voting

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.”

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, masterlever.org, 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.

Congressman David Cicilline enjoyed a larger-than-expected victory over Republican challenger Brendan Doherty yesterday by improving his performance from 2010 in seven communities.

Cicilline won the race by slightly more than 12 points (53.1 percent vs 40.7 percent).

The results are surprising since Doherty learned some of the lessons from John Loughlin’s losing 2010 campaign, particularly the need to aggressively raise money, and because Cicilline has been buffeted by a large measure of unflattering local headlines since he landed in Congress.

More than one-quarter of voters taking part in the September 11 state Senate Democratic primary election between Gayle Goldin and Maryellen Butke skipped the chance to vote for House Speaker Gordon Fox, according to an RIPR analysis.

On a 3-2 decision, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has denied Carlos Tobon’s call for a manual recount following his controversial and contested one-vote loss to state Representative William San Bento of Pawtucket.

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