Rhode Island eBenchBook

Current through the 2018 Legislative Session.

Title 17 – Elections
Chapter 17-1 – General Provisions
§ 17-1-1. Short title.
This title shall be known and may be cited as the “Election Law”.
§ 17-1-2. Definitions.
For the purposes this title, except as may otherwise be required by the context:
(1) “Election” means the filling of any public office or the determination of any public question by vote of the electorate, and includes without limitation any state, town, or city office or question, and any political party primary election for the nomination of any candidate for public office; except that it shall not include a financial town meeting or a meeting to elect officers of a fire, water, or sewer district;
(2) “General election” means an election held on the first Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in even numbered years for the election of members of the general assembly and/or for the election of general officers, and/or for the election of presidential electors for president/vice-president of the United States;
(3) “General officer” means an officer designated as a general officer by chapter 2 of this title;
(4) “Independent candidate” means a candidate who has no affiliation with any political party;
(5) “Local board” means a town or city board of canvassers, board of canvassers and registration, canvassing authority, or any other local board, commission, or officer empowered by law to have custody of the permanent registration records;
(6) “Local election” means any election limited to the electorate of any city or town, or any part, at which any city, town, ward, or district officers are to be chosen, or any elective meeting at which a question is to be submitted to the voters of a city, town, or any subdivision of a city or town, but it shall not include a financial town meeting;
(7) “Party member” means any person who is a member of a designated political party pursuant to § 17-9.1-23;
(8) “Party voter” means any qualified voter who is eligible to vote at the primary election of a political party;
(9) “Political party” or “party” means: (i) any political organization which, at the next preceding general election for the election of general officers, nominated a candidate for governor, and whose candidate for governor at the election polled at least five percent (5%) of the entire vote cast in the state for governor, or (ii) any political organization which at the next preceding general election for the election of a president of the United States nominated a candidate for president and whose candidate for president at the election polled at least five percent (5%) of the entire vote cast in the state for president, or (iii) any political organization which, on petition forms provided to the chairperson of the organization by the state board of elections, obtains the signatures and addresses of that number of registered qualified voters equal to five percent (5%) of the entire vote cast in the state for governor or president in the immediately preceding general election. All the signatures must be obtained no earlier than January 1 of the year in which the political organization desires to place a candidate or candidates on any ballot as a “party” candidate. If the political organization wishes to select its nominees in a primary election, the petitions, bearing the requisite number of valid signatures, shall be presented to the appropriate local boards of canvassers no later than June 1 of the same year. If the petitions are validated by the local boards as containing the requisite number of valid signatures, the political organization shall be deemed to be a political party for all elections held during the year and may select its nominees in a primary election. If the political organization does not wish to select its nominees in a primary election, then the petitions need not be returned to local boards of canvassers until August 1 of the same year. An organization qualifying as a political party through the petition process shall qualify as a political party only during the year in which signatures are obtained unless the candidates for governor or president of the United States of the party at a general election held in the year, shall receive five percent (5%) of the vote as provided in this subdivision for either governor or president of the United States. If the candidates do not receive five percent (5%) of the vote, the organization shall no longer qualify as a political party unless and until it shall, in a subsequent year, once again qualify by the submission of petitions;
(10) “Polling place” means the room in which any election or elective meeting is conducted;
(11) “Primary election” means any election to select the candidates of a political party;
(12) “Proposition” or “public question” means any question put to a referendum of the electorate of the entire state or any part of it;
(13) “Qualified voter” means any person who is eligible to vote under the requirements of age, residence, and citizenship prescribed by the state constitution and who is duly registered to vote, or who is exempt from registration, pursuant to this title, and who is not otherwise disqualified as a voter pursuant to law;
(14) “Special election” means any election other than a local election or primary election which is not held on a general election day;
(15) “State board” means the state board of elections constituted pursuant to this title;
(16) “State election” means any election at which any presidential electors, senator or representatives in congress, general officers of the state, or members of the general assembly are to be chosen, or at which a public question or an amendment to the Constitution is submitted to the electors of the state;
(17) “State officer” means the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, general treasurer, state senator, and state representative;
(18) “Vacancy in office” means the condition resulting from any failure to elect or appoint an eligible and qualified person to public office, or the failure of any person duly elected or appointed to qualify, or from the death, resignation, or removal of an incumbent prior to the expiration of his or her term of office and where no fixed term is prescribed upon the death, resignation, or removal;
(19) “Voting list” means the complete list of all voters prepared from the information contained in the original permanent registration records in the possession of the local board of canvassers;
(20) “Warden” includes “moderator” and vice versa;
(21) Words importing the masculine gender shall include the feminine gender.
§ 17-1-2.1. Signature identification.
For the purpose of assisting registrars and other persons in identifying a voter’s signature, whenever in this title and whenever under any home rule charter enacted pursuant to article XIII, § 1 of the Constitution of the state of Rhode Island a voter’s signature is required, space shall be provided and so labeled for the voter to print his or her legal name. However, failure of the voter to print his or her name shall not invalidate the signature if otherwise legible. This section shall not apply to the original voter’s registration form and other forms where the name of the voter is typed and/or printed.
§ 17-1-3. Eligibility to vote.
Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen (18) years of age, whose residence as defined in § 17-1-3.1 has been in this state for at least thirty (30) days, and in the town or city and voting district in which that person desires to cast his or her vote at least thirty (30) days next preceding the election, and who is registered in that city or town and voting district at least thirty (30) days next preceding any election, shall be entitled to vote in the election; provided, a person may vote in a primary election only if that person is eligible under the provisions of this title. A person who has not registered to vote, or whose registration has been canceled pursuant to § 17-10-1, may cast a vote for president and vice-president on election day at his or her city or town hall or at an alternate location designated by the board of canvassers, and approved by the board of elections, where such location is deemed necessary to better accommodate such voters. The casting of that vote shall commence the process of voter registration and subject the person voting to the requirements and penalties of this chapter.
§ 17-1-3.1. Residence for voting purposes.
(a) A person’s residence for voting purposes is his or her fixed and established domicile. The determinant of one’s domicile is that person’s factual physical presence in the voting district on a regular basis incorporating an intention to reside for an indefinite period. This domicile is the place to which, upon temporary absence, he or she has the intention of returning. Once acquired, this domicile continues until another domicile is established. A person can have only one domicile, and the domicile shall not be considered lost solely by reason of absence for any of the following reasons:
(1) Employment or service outside of the state intimately connected with military operations or with the federal government, including the spouse and dependents of an elector so employed;
(2) Confinement in a correctional facility;
(3) Being a patient in a hospital, convalescent home, nursing home or rest home, or like facility; or
(4) Attendance as a student at an academic institution, including the spouse and dependents of an elector who is a student.
(b) The following shall be considered prima facie evidence of a person’s residence for voting purposes:
(1) The address furnished to the division of motor vehicles for the voter’s operator’s license;
(2) The address from which the voter’s motor vehicle is registered;
(3) The address from which the voter filed his last federal income tax return;
(4) The address from which the voter filed his last state income tax return;
(5) The address furnished to the companies from which the voter has obtained retail credit cards;
(6) The address furnished to the financial institutions where the voter maintains accounts;
(7) The address furnished to the tax collector and/or assessor in those communities where the voter owns taxable real or personal property for the purpose of notification to him or her;
(8) The address furnished to the insurance companies with which the voter maintains policies;
(9) The address furnished to the voter’s employer;
(10) The address furnished by the voter to any business, professional, union, or fraternal organizations of which he or she is a member;
(11) The address furnished to governmental agencies with which the voter has contact;
(12) The address of a hospital, convalescent home, nursing home or rest home, or like facility at which the voter has been a patient or resident for the preceding thirty (30) days or longer;
(13) The address furnished to the United States postal service on a change of address form as verified by the United States postal service.
§ 17-1-32 – 17-1-4. Repealed.
§ 17-1-5. Effect of special statutes.
The provisions of any chapter or section under this title are subject to the provisions of any special statutes or charters respecting any particular town or city, none of which are repealed by this title; provided, that insofar as any special statute or charters adapted prior to April 22, 1935, conflicts with the provisions of chapter 19 of this title, the provisions of chapter 19 shall prevail; and provided, further, that insofar as any special statute or charter provision conflicts with the provisions of § 17-14-7, 17-14-9, or 17-19-7.1 of this title, the provisions of § 17-14-7, 17-14-9, or 17-19-7.1 shall prevail. Notwithstanding any charter provision of any city or town to the contrary, all local elections and special elections, as these terms are defined under §§ 17-1-2(6) and 17-1-2(14), shall be held on the first Tuesday next after the first Monday in any month.

