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.”

Since James Diossa’s swearing in as Mayor of Central Falls, his former seat on the City Council has sat empty. Steven Corrales is running unopposed for this seat in a special election this March 26th. As Rhode Island Public Radio’s Jehane  Samaha reports, time is running out for Central Falls voters to register.

Just about every good government group in Rhode Island is pushing for an end to the so-called master lever option on state ballots. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why this is not a panacea for what ails our state’s political culture.
It has become an article of faith in Rhode Island among the self-styled government reform groups, most statewide elected politicians and the chattering pundit classes that our state needs to get rid of that relic of urban machine politics, the master lever.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Moderate Party founder Ken Block is leading a new effort to eliminate straight-ticket voting in Rhode Island. Critics say the so-called master lever makes it more difficult to challenge the ruling Democratic Party.

Block has created a Web site,, with an online petition calling for eliminating the master lever. He says straight-ticket voting has a distorting effect on politics in Rhode Island.

Pointing to some well-publicized snafus during last week’s election, Central Falls mayoral candidate James Diossa is encouraging the state Board of Elections to go with the current eight polling places in the December 11 mayoral election, rather than cutting the number to two.

Diossa, in a news release, says the CF Board of Canvassers has proposed cutting the number of polling places:

Given the ubiquity of smart phones, it’s no surprise that a lot of people sent out images of their completed ballots today via Twitter.

Old friend David Bernstein of the Phoenix quickly found out that doing that is illegal in Masachusetts. Photo-tweeting your ballot is also illegal in Rhode Island, according to Robert Kando, executive director of the state Board of Elections.