Ralph Mollis said there’s a chance turnout could be a little better this year.

Sec. Of State Mollis Unveils Voter Information Phone App

Aug 25, 2014
RIPR FILE / RI Secretary of State's Office

The office of Secretary of State Ralph Mollis has announced a new cell phone application for Rhode Island voters. The free app is called Rhode Island VIC, which stands for "Voter Information Center." It allows citizens to determine their voter status, district information, and closest polling place. Mollis said the app is user-friendly and should be accessible for voters of all ages.

"It's not age-specific. I think more and more people are using this, and we're here to help," said Mollis, "and hopefully this makes their voting experience that much easier."

Rhode Island Artscape: Designing Better Ballots

Feb 27, 2014
John Bender / RIPR

In Rhode Island a group of design students barely old enough to vote are working on projects that could potentially affect the future of Presidential elections.

For this month’s Artscape, Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender profiles a class that is trying to tackle the problem of a better ballot.

On the third floor of a building in downtown Providence, a group of a dozen or so students from the Rhode Island School of Design, also known as RISD are giving their final presentations for a class called VoteLab: Designing for Democracy.

Democratic Secretary of State candidate Nellie Gorbea joins us on Bonus Q+A to discuss her campaign and various issues facing the office, including voter turnout; voter ID; lobbyist disclosure; and the level of legislative transparency.

While Secretary of State Ralph Mollis calls Rhode Island's Voter ID law a national model, the two Democrats vying to succeed him, Nellie Gorbea and Guillaume de Ramel, are far less enamored with the law.

Gorbea says she favors repealing Voter ID.

Special to RIPR

Who says off-year elections aren't interesting? Some random news and observations:

1. Women candidates came up big in Central Falls, albeit in uncontested races, winning five of seven City Council seats. The extent of this kind of female presence is unusual in RI municipalities, although four of five Barrington town councilors are women.

Voters will still have to show identification to vote in Rhode Island -- but not a photo ID -- under a compromise ticketed for passage in the House of Representatives.

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.”