§ 17-1-5.1. Municipal and state employees holding elective public office.
(a) A municipal employee may hold a state elective office or a municipal elective office; provided, that except as authorized pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, no municipal employee may hold a municipal elective office in the city or town in which he or she is employed, and a state employee may hold any municipal elective office. Any provision in any state law, municipal ordinance, or city or town charter prohibiting a municipal employee from holding state elective office or municipal elective office, other than in the town where he or she is employed, or a state employee from holding a municipal elective office is declared null and void.
(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to school teachers of the individual cities and towns as defined in title 16.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of the first sentence of subsection (a) of this section, a city or town may, by charter or ordinance, permit a municipal employee of that city or town to hold the office of school committee person in that city or town.
§ 17-1-6. Scope of title.
This title shall apply to all elections, except as may otherwise be provided by law.
§ 17-1-7. Uniform deadlines.
Notwithstanding any other time specified for the filing of any paper or the doing of any act pursuant to this title, a uniform deadline of 4:00 p.m. is established; provided, that applications for emergency mail ballots must be received by 4:00 p.m. on the day prior to an election or primary. If any filing deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the deadline shall be construed to fall on the next subsequent business day; provided, that this does not apply to registration to vote thirty (30) days prior to an election or primary.
§ 17-1-7.1. Filings to be originals.
Filings made under this title at the secretary of state’s office shall be considered valid only if they bear original signatures and shall not include any telegram, cablegram, telephone call, electronically transmitted documents, or similar communications.
§ 17-1-8. Severability.
If any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of the chapter are declared to be severable.
§ 17-1-9. Repealed.
§ 17-1-10. Lincoln town officials – Inauguration date.
The voters of the town of Lincoln may vote, at the next regularly scheduled election to be held on November 7, 2000, on whether to modify the Town Home Rule Charter to change the inauguration date of officials of the town of Lincoln from the first Tuesday of December in even-numbered years to the first Tuesday of January in odd-numbered years to coincide with the inaugurations of state officers.
Chapter 17-2 – General State Officers
§ 17-2-1. General officers enumerated – Election and terms.
The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and general treasurer shall be known as general officers. They shall be elected at a general election, quadrennially, in accordance with the provisions of this title, and shall hold their respective offices for four (4) years beginning on the first Tuesday of January next succeeding their election and until the election and qualification of their respective successors.
§ 17-2-2. Death or incapacity of governor elect.
When the governor elect dies, removes from the state, refuses to serve, becomes insane, or is otherwise incapacitated, the lieutenant governor elect shall be qualified as governor at the beginning of the term for which he or she was elected.
§ 17-2-3. Elections by general assembly on failure to elect or incapacity of person elected.
When both the governor and lieutenant governor elect, or one among the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, or general treasurer elect, are incapacitated, or when there has been a failure to elect one or more of the officers mentioned in this section, the general assembly shall, upon its organization, meet in grand committee and elect some person or persons to fill the office or offices, as the case may be, for which the incapacity exists or as to which the failure to elect occurred. When the general assembly elects any of the officers because of the failure of any person to receive a plurality of the votes cast, the election in each case shall be made from the persons who received the same and largest number of votes.
§ 17-2-4. Filling vacancies in offices of governor and lieutenant governor.
If the offices of governor and lieutenant governor are both vacant by reason of death or otherwise, they shall be filled by the general assembly in grand committee, and the acting governor shall, if the general assembly is not then in session, call a special session of the general assembly for that purpose within twenty (20) days after both of the offices become vacant, if a stated session is not sooner to occur.
§ 17-2-5. Vacancies in other general offices.
In case of a vacancy in the office of secretary of state, attorney general, or general treasurer, from any cause, the general assembly in grand committee shall elect some person to fill the office; provided, that if the vacancy occurs when the general assembly is not in session, the governor shall appoint some person to fill the vacancy until a successor elected by the general assembly is qualified to act.
§ 17-2-6. Majority required in general assembly – Term of officer elected to fill vacancy.
In elections by the general assembly in grand committee, the person receiving a majority of the votes shall be elected. Every person elected by the general assembly to fill a vacancy, pursuant to the provision of this chapter, shall hold his or her office for the remainder of the term or for the full term, as the case may be, and until his or her successor is elected and qualified.
Chapter 17-3 – General Assembly Members
§ 17-3-1. Time of election – Term of office.
Senators and representatives in the general assembly shall be elected biennially, at general elections, in each senatorial and representative district in accordance with the provisions of this title; and shall hold their respective offices for two (2) years beginning on the first Tuesday of January, next succeeding their election, and until the election and qualification of their respective successors.
§ 17-3-2. Adjournment of election meetings.
All senatorial district, representative district, and voting district meetings held in any district for the election of senators and representatives in the general assembly, or of any one or more of them, shall, at the time of closing the polls in that district as prescribed by law, stand adjourned until the date named in the warrant provided in § 17-3-3 to be issued in case of no election, or until the state board has notified the secretary of state that an election of senator and representative in the general assembly from the district has been made.
§ 17-3-3. Adjourned elections on failure to elect.
If it appears by the count of the state board that no election has been made of any one or more of the senators or representatives in the general assembly, at any election held for those officers, the board shall, immediately after the count, notify the secretary of state of the failure to elect; the secretary of state shall, immediately after the notification, direct the local boards in the senatorial or representative districts to issue their warrants to the moderators of the district, districts, or voting districts, as the case may be, directing the election to proceed on the tenth (10th) day from the date of the warrant, unless the day is a legal holiday, in which case the secretary of state shall direct the election to proceed on the next day after the tenth (10th) day not a legal holiday, for the officer or officers for which there was no choice, which warrant shall be served on the day of its issue by the several city or town sergeants or constables; provided, there shall be no election held on Saturday, and if the tenth (10th) day falls on Saturday, the election shall proceed on the Monday next following, unless that Monday is a legal or religious holiday, in which case the election shall proceed on the next following day which is not a legal or religious holiday.
§ 17-3-4. Candidates and ballots at adjourned elections.
At the adjourned elections provided for in § 17-3-3, the official ballot shall contain the names of the candidates for the offices for which there was no choice at the first election, and shall be printed and supplied by the secretary of state; provided, that in case any candidate has died, the senatorial district or representative district committee, as the case may be, of the party to which the candidate belonged may substitute the name of some other person as a candidate and that name shall be printed upon the official ballot, if the substitution is made in time to allow it to be printed.
§ 17-3-5. Death, refusal, or incapacity of senator or representative elect.
(a) Whenever any person elected a senator or representative in the general assembly, at any time between the day of his or her election and the beginning of his or her term of office, refuses to serve and so declares to the secretary of state, or dies, becomes insane, removes from the state, or is otherwise incapacitated, the secretary of state shall immediately cause a warrant to be issued ordering a new election of senator or representative, as the case may be, to be held in that district at least seventy (70) but not more than ninety (90) days from the occurrence of the refusal or incapacity.
(b) Every person elected pursuant to the provisions of this section shall hold his or her office for the full term or for the remainder of the term, as the case may be, of the office that person is elected to fill, and until that person’s successor is elected and qualified.
§ 17-3-6. Vacancy in general assembly – Special elections.
(a) Whenever from any cause a vacancy occurs in the representation of any senatorial or representative district in the general assembly while the general assembly is in session, the secretary of state shall cause the local board of the city or town to issue a warrant ordering an election to fill the vacancy, to be held in that district at least seventy (70) but not more than ninety (90) days from the occurrence of the vacancy; provided, that if the general assembly has nearly completed its January session so that it is doubtful whether the person to be chosen can serve as a member at that session, the election shall not be ordered within that time limit, but may be held at any later date within that calendar year, if that year is the first year of the biennial period for which a general assembly has been chosen. And, provided further, the election to fill the vacancy shall be held on a Tuesday that falls between the seventieth and ninetieth day of the vacancy. If the vacancy occurs after the first Monday in February in the second year of the biennial period for which a general assembly was chosen, no warrant shall be issued for a special election to fill the vacancy. If the vacancy occurs or exists at any other time when the general assembly is not in session, the secretary of state shall cause to be issued a warrant for an election to be held to fill the vacancy.
(b) Every person elected pursuant to the provisions of this section shall hold his or her office for the remainder of the term that person is elected to fill, and until his or her successor is elected and qualified.
§ 17-3-7. Nominations at special elections.
For the elections provided for in §§ 17-3-5 and 17-3-6, certificates of nomination and nomination papers may be filed twenty-eight (28) days prior to the date of those primary elections.
§ 17-3-8. Failure to issue warrant for election.
Every member of a local board who neglects to seasonably issue his or her warrant as provided in this chapter shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
Chapter 17-4 – Federal Elective Officers
§ 17-4-1. Congressional districts.
The state shall be divided into two (2) districts for the election of representatives in the congress of the United States, to be called respectively the first congressional district and the second congressional district, and the electors residing in each of the districts who are qualified to vote for general officers shall be entitled, at the times and places and in the manner provided by law, to elect a representative in the congress of the United States for the district in which they reside.
§ 17-4-2. Territory in first and second congressional districts.
First district: The first congressional district shall consist of all of the towns of: North Smithfield; Smithfield; Lincoln; Cumberland; North Providence; Barrington; Warren; Bristol; Portsmouth; Tiverton; Little Compton; Middletown; and Jamestown and the cities of: Woonsocket; Central Falls; Pawtucket; East Providence; and Newport.
The first congressional district shall also consist of all of the part of the city of Providence bounded by a line beginning at the Providence – North Providence boundary line and Admiral St; thence southeasterly on Admiral St to Douglas Ave; thence southerly on Douglas Ave to Eaton St; thence westerly on Eaton St to Oakland Ave; thence southerly on Oakland Ave to Smith St; thence easterly on Smith St to Park St; thence southerly on Park St to Hayes St; thence easterly on Hayes St to Francis St; thence southerly on Francis St to Gaspee St; thence northeasterly on Gaspee St to Smith St; thence easterly on Smith St to the Amtrak railroad; thence northwesterly on the Amtrak railroad to I-95; thence northeasterly on I-95 to Chalkstone Ave, thence southeasterly on Chalkstone Ave to Ashburton St; thence easterly on Ashburton St to Randall St; thence northeasterly on Randall St to the Charles St ramp; thence southerly from the Charles St ramp to Stevens St; thence easterly on Stevens St to Hewes St; thence northerly on Hewes St to the west side of N Main St; thence southerly on the west side of N Main St to Mill St; thence southerly on Mill St to Smith St; thence westerly on Smith St to the Moshassuck River; thence southerly on the Moshassuck River to College St; thence westerly on College St to Westminster St; thence westerly on Westminster St to Memorial Blvd; thence southerly on Memorial Blvd to Dyer St; thence southerly on Dyer St to Pine St; thence southwesterly on Pine St to I-95; thence southeasterly on I-95 to Eddy St; thence southerly on Eddy St to Blackstone St; thence westerly on Blackstone St to Friendship St; thence northerly on Friendship St to census block 440070007002027; thence westerly on boundary line between census blocks 440070007002027 and 440070004001002 to Broad St; thence northwesterly on Broad St to Elmwood Ave; thence southerly on Elmwood Ave to Bridgham St; thence westerly on Bridgham St to Lester St; thence southwesterly on Lester St to Dexter St; thence northerly on Dexter St to Cranston St; thence southwesterly on Cranston St to census block 440070013002004; thence westerly on the boundary line between census blocks 440070013002004 and 440070013001006 to Chapin Ave; thence westerly on Chapin Ave to Messer St; thence southerly on Messer St to Union Ave; thence southwesterly on Union Ave to Waverly St; thence northwesterly on Waverly St to Ellery St; thence southerly on Ellery St to Althea St; thence easterly on Althea St to Union Ave; thence southwesterly on Union Ave to State Highway 10; thence southerly on State Highway 10 to the Providence – Cranston boundary line; thence southerly and easterly on the Providence – Cranston boundary line to the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad; thence northeasterly on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad to Elmwood Ave; thence southeasterly on Elmwood Ave to Linden Ave; thence easterly and southerly on Linden Ave to Fredrick C. Greene Memorial Blvd; thence northeasterly on Fredrick C. Greene Memorial Blvd to Park Path; thence northeasterly on Park Path to Fredrick C. Greene Memorial Blvd; thence northeasterly on Fredrick C. Greene Memorial Blvd to Natural History Ave; thence southerly on Natural History Ave extending along the boundary line between census block 440070001022010 and census blocks 440070001024007 and 44070001023016 to Verndale Ave; thence southeasterly on Verndale Ave to Montgomery Ave; thence easterly on Montgomery Ave to the Providence – Cranston boundary line; thence easterly on the Providence – Cranston boundary line to the Providence – East Providence boundary line; thence northerly on the Providence – East Providence boundary line to the Providence – Pawtucket boundary line; thence westerly on the Providence – Pawtucket boundary line to the Providence – North Providence boundary line; thence westerly and southwesterly on the Providence – North Providence boundary line to the point of origin.
Second district: The second congressional district shall consist of all of the towns of: Burrillville; Glocester; Foster; Scituate; Johnston; Coventry; West Warwick; West Greenwich; East Greenwich; Exeter; North Kingstown; Narragansett; New Shoreham; South Kingstown; Charlestown; Richmond; Hopkinton; and Westerly and the cities of: Cranston and Warwick.
The second congressional district shall also consist of all of the part of the city of Providence bounded by a line beginning at the Providence – North Providence boundary line and Admiral St; thence southeasterly on Admiral St to Douglas Ave; thence southerly on Douglas Ave to Eaton St; thence westerly on Eaton St to Oakland Ave; thence southerly on Oakland Ave to Smith St; thence easterly on Smith St to Park St; thence southerly on Park St to Hayes St; thence easterly on Hayes St to Francis St; thence southerly on Francis St to Gaspee St; thence northeasterly on Gaspee St to Smith St; thence easterly on Smith St to the Amtrak railroad; thence northwesterly on the Amtrak railroad to I-95; thence northeasterly on I-95 to Chalkstone Ave, thence southeasterly on Chalkstone Ave to Ashburton St; thence easterly on Ashburton St to Randall St; thence northeasterly on Randall St to the Charles St ramp; thence southerly from the Charles St ramp to Stevens St; thence easterly on Stevens St to Hewes St; thence northerly on Hewes St to the west side of N Main St; thence southerly on the west side of N Main St to Mill St; thence southerly on Mill St to Smith St; thence westerly on Smith St to the Moshassuck River; thence southerly on the Moshassuck River to College St; thence westerly on College St to Westminster St; thence westerly on Westminster St to Memorial Blvd; thence southerly on Memorial Blvd to Dyer St; thence southerly on Dyer St to Pine St; thence southwesterly on Pine St to I-95; thence southeasterly on I-95 to Eddy St; thence southerly on Eddy St to Blackstone St; thence westerly on Blackstone St to Friendship St; thence northerly on Friendship St to census block 440070007002027; thence westerly on boundary line between census blocks 440070007002027 and 440070004001002 to Broad St; thence northwesterly on Broad St to Elmwood Ave; thence southerly on Elmwood Ave to Bridgham St; thence westerly on Bridgham St to Lester St; thence southwesterly on Lester St to Dexter St; thence northerly on Dexter St to Cranston St; thence southwesterly on Cranston St to census block 440070013002004; thence westerly on the boundary line between census blocks 440070013002004 and 440070013001006 to Chapin Ave; thence westerly on Chapin Ave to Messer St; thence southerly on Messer St to Union Ave; thence southwesterly on Union Ave to Waverly St; thence northwesterly on Waverly St to Ellery St; thence southerly on Ellery St to Althea St; thence easterly on Althea St to Union Ave; thence southwesterly on Union Ave to State Highway 10; thence southerly on State Highway 10 to the Providence – Cranston boundary line; thence northerly and westerly on the Providence – Cranston boundary line to the Providence – Johnston boundary line; thence northerly on the Providence – Johnston boundary line to the Providence – North Providence boundary line; thence northeasterly on the Providence – North Providence boundary line to the point of origin.
The second congressional district shall also consist of all of the part of the city of Providence bounded by a line beginning at Elmwood Ave and Linden Ave; thence easterly and southerly on Linden Ave to Fredrick C. Greene Memorial Blvd; thence northeasterly on Fredrick C. Greene Memorial Blvd to Park Path; thence northeasterly on Park Path to Fredrick C. Greene Memorial Blvd; thence northeasterly on Fredrick C. Greene Memorial Blvd to Natural History Ave; thence southerly on Natural History Ave extending along the boundary line between census block 440070001022010 and census blocks 440070001024007 and 44070001023016 to Verndale Ave; thence southeasterly on Verndale Ave to Montgomery Ave; thence easterly on Montgomery Ave to the Providence – Cranston boundary line; thence southerly, westerly, and northerly on the Providence – Cranston boundary line to the point where census block 440070001024013 intersects with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad; thence northeasterly along the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad to the eastern side of Elmwood Ave; thence southeasterly along the eastern side of Elmwood Ave to the point of origin.
§ 17-4-3. Repealed.
§ 17-4-4. Time of election of representatives in congress.
The election of representatives in congress shall be held on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in each even numbered year.
§ 17-4-5. Time of election of senators.
The election of a senator in congress shall be held on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in the year 1958, and on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in every sixth year thereafter, and on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in the year 1960, and on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in every sixth year thereafter.
§ 17-4-6. Manner of voting – Election by plurality.
In all elections of senators and representatives in congress the voting shall be in accordance with the provisions of chapter 19 of this title, and the person or candidate receiving the largest number of votes shall be declared elected.
§ 17-4-7. New election in absence of plurality.
In case no person receives a plurality of the votes cast in the state or in either congressional district at any election, a new election shall be held in the state or in the district on the fourth (4th) Tuesday after the holding of the election at which there was no choice. For the election, any new certificates of nomination or nomination papers shall be filed ten (10) days previous to the date of the election.
§ 17-4-8. Special election to fill vacancy in office of representative.
Whenever any person elected a representative in congress from either district, at any time between the day of his or her election and the beginning of his or her term of office, refuses to serve and so declares to the secretary of state, or dies, becomes insane, removes from the state, or is otherwise incapacitated, or whenever a vacancy happens in the representation of this state in congress as contemplated in the second section of the first article of the Constitution of the United States, the governor shall immediately issue his or her writ of election directed to the several city and town clerks, or local boards as the case may be, ordering a new election of the representative in congress to be held in that district to fill the vacancy, at as early a date, to be stated in the writ, as will be in compliance with the provisions of law in relation to these elections, but no election provided for by this section shall be held on any day other than the first Tuesday next after the first Monday of any month; provided, that whenever a vacancy occurs between the first day of April and the first day of October in any even numbered year, the governor shall, unless in his or her opinion the public good requires an earlier special election, issue his or her writ for a special election to fill the vacancy to be held with the general election on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November of that year.
§ 17-4-9. Special election to fill senatorial vacancy.
Whenever a person elected a senator in congress, at any time between the day of that person’s election and the beginning of his or her term of office, refuses to serve and so declares to the secretary of state, or dies, becomes insane, removes from the state, or is otherwise incapacitated, or whenever a vacancy happens in the representation of this state in the United States senate, the governor shall issue his or her writ of election directed to the several city and town clerks, or local boards as the case may be, ordering a new election of senator to fill the vacancy to be held in the state at as early a date, to be stated in the writ, as will be in compliance with the provisions of law in relation to these elections, but no election provided for by this section shall be held on any day other than the first Tuesday next after the first Monday of any month; provided, that whenever a vacancy occurs between the first day of July and the first day of October in any even numbered year, the governor shall, unless in his or her opinion the public good requires an earlier special election, issue his or her writ for a special election to fill the vacancy to be held with the general election on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November of that year.
§ 17-4-10. Presidential electors – Time and manner of voting – Election by plurality.
The people of this state, qualified by law to vote for general offices, shall elect as many electors of president and vice-president of the United States that the state is or shall be entitled to at town, ward, and district meetings on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth (4th) year, commencing in 1960, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 19 of this title, and the several candidates having a plurality of the legal votes given in at the election shall be elected.
§ 17-4-11. Meeting of electors – Vacancies.
Presidential electors elected pursuant to this chapter shall meet in the state house in the city of Providence on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after their election, at the hour of 12 o’clock noon of that day, and if there is any vacancy in the office of electors, occasioned by death, refusal to act, neglect to attend, or other cause, the electors present shall immediately proceed to fill, by roll call and by a plurality of votes, the vacancy in the electoral college; and when the electors appear, or the vacancy is filled as provided in this section, they shall proceed to perform the duties required of electors by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
§ 17-4-12. Attendance of governor and secretary of state – Certificates required by federal law.
It shall be the duty of the governor and the secretary of state to be present at the state house in Providence on the day of the meeting of the electors, to make and furnish to the electors any certificates required by the laws of the United States to be forwarded to the seat of government with the votes of the electors which are made necessary by any election made pursuant to the provisions of § 17-4-11.
Chapter 17-4.1 – Special Presidential Voters
§ 17-41-1 – 17-4.1-6. Repealed.
Chapter 17-4.2 – Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote
§ 17-4.2-1. Compact enacted.
The interstate compact entitled the “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote” is hereby enacted into law and entered into with all other jurisdictions legally joining therein in the form substantially as follows:
ARTICLE I. MEMBERSHIP.
Any state of the United States and the District of Columbia may become a member of this agreement by enacting this agreement.
ARTICLE II. RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE IN MEMBER STATES TO VOTE FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT.
Each member state shall conduct a statewide popular election for president and vice president of the United States.
ARTICLE III. MANNER OF APPOINTING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS IN MEMBER STATES.
Prior to the time set by law for the meeting and voting by the presidential electors, the chief election official of each member state shall determine the number of votes for each presidential slate in each state of the United States and in the District of Columbia in which votes have been cast in a statewide popular election and shall add such votes together to produce a “national popular vote total” for each presidential slate.
The chief election official of each member state shall designate the presidential slate with the largest national popular vote total as the “national popular vote winner.”
The presidential elector certifying official of each member state shall certify the appointment in that official’s own state of the elector slate nominated in that state in association with the national popular vote winner.
At least six (6) days before the day fixed by law for the meeting and voting by the presidential electors, each member state shall make a final determination of the number of popular votes cast in the state for each presidential slate and shall communicate an official statement of such determination within twenty-four (24) hours to the chief election official of each other member state.
The chief election official of each member state shall treat as conclusive an official statement containing the number of popular votes in a state for each presidential slate made by the day established by federal law for making a state’s final determination conclusive as to the counting of electoral votes by Congress.
In event of a tie for the national popular vote winner, the presidential elector certifying official of each member state shall certify the appointment of the elector slate nominated in association with the presidential slate receiving the largest number of popular votes within that official’s own state.
If, for any reason, the number of presidential electors nominated in a member state in association with the national popular vote winner is less than or greater than that state’s number of electoral votes, the presidential candidate on the presidential slate that has been designated as the national popular vote winner shall have the power to nominate the presidential electors for that state and that state’s presidential elector certifying official shall certify the appointment of such nominees.
The chief election official of each member state shall immediately release to the public all vote counts or statements of votes as they are determined or obtained.
This article shall govern the appointment of presidential electors in each member state in any year in which this agreement is, on July 20, in effect in states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes.
ARTICLE IV. OTHER PROVISIONS.
This agreement shall take effect when states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes have enacted this agreement in substantially the same form and the enactments by such states have taken effect in each state.
Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six (6) months or less before the end of a president’s term shall not become effective until a president or vice president shall have been qualified to serve the next term.
The chief executive of each member state shall promptly notify the chief executive of all other states of when this agreement has been enacted and has taken effect in that official’s state, when the state has withdrawn from this agreement, and when this agreement takes effect generally.
This agreement shall terminate if the electoral college is abolished.
If any provision of this agreement is held invalid, the remaining provisions shall not be affected.
ARTICLE V. DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of this agreement:
(1) “Chief executive” shall mean the governor of a state of the United States or the mayor of the District of Columbia;
(2) “Elector slate” shall mean a slate of candidates who have been nominated in a state for the position of presidential elector in association with a presidential slate;
(3) “Chief election official” shall mean the state official or body that is authorized to certify the total number of popular votes for each presidential slate;
(4) “Presidential elector” shall mean an elector for president and vice president of the United States;
(5) “Presidential elector certifying official” shall mean the state official or body that is authorized to certify the appointment of the state’s presidential electors;
(6) “Presidential slate” shall mean a slate of two (2) persons, the first of whom has been nominated as a candidate for president of the United States and the second of whom has been nominated as a candidate for vice president of the United States, or any legal successors to such persons, regardless of whether both names appear on the ballot presented to the voter in a particular state;
(7) “State” shall mean a state of the United States and the District of Columbia; and
(8) “Statewide popular election” shall mean a general election in which votes are cast for presidential slates by individual voters and counted on a statewide basis.
Chapter 17-5 – Statewide Referenda Elections
§ 17-5-1. Referenda elections – Constitutional and public questions.
Any proposition of amendment of the Constitution or any public question of statewide impact submitted to the electors of this state at a general election pursuant to § 17-1-2(2) held subsequent to 1997 shall be held in conformity with this chapter.
§ 17-5-1.1. Special referenda elections.
Any proposition of amendment of the Constitution or any other public question submitted to the electors of the state at any election not a general election pursuant to § 17-1-2(2) shall be held on the first Tuesday next after the first Monday of any month and shall be voted upon at town, ward, and district meetings, in accordance with the following procedure:
(1) When an act of the general assembly is passed authorizing the submission of a question to all of the electors of the state, the secretary of state is authorized to rephrase the question to appear on the ballot in a manner that would clearly apprise the voters of the question to be voted upon and to cause the ballot to contain a concise caption of the question, and the full text of the question as adopted by the general assembly need not appear on the ballot except for proposed amendments to the Constitution of the state of Rhode Island. The secretary of state shall cause each question appearing on the ballot prepared by him or her to be designated by number, the first question to be designated by the numeral I and additional questions shall follow numbered so that all questions submitted to all the electors of the state and appearing upon the ballot are numbered consecutively; provided that local questions shall be printed on a distinctive colored background.
(2) Prior to the election at which public questions are to be submitted, the secretary of state shall cause to be printed and shall send one copy of the full text of each legislative act to be acted upon and applicable to the state at large, or the secretary of state may substitute a description of the text of each act in lieu of the full text, to each residential unit in Rhode Island together with the following information:
(i) The designated number of the question appearing on the ballot;
(ii) A brief caption of the question appearing on the ballot; and
(iii) A brief explanation of the measure being the subject matter of the question.
(3) Voting on a proposition of amendment of the Constitution or of a public question of statewide impact shall be by means of optical scan voting equipment and computer ballots authorized pursuant to this title.
§ 17-5-2. Repealed.
§ 17-5-3. Publication of questions to be submitted to voters.
(a) Prior to each general election at which public questions are to be submitted, the secretary of state shall cause to be printed and shall send one copy of the full text of each legislative act to be acted upon and applicable to the state at large, or the secretary of state may substitute a description of the text of each act in lieu of the full text, to each residential unit in Rhode Island together with the following information:
(1) The designated number of the question;
(2) A brief caption of the question;
(3) A brief explanation of the measure that is the subject matter of the question; and
(4) A notice that voter fraud is a felony and the penalty for voter fraud. This notice shall be in conspicuous lettering and shall contain the following language: “You must be registered to vote from your actual place of residence.”
(b) If the public question involves the issuance of bonds or other evidence of indebtedness or any other long term financial obligation such as a lease, the notice required by subsection (a) of this section shall also include at least the following information to be provided by the agency or department for which the bonds or other evidence of indebtedness or any other long term financial obligation is intended:
(1) The estimated total cost of the project or program, including financing (using a reasonable assumed rate of interest), legal, and other costs.
(2) The estimated useful life of the project, and the term of the bonds, other indebtedness, or other obligation.
(3) A reasonably detailed description of the project or program, its purposes, and a project timetable.
§ 17-5-4. Manner of voting.
Voting on all public questions submitted at the general election shall be by use of optical scan voting equipment and computer ballots authorized pursuant to this title.
§ 17-5-5. Language contained on computer ballots.
(a) Notwithstanding the authority of the secretary of state to determine the design and content of the computer ballots by rules and regulations, all computer ballots shall contain a clear and concise statement of the nature of each question presented without the necessity of repeating the full text of the question as adopted by the general assembly; provided, that in the case of proposed amendments to the Constitution of the state of Rhode Island, the full text as adopted by the general assembly shall be reprinted on the computer ballots. The secretary of state shall cause each question appearing on the computer ballot prepared by the secretary to be designated by number, the first question to be designated by the number I, and additional questions shall be submitted with numbers in consecutive order.
(b) Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the general election to be held on November 2, 2004, in order to avoid a two-sheet statewide ballot, given the number of public questions to be submitted to the electors at such general election, the secretary of state may prepare the ballot in such manner that the statewide public questions involving the issuance of bonds or other evidence of indebtedness, or other long-term financial obligation, shall appear on the ballot with only a caption and the amount of financial obligation to be incurred, but without the clear and concise statement of each question, as otherwise required. Provided, however, that such clear and concise statement of such question shall instead appear in a conspicuous location within each privacy voting booth at each polling place with additional copies thereof available at each polling place; and for mail ballot voters, each such ballot sent to a mail ballot voter shall be accompanied by a clear and concise statement of each question printed on a separate sheet of paper.
(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the general election to be held on November 4, 2014, in order to avoid a multiple page statewide ballot, given the number of public questions to be submitted to the electors at such general election, the secretary of state may prepare the ballot in such manner that the statewide public questions involving the issuance of bonds or other evidence of indebtedness, or other long-term financial obligation, shall appear on the ballot with only a caption and the amount of financial obligation to be incurred, but without the clear and concise statement of each question, as otherwise required; provided, however, that such clear and concise statement of such question shall instead appear in a conspicuous location within each privacy voting booth at each polling place with additional copies thereof available at each polling place; and for mail ballot voters, each such ballot sent to a mail ballot voter shall be accompanied by a clear and concise statement of each question printed on a separate sheet of paper.
§ 17-5-6. Count of votes – Declaration of results.
Through the use of optical scan voting equipment authorized pursuant to this title, the state board shall count and tabulate all votes cast and shall declare the result in the manner provided by law, and this declaration shall be a sufficient notice to all officers, and all other persons interested, of the adoption or the rejection of any amendment of the Constitution or of the manner in which any question submitted to the electors of the state has been decided.
Chapter 17-6 – Secretary of State
§ 17-6-1. General powers and duties.
(a) The secretary of state shall have those functions, powers, and duties relating to elections that may be provided by this title or any other law not inconsistent with this chapter. The secretary of state shall maintain a central roster of all elected and appointed officers of the state, including for each officer the nature of the officer’s tenure and the date of expiration of the officer’s term of office. The secretary of state shall maintain a central register of all persons registered to vote in the several cities and towns and shall add, amend, delete, and cancel any names appearing on the register as certified to the secretary by the several local boards and by the state board.
(b) The secretary of state may compile and publish a complete edition of the election law that the secretary shall make available to all election officials and candidates upon request and without charge. The secretary of state shall receive and file certificates of election results as provided by this title.
(c) Notwithstanding any provisions of the general laws to the contrary, the office of the secretary of state shall have the authority to submit and approve the specifications used by the department of administration in procuring voting systems, voting system-related services, and accessible voting equipment on behalf of the state.
§ 17-6-1.1. Central voter register.
In addition to any other powers and duties given to the secretary by this title, the secretary of state is authorized to issue rules and regulations relative to the central voter register, and local boards of canvassers are hereby directed to comply with reasonable requests by the secretary of state for information to accurately maintain the central voter register.
§ 17-6-1.2. Statewide central voter register.
(a) Given the development of the necessary technology and the potential availability of federal funds, the secretary of state shall procure a statewide central voter register in accordance with all relevant state purchasing requirements. The system shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) A statewide database maintained by the secretary of state;
(2) All necessary hardware and software for the thirty-nine (39) local boards of canvassers to maintain their local voter registration records;
(3) All necessary hardware and software necessary for the electronic integration of voter registration records from the division of motor vehicles;
(4) All necessary hardware and software for the electronic integration of voter registration records from certain agencies processing voter registrations in accordance with § 17-9.1-8 where the secretary of state finds that the number of registrations processed warrants the electronic integration; and
(5) Additional terminals for access to the voter files as determined by the secretary of state.
(b) Local boards of canvassers will have the responsibility and sole authority for any addition, correction, or deletion of information from their local voting records. The office of the secretary of state, or the designee of the secretary of state, shall provide training and technical support for all local boards of canvassers in the operation and maintenance of their local voter registration system.
(c) The format and structure of the database shall be developed by the office of the secretary of state in conjunction with the vendor to whom the contract is awarded.
(d) Funding for the procurement of the statewide central voter register shall be through federal funds appropriated to the state of Rhode Island, subject to appropriation by the general assembly, pursuant to election reform legislation adopted by the United States Congress in 2002.
§ 17-6-1.3. Designation of Chief State Election Official under the National Voter Registration Act.
The secretary of state is designated as the chief state election official under section 10 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-8) to be responsible for the coordination of the State of Rhode Island’s responsibilities under that Act.
§ 17-6-2. Primary elections.
(a) The secretary of state shall, as otherwise provided by this title, prepare, print, and distribute the following forms relating to primary elections:
(1) Declaration of candidacy;
(2) Endorsement by party;
(3) Primary nomination papers for national and state offices;
(4) Certifications of the list of local candidates where primaries are to be conducted.
(b) The secretary of state shall also receive and file primary nomination papers; and shall consult with the state board with respect to its administration of primary elections.
§ 17-6-3. Computer ballots and sample ballots.
The secretary of state shall be responsible for the arrangement, preparation, printing, and provision of all computer ballots, to be used in conjunction with the optical scan voting equipment authorized pursuant to this title, and sample ballots to be used at any election. The secretary of state shall deliver to the state board a sufficient quantity of sample ballots to be used by the board in the preparation of voting equipment for each election.
§ 17-6-4. Absentee, shut-in, and war ballots.
The secretary of state shall prepare, print, and furnish all application forms for absentee, shut-in, and war ballots. The secretary of state shall arrange, print, and distribute all these ballots, together with instruction sheets and the required envelopes, in accordance with the requirements of this title.
§ 17-6-5. Registration lists available to political parties and candidates.
(a) Upon application in writing, the secretary of state shall, upon request, furnish prepaid at a reasonable price to be established annually by the secretary and at a reasonable time, to the state chairperson of each political party and to each person proposing to be a duly qualified candidate for state or congressional office and to no one else except as provided in this chapter, lists of registered voters as they appear in the central voter registry of each city or town or of each senatorial or representative district, or of each congressional district.
(b) These lists, so furnished, shall be used by the chairpersons for political purposes, or by the candidates only in the furtherance of candidacy for political office in the ensuing primary and/or general election and for no other purpose. The information available for each registrant shall consist only of the name, designation of party affiliation, street address, city or town, congressional district, senatorial district, representative district, ward, and/or precinct and nothing else.
(c) The price for these lists shall include update subscriptions as available to the date of the election for which the lists have been requested. These updates shall reflect changes to the registry records, including all new and deleted voters as received by the secretary of state.
§ 17-6-6. Oath required as to use of lists.
Every person receiving the registry lists shall take and subscribe to the following oath:
“I understand that the lists requested by me are the property of the state of Rhode Island and (I affirm that I am the state chairperson of the …….. party); (I proposed to be a duly qualified candidate in the next following primary and/or election); and that I am a person authorized by § 17-6-5 to receive a copy of the registry lists described; and I further affirm that the lists will be used only for the purposes prescribed and for no other use and that I will not permit the use of or copying of the lists by unauthorized persons.
……..
Signature of purchaser
Subscribed and sworn to before me at …….., this ……………. day of …….., 20……………..
……..
Notary public”
§ 17-6-7. Penalty for violating §§ 17-6-5 and 17-6-6.
Every person who violates the provisions of §§ 17-6-5 and 17-6-6 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
§ 17-6-8. Exception for local canvassing authorities. dd
The secretary of state shall furnish, without charge, to the canvassing authorities of the several cities and towns, lists of registrants pertaining to those respective cities and towns.
§ 17-6-9. Public record.
All requests for registration lists, and the action taken on those requests by the secretary of state, shall be deemed to be public records and shall be open for inspection during regular business hours.
§ 17-6-10. Availability of registration lists.
These lists shall be made available by the secretary of state not later than June 1 in any year.
§ 17-6-11. Lists not deemed official.
Registration lists purchased pursuant to §§ 17-6-5 – 17-6-10 are not to be deemed to be the official voting lists for any districts. The official lists are those prepared and published by the several local boards.
§ 17-6-12. Form of lists.
The lists may be distributed as requested in the form of either printed lists or magnetic tapes.
§ 17-6-13. Electoral process education.
During each year in which a general election is to be held, the secretary of state shall identify communities within the state in need of electoral process education by outreaching community organizations. Electoral process education shall consist of instruction on how a person may become a candidate for electoral office and how a person registers and votes for candidates for electoral office. The secretary of state shall furnish electoral process education throughout the state of Rhode Island in a manner to be determined by the secretary of state.
Chapter 17-7 State Board of Elections
§ 17-7-1. Legislative intent.
It is the intent of the general assembly that the board of elections be a board on which all the qualified electors of the state, regardless of their political identification or the lack of it, will be eligible to serve. The governor, in making these appointments, and the senate, in confirming them, shall consider the abilities and integrity of the qualified electors under consideration and their knowledge of and/or experience in the working of the election laws of the state. They shall strive to select a board whose membership shall be representative of all citizens of the state and of their diverse points of view.
§ 17-7-2. Composition of board.
There shall be, independent of every other department and agency of this state, a board of elections consisting of seven (7) qualified electors of this state, of outstanding honesty and ability and none of whom shall hold any other public office or be employees of persons who hold state wide public office, but no person shall be disqualified solely because that person is a notary public, who shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, as provided in this chapter.
§ 17-7-3. Appointment of members – Vacancies.
(a) The governor shall forthwith upon June 8, 1979 appoint seven (7) members of initial terms as follows: one member upon initial appointment shall serve for a term of two (2) years; one member upon initial appointment shall serve for a term of four (4) years; one member upon initial appointment shall serve for a term of six (6) years; one member upon initial appointment shall serve for a term of eight (8) years; one member upon initial appointment shall serve for a term of ten (10) years; one member upon initial appointment shall serve for a term of twelve (12) years; one member upon initial appointment shall serve for a term of fourteen (14) years; and upon the expiration of the terms, the governor shall appoint persons for succeeding terms of fourteen (14) years, respectively. All members of the board appointed or reappointed after January 1, 2008, shall serve for terms of nine (9) years beginning in January 2008, and in January of every even numbered year thereafter, the chairperson and vice chairperson of the board shall be elected by majority vote of the members of the board.
(b) In the event a vacancy occurs in the office of chairperson or vice chairperson after January 1, 2008, the board shall in the manner provided in subsection 17-7-3(a) elect another of its members to be chairperson or vice chairperson, to fill the vacancy; provided, if the vacancy occurs as a result of death or resignation, the new chairperson or vice chairperson shall only fill the unexpired term.
(c) In the event a vacancy occurs on the board, the governor shall appoint within thirty (30) days a new member to fill the vacancy; provided if the vacancy occurs as a result of death or resignation, the new member shall only fill the unexpired term. All appointments to fill vacancies shall be made in accordance with Article IX, section 5 of the Constitution of the state of Rhode Island and §§ 36-1-10 through 36-1-12.
§ 17-7-4. Oath of members – Compensation.
Before entering upon his or her duties, each member of the board shall take an oath of office before the supreme court in which the member shall swear or affirm faithfully and impartially to administer the duties of his or her office without regard to partisan or political considerations. Members of the board of elections shall be compensated at the rate of seven thousand dollars ($7,000) per year.
§ 17-7-5. Powers and duties – Quorum.
(a) The state board shall have those functions, powers, and duties that are prescribed by this title or otherwise pursuant to law. In the exercise of these functions, powers, and duties, but without limitation to them, the board shall:
(1) Exercise general supervision of the administration of the election law by local boards;
(2) Furnish all binders, forms, cabinets, and other supplies required for the operation of the system of permanent registration of voters throughout the state, as provided by this title;
(3) Require the correction of voting lists by any local board whenever the state board has information or cause to believe that any error exists in the lists and shall immediately notify the secretary of state of any corrections;
(4) Prepare, package, and deliver election supplies to the various cities and towns for each voting district, except for supplies listed in this title for delivery by the office of the secretary of state;
(5)(i) Appoint, qualify, and assign all state inspectors of elections. The state board of elections shall formulate programs of instruction and shall determine the method and manner of instruction that shall be provided to the local boards and to the vendor providing training pursuant to any agreement between the state and the vendor for the training of election officials. The program of instruction shall include familiarization with the election laws and duties of various election officials, together with the exercise of sample situations that may be encountered in the process of voting; geographical boundaries of the voting district to which the official may be assigned; offices and questions that may be on the ballot; and any other information that the board of elections may deem appropriate. The availability of these programs of instruction for local boards shall be pursuant to the procedures, rules, and regulations adopted by the board of elections.
(ii) The board of elections shall also formulate and provide an informational pamphlet containing detailed instructions regarding the duties of elections officials and the operation of polling places. All informational pamphlets shall be distributed to the local boards that shall, in turn, see to their distribution to all election officials prior to any election.
(6) Canvass and tabulate all votes cast at each state election and count, canvass, and tabulate the votes cast by mail voters as provided in this title;
(7) Select dates for off-year and special election primaries, except the dates for any primaries for local elections that require fixing by the local board pursuant to chapter 15 of this title;
(8) Furnish each elected candidate for all state or national offices a certificate of election;
(9) Furnish the secretary of state with a certified statement of the number of votes cast in each voting district for all state and national candidates, the votes cast for and against all state questions that appeared on the ballot, and a certificate of election for each national candidate who is elected in this state, and furnish the governor with a certified list of the general officers elected at each general election;
(10) Hold hearings relating to recounts or other protests of the results or conduct of an election;
(11) Maintain any books and records of the votes cast and publish any statements and reports that it may deem to be in the public interest;
(12) Arrange and make provisions for the registration of voters pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, 52 U.S.C. § 20501 et seq. The state board shall formulate programs to assist those persons or organizations desiring to register voters and shall provide, pursuant to procedures, rules, and regulations it shall adopt, voter registrations services that may include training sessions, registration materials, manuals, and other services for the purpose of registering to vote eligible Rhode Island citizens;
(13) Annually conduct a voter registration drive at each institution of higher education at the level of junior college or above in the state; and
(14) Establish and maintain an administrative complaint procedure in accordance with Section 402 of the Help America Vote Act (P.L. 107-252) [52 U.S.C. § 21112].
(b) The state board shall also have all of the powers and duties formerly conferred or imposed by existing law upon the division of elections and the election board, and whenever in any other general law, public law, act, or resolution of the general assembly, or any document, record, or proceeding authorized by the general assembly, the phrase “division of elections” or “election board” or any other word or words used in reference to or descriptive of the division, board, or any member or employee of the division or board, or to their respective activities or appointees, or any of them, the word, phrase, or reference shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be deemed to refer to and describe the state board, its members, appointees, and activities, as the context may require.
(c) The state board shall have power to make any rules, regulations, and directives that it deems necessary to carry out the objects and purposes of this title not inconsistent with law.
(d) The state board shall also have jurisdiction over all election matters on appeal from any local board and over any other matters pertinent and necessary to the proper supervision of the election laws.
(e) Four (4) members of the state board shall constitute a quorum.
(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of § 42-35-18(b)(7), all rules and regulations implementing and enforcing the provisions of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-252) [52 U.S.C. § 20901 et seq.] shall be promulgated in accordance with the rule-making provisions contained in §§ 42-35-1 – 42-35-8.
§ 17-7-6. Secretary and assistants – Salaries.
The state board is authorized to appoint a secretary and necessary assistants who shall perform any duties that the board shall designate. The board shall fix the salaries of the secretary and assistants within the amount appropriated for those salaries by the general assembly, and the general assembly shall annually appropriate the sum or sums that it deems necessary for the payment of the salaries of the members of the board, its appointees and assistants, and for other necessary expenses in connection with their duties; and the controller is authorized and directed to draw his or her orders upon the general treasurer for the payment of this sum or as much of it that may be required from time to time, upon the receipt by the controller of proper vouchers approved by the chairperson, and in the absence of the chairperson, a member of the board designated by the chairperson in writing. The members of the state board, its secretary, assistants, and appointees, shall not be subject to the provisions relating to the state merit system, but shall be in the unclassified service and shall come under the regulations of the unclassified pay plan board.
§ 17-7-7. Seal of state board.
The state board shall have a seal, and shall cause the seal to be affixed to all certificates and statements issued by it.
§ 17-7-8. Hearings and investigations – Subpoena powers – False swearing.
Each member of the state board shall be authorized to administer oaths, and the board, in all cases of every nature pending before it, is authorized and empowered to summon witnesses by subpoena signed by the secretary of the board and to compel these witnesses to attend and testify in the same manner as witnesses are compelled to appear and testify in any court. The board is authorized to compel by its subpoena attested by its secretary, the production of all papers, books, documents, records, certificates, or other legal evidence that may be necessary or proper for the determination and decision of any question or the discharge of any duty required by law of the board, and every person disobeying any subpoena shall be considered as in contempt, and the board may punish any contempt of its authority in like manner as contempt may be punished by any court. Any person who shall willfully swear falsely in any proceeding, matter, or hearing before the state board shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-7-9. Voter fraud – Posting of penalties.
The state board of elections shall cause to be posted, in a conspicuous place at all polling locations, a poster stating that voter fraud is a felony with penalties enumerated in §§ 17-23-4 and 17-26-1 and containing the statement: “You must be registered to vote from your actual place of residence.”
Chapter 17-8 – Local Canvassing Authorities
§ 17-8-1. Appointment of bipartisan authority.
The legislative body of each city and town shall appoint a bipartisan canvassing authority of three (3) qualified electors of the city or town, not more than two (2) of whom shall belong to the same political party, and may appoint two (2) alternate members, not more than one of whom shall belong to the same political party. At any meeting of the canvassing authority at which a member is to be absent, the member may request that an alternate replace him or her for that meeting; provided, that the alternate member must be of the same political party as the member. The mayor or the president of the town council shall nominate the members of the canvassing authority from lists of party voters submitted by the respective chairpersons of the city or town political committee, which lists shall contain the names of five (5) times the number of persons to be appointed. If the legislative body refuses to approve the nomination of any person to the canvassing authority, the mayor or the president shall submit to the legislative body another person named on one of the lists, and so on until a person is appointed. If the chairperson of the city or town committee of a political party entitled to an appointment fails or refuses to submit a list, the mayor or the president shall nominate any party voter of the political party entitled to the appointment.
§ 17-8-2. Term and qualifications for office.
Each member of a local canvassing authority shall be appointed to serve for a term of six (6) years beginning on the first Monday of March succeeding the date of his or her appointment and until his or her successor is elected and qualified. No person shall be appointed or serve as a member of the authority who is an officer or employee of the United States or of this state, or who is an officer or employee of the authority’s city or town; provided, that in any city a member of the authority may be employed as its clerk. Any member of the authority who becomes a candidate for election to any public office and who fails to file a declination of the candidacy within the time allowed by law shall be disqualified from holding membership upon the authority and his or her successor shall be immediately elected.
§ 17-8-3. Compensation.
Each member of a local board shall receive any compensation that may be provided by the governing body of each city or town; provided, that in the several towns where no other provision is made for compensation, each member of the local board shall be paid by that member’s respective town five dollars ($5.00) per day for every day’s attendance in the discharge of the member’s respective duties, and the town clerks shall be paid, in addition, legal fees for making out and recording the several lists and returns required by this title.
§ 17-8-4. Oath of office of members.
Each person appointed as a member of a local board shall, before entering upon his or her duties, be sworn to the faithful performance of those duties, and a record of the oath shall be kept by the clerk of the board.
§ 17-8-5. Local boards – Powers and duties – Quorum. ff
(a) Each canvassing authority shall have and exercise the functions, powers, and duties provided for local boards by this title or by any law not inconsistent with this title. It shall:
(1) Select one of its members as presiding officer and another as clerk of the board; provided, that nothing in this title shall be deemed to affect the powers and duties of the town clerk who shall be ex officio the clerk of the respective town canvassing authorities; and provided, further, that in the cities of Pawtucket, Central Falls, Newport, Woonsocket, Cranston, and Warwick, the clerk shall be designated at the time of his or her election or appointment;
(2) Have and discharge all of the functions, powers, and duties of the town council concerning nominations, elections, registration of voters and canvassing rights, the preparing and correcting of voting lists, and other related matters, which powers are transferred to the local board;
(3) Make or furnish all returns or other things required by law to be made or furnished to or by city clerks, boards of canvassers, and district clerks, relative to any matter within the purview of this title;
(4) Appoint and employ all its necessary clerical and technical assistants and fix the compensation of each person appointed, within the limits of funds available to it pursuant to law; provided, that in the cities of Cranston and Woonsocket and the town of Coventry the employment and compensation shall be subject to the approval of the respective city or town councils.
(b) A quorum of a local board for the purpose of receiving registrations shall be comprised of one member of the board, and for all other purposes a quorum shall be comprised of two (2) members.
§ 17-8-6. Fees in cities other than Cranston and Woonsocket.
The local boards in the cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Newport, and Warwick shall not retain to their own use any of the fees now allowed by law to recording and certifying officers, but shall charge and collect the statutory fees for any record, certificate, or copy required by law to be made by the board, and shall pay over the fees on the first business day of every month to the city treasurer of the respective city; provided, that those boards shall furnish, as now required by law, certified copies of any list of qualified electors in any representative district, ward, or voting district in the city on payment of the sum of one dollar ($1.00) for each certified list, which sums shall also be paid into the city treasury of the cities as provided in this section.
§ 17-8-7. Power of boards to administer oaths and subpoena evidence – Self-incrimination – False swearing.
The members of the local boards are severally authorized to administer oaths, and the boards, in all cases of every nature pending before them, are authorized and empowered to summon witnesses by subpoena signed by the clerk of those boards, and to compel these witnesses to attend and testify in the same manner as witnesses are compelled to appear and testify in any court; and the boards are authorized to compel the production of all papers, books, documents, records, certificates, or other legal evidence that may be necessary or proper for the determination and decision of any question or the discharge of any duty required by law of the boards, by issuing a subpoena duces tecum, signed by their clerk. Every person disobeying any subpoena shall be adjudged as in contempt, and the boards may punish any contempt of their authority in like manner as contempt may be punished by any court, and the boards may, at any meeting held for the purpose of canvassing the voting lists, examine under oath the person whose right to vote is disputed or any other person, and may receive any other evidence that the boards may deem necessary respecting the right of any person to have his or her name upon the registry or to vote, and shall decide upon the right. No evidence elicited in the examination shall be used against the person so examined in any criminal prosecution against him or her, except a prosecution for perjury in the examination. Any person who shall willfully swear falsely in any proceeding, matter, or hearing before the boards or any of them shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-8-8. General penalty clause.
Every person who violates any provision of this chapter, unless another penalty is provided in this chapter, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
§ 17-8-9. Local boards open on election day.
In addition to duties as otherwise fixed by law, it shall be the duty of the local board to keep open on all election days, from the hour fixed for the opening of the polls until the hour fixed for the closing of the polls, and to remain in session during the hours at a regular place of meeting of the board, council, or other body.
§ 17-8-10. Publication of local questions to be submitted to voters.
(a) Prior to each local election at which public questions are to be submitted, the local board shall cause to be prominently posted in at least three (3) local public locations and advertised at least once in a newspaper of local circulation, or in lieu of the requirement to place the advertisement in a newspaper of local circulation, the City of Pawtucket may mail to the household of each registered voter prior to the election the full text of each legislative act to be acted upon and the election date, or the local board may substitute a description of the text of each act in lieu of the full text, together with the following information:
(1) The designated number of the question;
(2) A brief caption of the question;
(3) A brief explanation of the measure that is the subject matter of the question; and
(4) A notice that voter fraud is a felony and the penalty for voter fraud. This notice shall be in conspicuous lettering and shall contain the following language: “You must be registered to vote from your actual place of residence.”
(b) If the public question involves the issuance of bonds or other evidence of indebtedness or any other long-term financial obligation such as a lease, the notice required by subsection (a) of this section shall also include at least the following information to be provided:
(1) The estimated total cost of the project or program, including financing (using a reasonable assumed rate of interest), legal, and other costs.
(2) The estimated useful life of the project, and the term of the bonds, other indebtedness, or other obligation.
(3) A reasonably detailed description of the project or program, its purposes, and a project timetable.
Chapter 17-9 – Registration Of Voters
§ 17-9-1 – 17-9-27. Repealed.
Chapter 17-9.1 Registration of Voters
§ 17-9.1-1. Registration required to vote.
No person shall be a qualified voter at any election unless that person is registered under the authority of this chapter or pursuant to any other provisions of this title.
§ 17-9.1-2. Duty of state board – Registration equipment – Forms.
It shall be the duty of the state board to prescribe the style, color, quality, and dimensions of all registration forms, containers, and other equipment required to provide for the permanent registration of voters, and for filing and safekeeping of the registration forms, and it shall furnish a sufficient quantity of registration forms, containers, and other equipment to the several cities and towns. It shall also be the duty of the state board to furnish the several cities and towns with any special professional assistance that may be necessary to assure the proper installation and servicing of the equipment.
§ 17-9.1-2.1. Duplicate voter registration information.
Any local board may adopt an alternative form and means for obtaining and retaining duplicative voter registration information which is approved by the state board of elections. The form shall provide for the information required by § 17-9.1-6 and shall be kept in the order specified by §§ 17-9.1-13 and 17-9.1-14. The alternative form need not be of a distinctive color; provided, that the alternative form is substantially different in size and shape from the card designated the original under the provisions of § 17-9.1-6. The alternative form also need not provide for a signature.
§ 17-9.1-3. Periods when boards receive registrations.
(a) The local boards shall open their respective offices for the purposes of receiving registration of voters throughout the year during the regular business hours. Registration for any election shall close on the thirtieth (30th) day preceding an election; provided, that local boards shall not receive the registration on Sundays or legal holidays, and may receive the registrations during additional hours each day from the fortieth (40th) to the thirtieth (30th) day before any election. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as restricting the right of statewide or local registration agents or members of the general assembly to accept registrations of voters on any day. The acceptance of registrations at any other time shall not affect the validity of any election.
(b) Notwithstanding any other sections of the general laws to the contrary, all local boards of canvassers shall remain open from eight-thirty (8:30) a.m. until four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the last day prescribed by law for the taking of voter registrations to permit participation of the voters in the next succeeding election. In the event that the last day prescribed by law for the taking of voter registrations is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, then the local board may;

(1) Designate one publicly accessible location in the city or town at which voter registrations will be taken; and
(2) Designate the hours during which voter registration will be taken at that location, which hours shall include the hours from one o’clock (1:00) p.m. until four o’clock (4:00) p.m.
(c) If a local board does designate a location other than its regular place of business or does designate hours other than eight-thirty o’clock (8:30) a.m. until four o’clock (4:00) p.m., it shall:
(1) Publicly announce those designation(s) at least ten (10) days prior to the last day provided by law for the taking of voter registrations; and
(2) Advertise those designation(s) in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town at least twice prior to the last day prescribed by law for the taking of voter registrations.
§ 17-9.1-4. Repealed.
§ 17-9.1-4.1. Registration drives at high schools.
It shall be the duty of local boards to annually conduct a voter registration drive at each high school within the city or town in cooperation with the administration of the schools. Each principal of every public or private high school and director of each vocational school in this state may be a registration agent whose authority shall be limited to receiving and accepting registrations as electors from those qualified applicants who are enrolled as students within the school or are employed within the school. The principal or director may designate one or more persons in the school to serve as registration agents with the same authority as the principal of the school, provided each designation is filed with the local board for the city or town in which the school is located. Each person who is a registration agent pursuant to this section shall be sworn to the faithful performance of his or her duties and shall be subject to removal as a registration agent by the local board for cause shown. All registration made under this section shall be made in accordance with rules and regulations established by the local board of the city or town in which the school is located.
§ 17-9.1-4.2. Repealed.
§ 17-9.1-5. Local registration agents.
(a) The several local boards shall appoint a sufficient number of agents who shall serve throughout each year for the purpose of receiving registrations of persons residing in the city or town in which the agent was appointed to act. The agents shall be sworn to the faithful performance of their duties, shall be subject to removal by the local board, and shall have power to accept registrations on Sundays and at any other time or place designated by the local board, whether in or out of the presence of the members of the local board. In addition, all members of the general assembly shall have the power to accept registration on Sundays and any other day, and the local boards of canvassers shall provide all registration forms to the general assembly members.
(b) The several local boards or their agents shall additionally hold a special registration session in any factory, mill, wholesale or retail or other employing establishment, or hospital, home for aged, or convalescent home within their city or town in the even numbered years on or before July 5th for the state primary, and on or before August 5th for the state election, if in the case of the primary a request for the special registration session is made during the months of May or June, and in the case of the election a request for the special registration is made during the months of June and July by ten (10) or more voters of the city or town filing a petition with the local board for the holding of a special registration session in the factory, mill, wholesale or retail or other employing establishment, or hospital, home for aged, or convalescent home, signed by them with their names and addresses as they appear on voting lists of the city or town, and stating that ten (10) or more persons employed in the factory, mill, wholesale or retail or other employing establishment, or convalescent home desire and are entitled to be registered in the city or town. The special registration session shall then be held if, at the time the petition is filed, the local board is in receipt of permission in writing from the tenant, or, if there is no tenant, from the owner of the factory, mill, wholesale or retail or other employing establishment, or the operator of the hospital, home for aged, or convalescent home to use their premises for the purpose of holding the special session.
§ 17-9.1-5.1. Statewide registration agents.
The state board of elections shall appoint a sufficient number of agents who shall serve throughout the year to perform the duties assigned to them by § 17-7-5 and any other duties that may be assigned them by the board. Each registrar who performs his or her duties faithfully and completely, and who attends an annual training session which includes a presentation on changes to the election laws during the previous year, shall be automatically reappointed as a registration agent.
§ 17-9.1-5.2. Qualifications and jurisdiction of registration agents.
No registration agent, whether appointed by a local board, by the state board, or empowered by law, shall be authorized to accept registrations outside of the state of Rhode Island, and all the registration agents shall themselves be registered to vote in the state of Rhode Island.
§ 17-9.1-6. Form of registration cards – Confidentiality of place of registration.
(a) Registration forms shall consist of the number of sets of cards and of the size and color that shall be determined by the state board of elections, one of which forms shall be designated as the original and any others as duplicates. The forms shall be ruled with appropriate spaces and headings to indicate the registrant’s name, residence address, mailing address if different from residence address, date of birth, and registrant’s signature and date of affixation of signature, and may include any other information, certifications, and declarations, including those made under the penalty of perjury, that may be required by the state board in order to administer a single and unified system of voter registration in accordance with applicable state and federal laws which shall enable duly registered voters to vote in all elections in their respective voting districts, including elections for federal officers.
(b) Notwithstanding that registration forms are public records, nothing contained in the registration forms, nor any identifying characteristics of the forms such as size or color, shall indicate the particular office of the division of motor vehicles at which the voter was registered, nor shall there be any indication that the voter was registered at any other state, federal, or private agency. Nothing contained in this section shall restrict the state board of elections from maintaining confidential records showing the actual place of registration of all voters.
§ 17-9.1-7. Registration at the division of motor vehicles.
(a) Every person applying at the division of motor vehicles for a driver’s license or a renewal of the license, or personal identification document issued by the division of motor vehicles, and who is or may be by the next general election qualified to vote, shall be afforded the opportunity to register to vote, or if previously registered, to change their address for voting purposes.
(b) The application to register to vote must be offered simultaneously with the application for the driver’s license or renewal of it or personal identification document. Division of motor vehicles employees must provide to applicants for driver’s licenses, license renewal, or personal identification documents the same level of assistance and instruction with respect to the application to register to vote as is provided with respect to the application for driver’s licenses, renewal of the license, or personal identification documents; provided, that separate signatures shall be required on the application for driver’s license, renewal of the license, or personal identification document and the application to register to vote. The applicant may decline to register to vote by failing to sign the voter registration form. In order to protect the privacy of those who do not wish to register to vote for any reason, the failure of an applicant for a driver’s license or renewal of it or a personal identification document to sign the voter registration form may not be used for any purposes other than to determine the person’s voter registration status.
(c)(1) The voter registration application shall contain the registrant’s name, residence address, mailing address if different from residence address, date of birth, and registrant’s signature and date of affixation of signature, and may include any other information, certifications, and declarations, including those made under the penalty of perjury, that may be required by the state board in order to administer a single and unified system of voter registration in accordance with applicable state and federal laws which shall enable duly registered voters to vote in all elections in their respective voting districts including, elections for federal officers. The voter registration application must also include, in print identical to that used in the attestation portion of the form, the following:
(i) The penalties provided by law for submitting a false voter registration;
(ii) A statement that, if the applicant declines to register to vote, his or her decision will remain confidential and be used only for voter registration purposes; and
(iii) A statement that, if the applicant does register to vote, information regarding the office or branch of the division of motor vehicles to which the application was submitted will remain confidential, to be used only for voter registration purposes.
(2) It shall be the responsibility of the division of motor vehicles to print and to have available at all time a sufficient number of voter registration forms in order to carry out the provisions of this section.
(d) The completed voter registration application shall be transmitted by the division of motor vehicles to the central voter registration system mandated pursuant to § 17-6-1.2 not later than the next business day after the date of acceptance by the division of motor vehicles. Transmission shall be made by electronic means as prescribed by the secretary of state, and shall be in an electronic form compatible with the voter registration system maintained by the secretary of state. For each registration electronically transmitted, a hard copy will be provided to the appropriate local board of canvassers.
(e) Any person who has fully and correctly completed an application to register to vote at the division of motor vehicles is presumed to be registered as of the date of the acceptance of the registration by the division of motor vehicles, subject to verification of the registration by the local board as provided in § 17-9.1-25.
(f) The state board of elections shall have the authority to adopt regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this section, including all registrations taken at the division of motor vehicles.
§ 17-9.1-7. Registration at the division of motor vehicles – Additional agencies. [Contingent effective date; see note.].

(a) Every person applying at the division of motor vehicles for a driver’s license or a renewal of the license, or personal identification document issued by the division of motor vehicles, and who is or may be by the next general election qualified to vote, shall be registered to vote, or if previously registered, be afforded the opportunity to change their address for voting purposes.

(b) The application to register to vote must be offered simultaneously with the application for the driver’s license or renewal of it or personal identification document. Division of motor vehicles employees must provide to applicants for driver’s licenses, license renewal, or personal identification documents the same level of assistance and instruction with respect to the application to register to vote as is provided with respect to the application for driver’s licenses, renewal of the license, or personal identification documents; provided, that one signature may be sufficient on the application for driver’s license, renewal of the license, or personal identification document and the application to register to vote. The applicant shall be afforded the opportunity to decline to register to vote. If previously registered, the applicant shall be afforded the opportunity to change his or her address for voting purposes. In order to protect the privacy of those who do not wish to register to vote for any reason, the failure of an applicant for a driver’s license or renewal of it or a personal identification document to register to vote may not be used for any purposes other than to determine the person’s voter registration status.

(c)(1) The voter registration application shall contain the registrant’s name, residence address, mailing address if different from residence address, date of birth, and registrant’s signature and date of affixation of signature, and may include any other information, certifications, and declarations, including those made under the penalty of perjury, that may be required by the state board in order to administer a single and unified system of voter registration in accordance with applicable state and federal laws that shall enable duly registered voters to vote in all elections in their respective voting districts including, elections for federal officers. The voter registration application must also include, in print identical to that used in the attestation portion of the form, the following:

(i) The penalties provided by law for submitting a false voter registration;

(ii) A statement that, if the applicant declines to register to vote, his or her decision will remain confidential and be used only for voter registration purposes; and

(iii) A statement that, if the applicant does register to vote, information regarding the office or branch of the division of motor vehicles to which the application was submitted will remain confidential, to be used only for voter registration purposes.

(2) It shall be the responsibility of the division of motor vehicles to print and to have available at all times a sufficient number of voter registration forms in order to carry out the provisions of this section.

(d) The completed voter registration application shall be transmitted by the division of motor vehicles to the central voter registration system mandated pursuant to § 17-6-1.2 not later than the next business day after the date of acceptance by the division of motor vehicles. Transmission shall be made by electronic means as prescribed by the secretary of state, and shall be in an electronic form compatible with the voter registration system maintained by the secretary of state.

(e) Any person who has fully and correctly completed an application to register to vote at the division of motor vehicles is presumed to be registered as of the date of the acceptance of the registration by the division of motor vehicles, subject to verification of the registration by the local board as provided in § 17-9.1-25.

(f) Pursuant to § 17-9.1-11, the division of motor vehicles shall not transmit the voter registration of any applicant who fails to certify that they are a citizen of the United States.

(g) If a person who is ineligible to vote becomes registered to vote pursuant to this section, that person’s registration shall be presumed to be deemed officially authorized and not be deemed attributable to or the fault of that person. Notwithstanding the foregoing, anyone who knowingly and willfully provides false information pursuant to this section shall be subject to prosecution under § 17-9.1-12.

(h) The state board of elections shall have the authority to adopt regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this section, including all registrations taken at the division of motor vehicles.

(i)(1) In accordance with Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, 52 U.S.C. § 20506, other applicable state government agencies that the secretary verifies already collect documents that would provide proof of eligibility, including age, citizenship, and residence address, may follow the procedures for automatic voter registration enumerated for the division of motor vehicles as described in subsections (b) through (d) of this section.

(2) Any additional agencies that are designated for automatic registration must follow the rules and protocols established in this section for the division of motor vehicles.

(j) Effective date. The provisions of this section shall take effect thirty (30) days after the administrator of the division of motor vehicles certifies in writing to the general assembly that the Rhode Island motor vehicle licensing system (RIMS) computer system is capable of meeting the requirements set forth in this act. The administrator of the division of motor vehicles shall consult with the secretary prior to making this determination about the computer system.
§ 17-9.1-8. Registration at designated agencies.

(a) Every person who is or may be by the next general election qualified to vote may register to vote when being discharged from incarceration or when applying for services or assistance at any of the following offices:

(1) Any office in the state that provides public assistance;

(2) At or through any offices in the state that provide state funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities;

(3) At armed forces recruitment offices, subject to procedures developed by the state board in cooperation with the United States Department of Defense;

(4) At or through the department of corrections; and

(5) At any other agencies within the state that shall be determined by the state board.

(b) Voter registration agencies designated by the state board may include, but are not limited to:

(1) State or local government offices such as public libraries, public schools, offices of city and towns clerks (including marriage license bureaus), fishing and hunting license bureaus, government revenue offices, unemployment compensation offices, and offices not described in subdivision (a)(2) of this section that provide services to persons with disabilities; and

(2) Federal and nongovernmental offices, with the agreement of those offices.

(c)(1) Persons must be provided this opportunity to register to vote not only at the time of their original application for services, but also when filing any recertification, renewal, or for a change of address relating to those services. Agencies providing voter registration assistance must offer the same degree of assistance to individuals in completing a voter registration form as they offer to individuals in completing the agency’s own forms, unless the applicant refuses the assistance.

(2) Any person who provides voter registration assistance services in an agency is prohibited from:

(i) Seeking to influence an applicant’s party preference or party registration;

(ii) Displaying any political preference or party allegiance;

(iii) Making any statement or taking any action whose purpose or effect is to discourage the applicant from registering to vote; or

(iv) Making any statement or taking any action whose purpose or effect is to lead the applicant to believe that a decision whether or not to register has any bearing on the availability of services or benefits or on discharge from incarceration.

(d)(1) Those who decline to register to vote must do so in writing or by failing to check a box on a form containing the question: “If you are not registered to vote where you live now, would you like to apply to register to vote here today? yes or no”.

(2) The declination may be included in the agency application for services or on a separate form provided by the agency, subject to rules and regulations to be adopted by the state board.

(3) No information regarding a person’s declination to register to vote may be used for any purpose other than voter registration. If an individual does register to vote, the particular agency at which the applicant submits a voter registration application may not be publicly disclosed.

(4) The declination form to be used at agencies providing public or publicly funded assistance shall also contain the following statements and information:

(i) “Applying to register or declining to register to vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will be provided by this agency”; or, for those forms made available by the department of corrections. “Applying to register or declining to register to vote will not affect your discharge from incarceration”;

(ii) “If you do not check either box, you will be considered to have decided not to register to vote at this time.” (with “yes” and “no” boxes being provided);

(iii) “If you would like help filling out the voter registration application form, we will help you. The decision whether to seek or accept help is yours. You may fill out the application form in private”;

(iv) “If you believe that someone has interfered with your right to register or to decline to register to vote, your right to privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying to register to vote, or your right to choose your own political party or other political preference, you may file a complaint with the State Board of Elections, 50 Branch Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02904, (401) 222-2345, (401) 222-2239 TDD”;

(v) A statement that if the applicant declines to register to vote, his or her decision will remain confidential and be used only for voter registration purposes; and

(vi) A statement that if the applicant does register to vote, information regarding the agency to which the application was submitted will remain confidential, to be used only for voter registration purposes.

(e)(1) The registration form to be provided in these agencies shall be the mail registration form adopted by the state board. Unless the registrant refuses to permit the agency to transmit the form to the state board or local board where the applicant resides, the agency shall transmit the completed registration form to the state board or any local board. However, if the registrant refuses, the registrant may either mail the form to the state board or any local board or may provide for delivery of the form to the state board or any local board either in person or through a third party. It shall be the responsibility of all state or state funded agencies to have available at all times a sufficient number of voter registration forms in order to carry out the provisions of this section.

(2) Unless the applicant refuses to permit the agency to transmit the completed voter registration form to the state board or to a local board, the agency shall be required to transmit the registration form within ten (10) days after acceptance, or if accepted on the last day or within five (5) days before the last day to register for an election, within five (5) days of acceptance.

(f) The department of corrections and each agency designated by the board to register persons to vote when applying for services or assistance shall report to the state board:

(1) The number of persons applying for services and assistance or the number of persons discharged from incarceration following felony convictions who are eligible to vote;

(2) The number of persons who have been registered to vote at that agency;

(3) The number of forms that have been transmitted by the agency to the state or local board; and

(4) The number of persons who have declined to register to vote at that agency. Reports to the state board by each designated agency shall be on a quarterly basis.

(g) Any person who has fully and correctly completed an application to register to vote at a designated agency is presumed to be registered as of the date of the acceptance of the registration by the designated agency, subject to verification of the registration by the state board or any local board as provided in § 17-9.1-25.

(h) If a voter registration agency which is primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities provides those services at the person’s home, the agency shall provide the voter registration services authorized by this section at the person’s home.

(i) The state board of elections shall have the authority to adopt regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this section, including all registrations taken at designated agencies.

(j) In cases where the findings required by subdivision 17-6-1.2(a)(4) have been made, transmission shall be made by electronic means as prescribed by the secretary of state, and shall be in an electronic form compatible with the voter registration system maintained by the secretary of state.
§ 17-9.1-9. Registration by mail.

(a) Every person who is or may be by the next general election qualified to vote may register to vote by mail. Mail registration shall be accomplished through the use of the federal mail registration form prescribed by the federal election commission under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, 42 USC 1973gg, and/or through the use of a mail registration form prescribed by the state board of elections which complies with the requirements contained in the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The form shall contain the registrant’s name, residence address, mailing address if different from residence address, date of birth, and registrant’s signature and date of affixation of signature, and may include any other information, certifications, and declarations, including those made under the penalty of perjury, that may be required by the state board in order to administer a single and unified system of voter registration in accordance with applicable state and federal laws which shall enable duly registered voters to vote in all elections in their respective voting districts, including elections for federal officers.

(b) Any person who has fully and correctly completed an application to register to vote by mail which is delivered by the postal service to the State Board of Elections or any local board shall be presumed to be registered as of the date it is postmarked by the postal service, subject to verification of the registration by the state board of any local board as provided in § 17-9.1-25. In those cases where the mail registration form is received not later than five (5) days after the last date to register to vote for an election and the postmark is either missing or unclear, the voter shall be presumed to have registered on or prior to the last day to register for an election, subject to verification of the registration by the state board or any local board as provided in § 17-9.1-25.

(c) The state board of elections shall have authority to adopt regulations to implement and administer mail registrations.
§ 17-9.1-9.1. Shut-in voters, serviceperson’s dependents, or peace corps registrations.

(a) Shut-in voters. Every person otherwise duly qualified to vote who by reason of illness or physical or mental disability is unable to register in person at the office of the local board may register to vote by mail.

(b) Serviceperson’s dependents. Every person otherwise duly qualified to vote who by reason of being the spouse or dependent child of a member of the armed forces of the United States in active service who is qualified to vote and is absent from this state, and is with the member of the armed forces and unable to register in person, may register to vote by mail.

(c) Peace corps registration. Every person otherwise duly qualified to register to vote who by reason of being a peace corps volunteer as defined in 22 U.S.C. § 2504, or a peace corps leader as defined in 22 U.S.C. § 2505, or the spouse or dependent child of the volunteer or leader, is absent from this state and unable to register in person and desiring to register, may register to vote by mail.
§ 17-9.1-10. Additional method of registering.

(a) In addition to the methods for registering to vote provided in §§ 17-9.1-7, 17-9.1-8, 17-9.1-9, and 17-9.1-34, whenever any person who is, or may be, by the next election qualified to vote desires to register, that person may appear before the local board of the city or town in which he or she has his or her residence, as defined in § 17-1-3.1, or before the clerk or other duly authorized agent of the board, or before a registrar appointed by the state board of elections, and shall furnish the information required of him or her by this chapter and any information described in §§ 17-9.1-23 and 17-9.1-24 that the registrant may wish to record, and after the information has been recorded on the registry card furnished for that purpose, the person shall sign his or her name and certify to the truth of the facts recorded in the appropriate spaces in the card; provided, whenever any person is unable to sign his or her name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, he or she shall make his mark “(X)”, which shall be witnessed by the person receiving the registration.

(b) It shall be the duty of the local board or clerk or other duly authorized agent of the board or registrar of the state board of elections to inform the person registering to vote that the voter will be mailed an acknowledgement card advising the person of the disposition of the registration and in the process verifying that the person resides at the address provided on the registration form. The person shall also be advised that if the acknowledgement card is returned as undeliverable, the person will be placed on the inactive list of voters pending the results of the confirmation process described in § 17-9.1-26. Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to entitle a person to vote whose registration form has not been filed with the local board at least thirty (30) days before an election.
§ 17-9.1-11. Certification of citizenship.
Before the name of any person shall be placed on the voting list, the person shall, at the time of registration, certify or declare that the person is a citizen of the United States.
§ 17-9.1-12. False certificates in registration.
Every person who knowingly and willfully makes any false certificate or declaration in registering his or her name pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or who knowingly and willfully makes any false statement in any affirmation or confirmation form or who, acting in the capacity of a voter registrar, knowingly and willfully registers a person who has made a false certificate or declaration, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-9.1-13. Filing of registration cards – Transmittal to secretary of state.

(a) The original registration cards shall be arranged and maintained in alphabetical order by surname for the entire city or town and shall be filed in suitable containers. Any duplicate set of cards shall be maintained at the discretion of the local canvassing authority, subject to prior approval from the state board of elections.

(b) The local board shall be required to provide promptly to the office of the secretary of state in connection with the operation and maintenance of the central voter register information provided to the local board relative to any voter registration. The information to be provided shall be that which may be necessary for the secretary of state to operate and maintain the central voter register in accordance with chapter 6 of this title.
§ 17-9.1-14. Custody of registration cards.

The containers of the original and any duplicate registration cards in the possession of the local board and the keys to the containers shall be kept in the custody of the local board, and these containers shall remain securely locked at all times and shall be opened only by the local board or its specially authorized agent at its office, except as provided in this chapter.
§ 17-9.1-15. Registration records public.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in § 17-9.1-6, the original and any duplicate registration cards shall be public records and shall be open to public inspection and copying at all reasonable times.

(b) Except where confidentiality is otherwise required under other provisions of this title, all other records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters, and the registration lists prepared pursuant to § 17-9.1-21, shall also be deemed public records.
§ 17-9.1-16. Procedure on change of address – Fail safe voting provisions.

(a) Change of address within the same city or town.

(1) A registered voter who has moved from a residence address within a voting district to another residence address within the same voting district and who has not notified the local board of the change of residence address thirty (30) days or more prior to the election shall be permitted to vote at the polling place designated for the voting district or at the local board upon completion of a written affirmation form which shall record the voter’s change of address within the voting district. The form may be completed by the voter at the polling place designated for the voting district and thereafter transmitted, after the close of the polls, to the local board or may be completed at the local board.

(2) Any registered voter who has moved his or her residence from one residence address to another residence address within the same city or town and who has not notified the local board of the change of residence address thirty (30) days or more prior to the election shall be permitted to vote as follows:

(i) A registered voter who has moved from a residence address in one voting district to a residence address in another voting district within the same city or town thirty (30) days or more preceding an election shall be permitted to vote a full ballot at the polling place of the new residence address or at the local board upon completion of an affirmation form which shall record the voter’s change of address. If the form is completed at the polling place, the form shall be forwarded to the local board after the close of the polls; or

(ii) Any registered voter who has moved less than thirty (30) days preceding an election from one address to another address within a different voting district within the same city or town shall be permitted to vote at the polling place of the former address or at the local board and is entitled to vote the full ballot for the old polling place upon completion of an affirmation form which shall record the voter’s change of address.

(3) Any registered voter to whom a confirmation mailing was sent by either the state board or a local board, based upon information other than change of address information received from or through the postal service, shall be placed on the inactive list of voters if the recipient of the confirmation mailing fails to return the related confirmation card. If the voter continues to reside in the same city or town and at the residence address currently recorded on the voter’s registration card or at a residence address within the same voting district, the voter shall be permitted to vote at the polling place for that residence address upon signing an affirmation form. If the voter has moved to a new residence address within the same city or town but within a different voting district the registered voter shall be permitted to vote a full ballot at the polling place of the new residence address or at the local board upon completion of an affirmation form which shall record the voter’s change of address.

(4) Any registered voter to whom a confirmation mailing was sent by either the state board or a local board, based upon change of address information provided by or through the postal service, shall not be placed on the inactive list even if the recipient of the confirmation mailing fails to return the related confirmation card. The registered voter shall be permitted to vote at the polling place of the new residence address or the local board without the requirement of signing an affirmation form. If the change of address information provided by or through the postal service was in error, the registered voter shall be permitted to vote at the polling place of his or her former address or at the local board upon signing the required affirmation form.

(b) Change of address from one city or town to another city or town.

(1) A voter who has moved his or her residence, as defined in § 17-1-3.1, from the address at which the voter is registered to another within a different city or town shall be required to register in the city or town to which the voter has moved; provided, that no person qualified to vote in any city or town in this state shall lose his or her right to vote in that city or town by reason of his or her removal to another city or town in this state during the thirty (30) days, less one day, next preceding an election or primary in the former city or town.

(2) That a voter who remains within the state, although he or she fails to register in the city or town to which the voter has moved within time to vote in the city or town, shall be permitted to vote by special paper ballot to be provided by the secretary of state upon application for it approved by the board of canvassers of the voter’s former city or town for federal and statewide elected officials only during the six (6) months, less one day, next preceding an election or primary.

(c) Persons erroneously excluded from certified voting list. Any voter finding that his or her name is not on the certified voting list of his or her city or town being used at any election may cast a provisional ballot in accordance with § 17-19-24.1.
§ 17-9.1-17. Reregistration – Notice to city or town of previous address.

(a) A voter may register in a city or town into which he or she has moved whether or not the voter has notified the board of the city or town in which the voter was last registered of the voter’s change of address. The action of registration shall automatically cancel the voter’s registration in the former city or town.

(b) The local board of any city or town shall, upon receiving the registration of any person, notify the board of the city or town stated by the person to be that person’s last place of residence, of the registration. At that time, the last mentioned board shall retain the original registration card of the person in accordance with the approved records retention schedule for boards of canvassers issued by the state archives.

(c) The state board shall have authority by regulation to direct the manner in which the provisions of this section are carried out by the local boards and the secretary of state.

§ 17-9.1-17.1. Registration – Notice to jurisdiction of previous out-of-state address.

The secretary of state shall, upon receiving a voter’s new registration, notify the appropriate election official of the newly registered voter’s last place of residence, only if it is located outside the state of Rhode Island.

§ 17-9.1-18. Change of name.

Any registered voter whose name has been changed by marriage or court action shall be entitled to have the change of name recorded on the registration records of the local board, and upon the recording, shall be entitled to vote thereafter under the changed name. The local board shall immediately notify the secretary of state of the action.
§ 17-9.1-19. Single registration.

(a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any voter to reregister if he or she is already registered in the city or town in which the voter has his or her residence, as defined in § 17-1-3.1. A voter shall have no more than one voter registration. Any voter who is registered more than once shall be deemed to have authorized the cancellation of all registrations other than the most recent, provided that nothing in this section shall be taken to validate any registration which is not a city or town where the voter has his or her residence.

(b) The local board of canvassers of each city or town shall review their voter registration files on a quarterly basis in accordance with regulations adopted by the secretary of state for the purpose of removing duplicate voter registrations in the central voter registration system for any voter registered in their city or town.
§ 17-9.1-20. False affidavits.

Every person who makes a false affidavit under this chapter shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-9.1-21. Registration lists furnished to political parties.

The local boards shall not more than once a month, if requested to do so by the state and/or city or town chairperson of any political party, or any state or local office holder or declared candidate for public office, furnish without cost and without unreasonable delay to the chairperson, or the chairperson’s accredited representative, and to any state or local office holder or declared candidate for public office so requesting, the names and addresses of all persons who are newly registered to vote in the city or town, the names and addresses of all electors who have transferred to a new voting address, and the names and addresses of all persons whose names have been removed from the voting list or placed in the inactive category. In the event that any list so furnished is declared to be inaccurate by the chairperson of the democratic state committee or the chairperson of the republican state central committee, the state board of elections shall, at its discretion, if requested by either of the chairpersons, appoint a disinterested person to examine the records of the local board for the purpose of determining the accuracy of the list. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any member of the general public from obtaining the same information under the access to Public Records Acts, chapter 2 of title 38.
§ 17-9.1-22. Tampering with registration records.

Every person who willfully and without lawful authority destroys, secretes, removes, defaces, alters, tampers, or meddles with the original or any duplicate registration card after any entry has been lawfully made in it, or any official list of registered voters compiled from the registration cards to be used by any local board or office of the secretary of state in connection with the conduct of any election or the mailing of any election materials, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-9.1-23. Party designation.

(a) Whenever any person registers to vote, that person may designate his or her party affiliation, or that person may designate that he or she is not affiliated with any political party. The information shall be recorded on a form prescribed by the state board of elections.

(b) Any person who is already registered to vote and wishes to designate his or her party affiliation may do so by voluntarily presenting himself or herself to that person’s local board of canvassers and designating his or her party affiliation and certifying to the fact on the form furnished for that purpose.

(c) Whenever any person participates in a party primary, that act shall serve as identifying the person as being affiliated with the party in whose primary that person has participated and the local board shall record the affiliation on the appropriate form. For the purposes of this section, “participating in a party primary” does not include the circulation or signing of nomination papers.
§ 17-9.1-24. Change of designation.

(a) Any person who has designated his or her party affiliation pursuant to § 17-9.1-23 may change the designation on or before the ninetieth (90th) day preceding any primary election for which the person is eligible. Whenever any person desires to change his or her party designation, that person shall appear before the local board of the city or town in which that person has his or her residence, as defined in § 17-1-3.1, or before the clerk or other duly authorized agent of the board, and shall change his or her party designation and, after the information has been recorded on the form furnished for that purpose, the person shall sign his or her name and certify to the truth of the facts recorded in the appropriate spaces in the form; or the person shall furnish an affidavit properly executed and signed by him or her to the board directing the board to change the party designation. Whenever any person is unable to sign his or her name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, that person shall make his or her mark “(X)”, which shall be witnessed by the person receiving the registration. For the convenience of persons voting at a primary election, affidavits for changing party designation shall be available at all primary polling places. The presence of the affidavits at the primary polling place shall not be construed to allow a person to change his or her party designation within ninety (90) days preceding the primary election.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, affidavits for changing party designation which are executed by voters at polling places immediately after voting in primary elections conducted in the city of Warwick in January, 2000, shall take effect immediately.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, affidavits for changing party designation which are executed by voters at polling places immediately after voting in primary elections conducted in senate district 20 comprising parts of the city of Woonsocket and town of Cumberland in March, 2008, shall take effect immediately.
§ 17-9.1-25. Acknowledgement of registration or change of address – Verification of residence.

(a) The local board of each city or town shall mail an acknowledgement notice to each newly registered voter and to each voter who changes his or her voting residence within seven (7) days after receipt of the registration or change of residence. The acknowledgement notice shall notify the applicant for registration of the disposition of the application, i.e., whether the application is deemed accepted or denied. If denied, the reason for the denial shall be indicated on the notice. The acknowledgement notice shall be mailed to the applicant at the address from which he or she registered and shall be clearly marked: “Do Not Forward – Return If Undeliverable”. Provided, however, that the New Shoreham Board of Canvassers may address the acknowledgement notice, and any other notice that may be required by this chapter, to the person’s post office box if said post office box is located within the confines of New Shoreham. Provided, further that in any other city or town in which some postal customers are not eligible to receive home mail delivery from the United States postal service, and the respective streets and street ranges are certified as such to the secretary of state, the city or town shall address the acknowledgment card and any other notice that may be required by this chapter to the United States postal service post office box at which the voter receives mail.

(b) The acknowledgement form shall be of a size and other specifications that shall be determined by the state board and shall be substantially in the following form; provided, that the wording of the form may be revised and updated from time to time by the state board in a manner to make its content as easily readable and understandable as possible:

Your application to register to vote has been received and accepted. The following is information concerning your voting districts.

Your U.S. Representative District is

Your State Senate District is

Your Representative District is

Your Council District is

Your Ward District is

Your Voting District is

Locations of polling places for these districts may be obtained from newspaper advertisements preceding each election or by calling your local board.

Your application to register to vote has been received incomplete. Please contact our office at the telephone number or address listed below.

Your application to register to vote has been rejected because

If this card is addressed to a person who does not live at this address, please ask your mail carrier to return it to the sender.

Board of Canvassers

Address

Telephone Number

(c) The form may also contain any other information that may be required by the state board.

(d) Those notices that are returned as undeliverable to the local board shall be reviewed to verify that the address was correctly printed on the notice. All notices returned as undeliverable shall be attached to the registration notices and maintained as a record of the local board.

(e) Any voter whose application to register to vote has been accepted, but whose acknowledgement notice has been returned by postal authorities as undeliverable, shall be placed on an inactive list of voters and shall not be permitted to vote unless an affirmation form is completed. The local board shall be required, upon receipt of the undeliverable acknowledgement notice, to commence the confirmation process described in § 17-9.1-26.
§ 17-9.1-26. Confirmation process – Verification of the address of registered voter.

(a)(1) Whenever: (i) An acknowledgement card that was mailed to a voter whose application to register to vote has been accepted is returned as undeliverable; (ii) Through the periodic updating of voter registration records as provided in § 17-9.1-27, a change of address is detected for any voter; (iii) As the result of a challenge under § 17-9.1-28, the challenged voter fails to appear before the local board; or (iv) A mailing by the jury commissioner to a voter is returned as undeliverable; the local board shall begin the confirmation process described in subsection (b) of this section.

(2) Whenever any other official mailing, from either the state board or a local board or from the office of the secretary of state, which official mailing has been sent to at least a majority of the registered voters in a particular city or town, is returned as undeliverable to any one or more of the voters to whom it was mailed, the local board may commence the confirmation process described in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The confirmation notice shall be sent by first-class, forwardable mail and shall be of any size or other specifications that shall be determined by the state board. The notice shall include a voter registration form that may be used by the voter to verify or correct the voter’s residence address for voting purposes.

(c) The confirmation notice shall be prepared in substantially the following form and shall contain substantially the following information, subject to any additional information as may be required by the state board; provided, that the wording of the form may be revised and updated from time to time by the state board in a manner to make its content as easily readable and understandable as possible:

The board of canvassers has received information that you may no longer reside at the address from which you are currently registered. If you have not permanently changed your residence address, or if you have permanently changed your residence address but continue to live in the same city or town, you should immediately return the voter registration form no later than fourteen (14) days after the date of this mailing even if this notice was mailed to your correct current address. If the voter registration form is not returned, affirmation or confirmation of your current address may be required at the polls on election day. If the registration form is not returned and you do not vote by ………., which is the date of the second general election following the date of this mailing, then your name may be removed from the voter registration list. If you have permanently changed residence address to another city or town in Rhode Island, please complete and return the completed voter registration form to the local board of canvassers in the city or town of your current address.

(d) The confirmation notice shall be mailed to both the voter’s current registered address and any new residence address, to the extent both addresses are available to the local board.

(e) If a confirmation notice is mailed to a voter and returned as undeliverable, or if delivered and the voter has not responded within fourteen (14) days from the date of the mailing, the voter shall remain on, or be placed on, the inactive list and shall not be permitted to vote until the voter has signed an affirmation form at either the approved polling place or at the local board of canvassers as provided in this chapter. Any application for a mail ballot under § 17-20-2.1 or an emergency mail ballot under § 17-20-2.2 shall serve as a proper affirmation form under this section if the address is the same as the voter’s current address on record with the board of canvassers. If the voter fails to vote by the second general election following the date of the confirmation mailing, then the voter shall be removed from the voting list. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, if the confirmation mailing was based upon the change of address information provided by or through the United States Postal Service National Change of Address Program, and the voter has failed to respond to the confirmation mailing, the voter shall remain on the active list of voters and shall not be required to sign the affirmation form. In these cases, the voter’s residence address for voting purposes will be changed by the local board to the new address as indicated by the National Change of Address Program.

(f) Local boards shall be required to maintain for a period of at least two (2) years a record of all outgoing confirmation mailings, including the reasons for the mailing of the confirmations. Records shall be kept in a fashion that may be determined by the state board.
§ 17-9.1-27. Periodic updating of voter registration records.

(a) In every odd-numbered year, the secretary of state shall update the central voter register using the United States Postal Service National Change of Address (NCOA) Program. The office of the Secretary of State shall be responsible for obtaining the NCOA data and providing each local board of canvassers with their data; provided, that the updating shall be performed by each local board. The NCOA list of address changes shall be compared by the local board with lists of registered voters, and if address changes are detected for any voter, the local board shall institute the confirmation process described in § 17-9.1-26.

(b) Each local board of canvassers in each city or town shall send annually, a notice prescribed by the secretary of state and marked “Do Not Forward – Return if Undeliverable”, to every active registered voter who has not voted in the past five (5) calendar years and has not otherwise communicated with the board during that period of time, advising them of their current polling place and voting eligibility, and informing them that mail that is returned as undeliverable will initiate the confirmation process described in § 17-9.1-26; provided, however, that the local boards shall not be obligated to send such notice if the state or federal government fails to appropriate the necessary funds. The mailing shall take place in all municipalities and be performed in a uniform manner, in accordance with standards adopted by the secretary of state and the list maintenance procedures provided by the National Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg.
§ 17-9.1-28. Procedure on challenge of registration.

(a) Any elector may challenge the registration of a registered voter by submitting to the local board an affidavit prescribed by the state board of elections in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the board stating that the voter is not eligible to vote and setting forth evidence that would create a reasonable cause to suspect that the challenged voter is not in fact eligible. The return as undeliverable of a mailing sent to the voter by someone other than the state board or local board shall not, standing alone, constitute reasonable cause. The local board, upon receipt of the affidavit and upon finding that the affidavit establishes reasonable cause, shall cause to be mailed, by certified mail, a notification of the challenge to the challenged voter at his or her registered address. The return of the notice or acknowledgement of its receipt may be admitted as evidence at the hearing. The challenged voter shall appear before the local board at a time and place to be determined by the local board. The objector shall also be notified of the hearing. If the board finds that the affidavit does set forth reasonable cause to suspect that the challenged voter is not eligible, the voter, upon taking the following oath or affirmation, shall answer pertinent questions as provided in this section, and any other questions necessary to establish his or her eligibility.

(b) The oath or affirmation shall be as follows:

“You do voluntarily swear (or affirm) that you will fully and truly answer all questions put to you regarding your place of residence and eligibility as an elector.”

(c) The local board shall then ask the voter the following questions which are appropriate to test his or her eligibility:

(1) If challenged as ineligible of the ground that he or she is not a citizen: Where were you born? If you were not born in the United States, when and where were you naturalized as a United States citizen?

(2) If challenged as ineligible on the ground that he or she has not resided in this state for thirty (30) days immediately preceding the election:

(i) How long have you resided in this state immediately preceding your registration?

(ii) Have you been absent from this state within the thirty (30) days immediately preceding this election? If yes, then:

(iii) When you left, did you leave for a temporary purpose, with the intent of returning, or for the purpose of remaining away?

(iv) What state or territory did you regard as your residence while absent?

(v) Did you, while absent, vote in any other state or territory?

(3) If challenged as ineligible on the ground that he or she is not a resident of the district where seeking to vote:

(i) When did you last come into this district?

(ii) Did you come for a temporary purpose only, or for the purpose of making it your residence?

(iii) Did you come into this district solely for the purpose of voting here?

(iv) Have you now and have you had for the last thirty (30) days a voting residence in this district? If so, what is the particular description, name and location of your residence?

(v) If the answer to paragraph (iv) of this subdivision is no, then: Have you moved from the district after registering?

(vi) Have you registered to vote at any other place within or outside of this state?

(vii) Have you applied for an absentee ballot at any place in this or any other state?

(viii) What is the address furnished to the division of motor vehicles for your operator’s license?

(ix) What is the address from which your motor vehicle is registered?

(x) What is the address from which you filed your last federal income tax return?

(xi) What is the address from which you filed your last state income tax return?

(xii) What is the address furnished to the companies from which you have obtained retail credit cards?

(xiii) What is the address furnished to the financial institutions where you maintain accounts?

(xiv) What is the address furnished to the tax collector and/or assessor in those communities where you own taxable real or personal property for the purposes of notification to you?

(xv) What is the address furnished to the insurance companies with which you maintain policies?

(xvi) What is the address furnished to your employer?

(xvii) What is the address furnished by you to any business, professional, union, or fraternal organizations of which you are a member?

(xviii) What is the address furnished to the governmental agencies with which you have contact?

(4) If challenged as ineligible on the ground that registrant is under eighteen (18) years of age: What is your date of birth?

(5) If challenged as ineligible on the ground registrant has been finally convicted of a felony:

(i) Have you ever been tried or convicted in this state or any other state of any crime? If yes, then:

(ii) Of what crime, when, and in what court were you convicted?

(iii) What sentence was imposed, including provisions relating to probation and parole, and have the provisions of the sentence been fulfilled?

(6) The local board shall ask the challenged person any other and further questions to test his or her eligibility as an elector which the board deems relevant.

(d) If the challenged voter appears at the hearing and testifies under oath or affirmation as provided and the local board determines that the voter is not eligible to vote or not eligible to vote within the city or town, the voter may be stricken from the voting list. If the voter is found to be eligible to vote within the city or town but not within the voting district where the voter is currently registered, the voter shall remain on the voting list and the board shall record the voter’s change of address to the new voting district within the same city or town. If the voter does not appear at the hearing, whether or not the notification of the challenge is returned as undeliverable, the voter shall not be stricken from the voting list, but the board shall at that time be required to begin the confirmation process described in § 17-9.1-26. No confirmation mailing shall be sent out and no person shall be removed from the voting list within the ninety (90) day period prior to any election, except that names of voters may be removed from the voting list within that period of time, at the request of the voter, by reason of criminal conviction or mental incapacity, or by reason of the voter’s death. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the mailing of acknowledgement cards verifying voter registration applications within the ninety (90) day period, and nothing contained in this section shall prevent the recording within the ninety (90) day period of a change of address of a voter who has changed voting residence within the same city or town.
§ 17-9.1-29. Penalty for unsubstantiated challenge.

Every person who willfully and maliciously challenges the registration of a voter without reasonable cause to suspect that the voter is not qualified shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, in addition, be liable to the challenged voter for compensatory and punitive damages as well as for his or her counsel fees. The mere fact that a challenge was not sustained by the board shall not give rise to any civil or criminal liability of the objector.
§ 17-9.1-30. Appeal of ruling by board of canvassers.

Notwithstanding any provisions of the general laws to the contrary, all appeals from decisions rendered by the board of canvassers of the various cities and towns regarding the eligibility of a person to vote shall be to the state board of elections.
§ 17-9.1-31. Voter registration advisory board.

(a) The state board of elections shall establish a voter registration advisory board, subsequently referred to as the advisory board, to assist in the drafting of regulations and the monitoring of implementation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg et seq., and to help recruit and train the volunteer registrars. The advisory board shall issue an annual report to the state board, governor, and general assembly on its activities.

(b) The advisory board shall consist of eighteen (18) members. The governor shall appoint one member from the League of Women Voters, one member of the Urban League, one member of Common Cause, one member of Ocean State Action, one member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one member of the R.I. Black Caucus of State Legislators, and one representative of a state employees’ union. The speaker of the house shall appoint two (2) members, not more than one from the majority party. The president of the senate shall appoint two (2) members, not more than one from the majority party. In addition, the following shall be members: the secretary of state or her or his designee; the directors or their designees of the division of motor vehicles, the department of human services, the department of health, and the department of behavioral healthcare, developmental disabilities and hospitals; and the chairpersons or their designees of the governor’s commission on disabilities and the governor’s commission on Hispanic affairs. The members shall annually elect a chairperson and other officers as are necessary.

(c) Of the number of members originally appointed under this section, one-third ( 1 / 3 ) shall be appointed for a term of one year to be chosen by lot; one-third ( 1 / 3 ) shall be appointed for a term of two (2) years, to be chosen by lot; and one-third ( 1 / 3 ) shall be appointed for a term of three (3) years, to be chosen by lot. Thereafter, vacancies created by expiration of terms shall be filled with appointments for terms of three (3) years. Members whose terms expire may be reappointed to succeed themselves. The members of the advisory board shall receive no compensation for their services, but may, at the discretion of the governor, be reimbursed for traveling and other expenses actually incurred in the performance of their official duties.
§ 17-9.1-32. Private voter registration – State departments and agencies.

Nothing in this title shall be construed to prohibit private voter registration activities in the public areas of state departments and agencies.
§ 17-9.1-33. Age.

(a) Every person who has reached the age of eighteen (18) years or who is seventeen (17) years of age and will be eighteen (18) years of age by the date of the next election, and is otherwise qualified to register may do so for that election.

(b) A person who is otherwise qualified to register and is at least sixteen (16) years of age, but will not be eighteen (18) years of age by the date of the next election, may preregister upon satisfactory proof of age and shall be automatically registered upon reaching eighteen (18) years of age.
§ 17-9.1-34. Electronic registration of voters.

(a) The secretary of state shall establish, maintain, and administer a portal for electronic voter registration. An applicant may use such portal to register to vote, or to update existing voter registration information, provided:

(1) The applicant’s information is verifiable in the manner described in subsection (b) of this section;

(2) The applicant’s signature is in a database described in subsection (b) of this section; and

(3) Such signature may be imported into such system for electronic voter registration.

(b) Upon request of the secretary of state, a state agency, quasi-public agency, or municipality shall provide information to the secretary of state that the secretary of state deems necessary to maintain the system for electronic voter registration, and the information so obtained shall be used for no other purpose. The secretary of state shall verify applicant information by cross-referencing information submitted by applicants with data or information contained in any state agency’s, quasi-public agency’s, or municipality’s database or a database administered by the federal government, or any voter registration database of another state. The secretary of state shall not use the information obtained from any such databases except to verify information submitted by the applicant. The applicant’s signature, if part of the data contained in the state agency’s, quasi-public agency’s, or municipality’s database, shall be included as part of the applicant’s information contained in the system for electronic voter registration. No information viewed or received by the secretary of state pursuant to this subsection may be transferred to, shared with, or otherwise conveyed to any other governmental or non-governmental entity for any reason except for voter registration purposes or pursuant to a court order.

(c) The submission of an electronic application shall contain all of the information that is required for an application under § 17-9.1-9, with the exception of the signature, which shall be obtained from another state agency, quasi-public agency, or municipality’s database pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(d) An applicant using the system shall mark the box associated with the following statement included as part of the electronic application:

“By clicking on the box below, I swear or affirm all of the following under penalty of perjury:

(1) I am the person whose name and identifying information is provided on this form, and I desire to register to vote or update my voter registration information in the state of Rhode Island.

(2) All of the information I have provided on this form is true and correct as of the date I am submitting this form.

(3) I authorize a Rhode Island state agency, quasi-public agency, or municipality to transmit, for voter registration purposes, to the secretary of state and my city’s/town’s board of canvassers my signature that is on file with such state agency, quasi-public agency, or municipality. I understand that the secretary of state and my city’s/town’s board of canvassers will use such signature on this electronic voter registration application as if I had signed this form personally.”

(e) Upon approval of such application, the boards of canvassers shall send a confirmation notice to the applicant.

(f) The secretary of state may enter into an agreement and exchange information or data with any other state exclusively for the purposes of updating the statewide central voter register and registering voters, provided such activities are performed under the supervision of the secretary of state and the secretary of state enters into an agreement to protect the confidentiality of such information or data. A Rhode Island state agency shall provide the secretary of state with information or data to be used exclusively for voter registration purposes and shall advise the secretary of state if such information or data is held confidential. The secretary of state shall not use or transmit the information or data for any purpose except for voter registration purposes or pursuant to a court order.

(g) To ensure full, equal, and independent access to all voters with disabilities, any internet site and voter registration form created to register voters electronically or allow voters to update their voter registration shall comply with all requirements under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12165, and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 compliance level AA. Experts concerning disability and usability access to websites shall be included in the development of any voter registration website and voter registration form, and shall verify accessibility and usability before the website, or an updated version of the website, is made available to the general public.

(h) The website and form shall be available in any language required by federal or state voting rights laws.
Chapter 17-9.2 – Rhode Island Restoration of Voting Rights Act
§ 17-9.2-1. Title.

This chapter may be cited as the “Rhode Island Restoration of Voting Rights Act.”
§ 17-9.2-2. Findings and purpose.

(a) Findings. The legislature finds that:

(1) Voting is both a fundamental right and a civic duty. Restoring the right to vote strengthens our democracy by increasing voter participation and helps people who have completed their incarceration to reintegrate into society. Voting is an essential part of reassuming the duties of full citizenship.

(2) Rhode Island is the only state in New England that denies the vote to people convicted of felonies, not only while they are in prison, but also while they are living in the community under the supervision of parole or probation officials.

(3) As a result of this extended disfranchisement, Rhode Island deprives a greater proportion of its residents of voting rights than any other state in the region. More than fifteen thousand five hundred (15,500) Rhode Islanders have lost the right to vote because of a felony conviction. Of these, eighty-six percent (86%) are not in prison, they have either been released or their convictions did not result in actual incarceration. Rhode Island has the second highest rate of people on probation in the nation.

(4) Criminal disfranchisement in Rhode Island has a disproportionate impact on minority communities. The rate of disfranchisement of African American voters is more than six (6) times the statewide rate. Hispanics lose the vote at more than 2.5 times the statewide average. One in five (5) black men and one in eleven (11) Hispanic men are barred from voting in Rhode Island. By denying so many the right to vote, criminal disfranchisement laws dilute the political power of entire minority communities. Because these communities are concentrated in cities, the urban vote is also suppressed, with the rate of disfranchisement in urban areas 3.5 times the rate in the rest of the state.

(5) Extending disfranchisement beyond a person’s term of incarceration complicates the process of restoring the right to vote. Under current law, a person may regain that right when released from incarceration if no parole follows, when discharged from parole, or when probation is completed. This system requires the involvement of many government agencies in the restoration process. This bill would simplify restoration by making people eligible to vote once they have served their time in prison, thereby concentrating in the department of corrections the responsibility for initiating restoration of voting rights. A streamlined restoration process conserves government resources and saves taxpayer dollars.

(b) Purpose. The purposes of this act are to strengthen democratic institutions by increasing participation in the voting process, to help people who have completed prison sentences to become productive members of society, and to streamline procedures for restoring their right to vote.
§ 17-9.2-3. Restoration of voting rights.

(a) A person who has lost the right of suffrage under Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of Rhode Island because of such person’s incarceration upon a felony conviction shall be restored the right to vote when that person is discharged from incarceration.

(b) Before accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a felony, and before imposing a felony sentence after trial, the court shall notify the defendant that conviction will result in loss of the right to vote only if and for as long as the person is incarcerated and that voting rights are restored upon discharge.

(c) The department of corrections shall act as a voter registration agency in accordance with § 17-9.1-8. In this capacity, and as part of the release process leading to a person’s discharge from a correctional facility, the department of corrections shall notify that person in writing that voting rights will be restored, provide that person with a voter registration form and a declination form, and offer that person assistance in filling out the appropriate form. Unless the registrant refuses to permit it to do so, the department of corrections shall transmit the completed voter registration form to the state board or local board where the registrant resides.

(d) The department of corrections shall, on or before the 15th day of each month, transmit to the secretary of state two (2) lists. The first shall contain the following information about persons convicted of a felony who, during the preceding period, have become ineligible to vote because of their incarceration; the second shall contain the following information about persons convicted of a felony who, during the preceding period, have become eligible to vote because of their discharge from incarceration:

(1) name;

(2) date of birth;

(3) date of entry of judgment of conviction;

(4) description of offense;

(5) sentence.

(e) The secretary of state shall ensure that the statewide central voter registration is purged of the names of persons who are ineligible to vote because of their incarceration upon a felony conviction. The secretary of state shall likewise ensure that the names of persons who are eligible and registered to vote following their discharge from incarceration are added to the statewide central voter register in the same manner as all other names are added to that register.

(f) The secretary of state shall ensure that persons who have become eligible to vote because of their discharge from incarceration face no continued barriers to registration or voting resulting from their felony convictions.

(g) The secretary of state shall develop and implement a program to educate attorneys, judges, election officials, corrections officials, and members of the public about the requirements of this section, ensuring that:

(1) Judges are informed of their obligation to notify criminal defendants of the potential loss and restoration of their voting rights in accordance with subsection (b) hereof.

(2) The department of corrections is prepared to assist people with registration to vote in anticipation of their discharge from incarceration, including by forwarding completed voter registration forms to the state board or local board where the registrant resides.

(3) The language on voter registration forms makes clear that people who have been disqualified from voting because of felony convictions regain the right to vote when they are discharged from incarceration.

(4) The state department of corrections is prepared to transmit to the secretary of state the information specified in subsection (d) hereof.

(5) Probation and parole officers are informed of the change in the law and are prepared to notify probationers and parolees that their right to vote is restored.

(6) Accurate and complete information about the voting rights of people who have been charged with or convicted of crimes, whether disfranchising or not, is made available through a single publication to government officials and the public.

(h) Voting rights shall be restored to all Rhode Island residents who have been discharged from incarceration or who were never incarcerated following felony convictions, whether they were discharged or sentenced before or after the effective date of this section.
Chapter 17-10 – Canvassing the Lists of Qualified Electors
§ 17-10-1. Maintenance of registration – Inactive file.

(a) The local board or its duly authorized agent shall maintain the files of registration cards in a condition that will correctly represent the registration of qualified voters at all times. It shall continually purge the cards of voters no longer qualified to vote in the city or town. It shall promptly record all changes of address, changes of name, and transfers and cancellations of registration.

(b) If a confirmation card has been mailed to a registered voter at an address outside of the city or town of the voter’s current registered address for voting purposes, or if the confirmation card has been mailed to an address within the same city or town where the voter is registered, which card was sent to confirm the voter’s continuing residence within the city or town and not merely to confirm information provided by or through the postal service concerning a change of address within the city or town, and in both cases the voter has failed to respond to the confirmation card, the voter shall be stricken from the voting list and the voter registration shall be canceled if the voter has not voted or appeared to vote in an election during the period beginning on the date of mailing of the confirmation card and ending on the date after the date of the second general election that occurs after the date of mailing of the card. Provided, that the registration of any person shall not be canceled during his or her service in the armed forces of the United States and during two (2) years thereafter. A voter whose registration has been canceled shall not thereafter be eligible to vote unless that voter shall again register in accordance with the provisions of this title and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of this state. The local board shall notify the secretary of state of any cancellation. The local board shall notify each voter whose registration has been canceled by a notice addressed to the voter at the voter’s last known address, and a memorandum that the notice has been sent shall be maintained on file by the local board; provided, that failure to give or receive the notice shall not affect the cancellation of the voter’s registration. The local board shall take affirmative action to purge the voter’s name from its files of registration cards.

(c) Using the central voter registration system, upon receipt of the monthly list of individuals who have died from the office of vital statistics as prescribed by § 23-3-5, the secretary of state shall identify all voter registrations that may be reflected on the list and so notify electronically, the local board of canvassers of each applicable city or town. The local board, upon receipt of the list of deceased persons from the secretary of state, or upon receipt of an affidavit of death on forms prescribed by the secretary of state, shall promptly purge its files of registration cards by removing the cards of each deceased elector and canceling the voter registration information of the deceased elector from the central voter registration system.

(d) The local board shall maintain a separate list of all new registrations and all transfers of registration which are received by the board within the thirty (30) day period prior to the close of registration prior to each primary, regular, and special election. The list shall be maintained until the time that the election is held.
§ 17-10-2. Right to vote unprejudiced by errors.

A voter’s registration shall not be invalidated nor the voter’s right to vote be prejudiced by any error in filing registration cards or in the preparation of lists of voters or in making any change or transfer in the records.
§ 17-10-3. Publication of preliminary lists.

(a) Immediately after the close of registration for each general election and each primary election for a general election, the local board shall publish and post a preliminary list of all persons who appear from the registration cards to be duly registered to vote at the next ensuing election. The preliminary list for a primary election shall be subject to the requirements of chapter 13 of this title. The preliminary list shall contain the names and addresses of registered voters arranged in the same order as the file of original registration cards. The preliminary list shall be computer generated from the statewide central voter registry system. The list shall be available for public inspection at the local board of canvassers, where the list shall be open to examination at all reasonable times. The local board shall, upon request, furnish without charge and without unreasonable delay, five (5) copies of the preliminary list to the state, city, or town chairperson of any political party.

(b) The preliminary list shall be deemed a public record; and any elector of the city or town, upon request, shall be given a copy of the list upon payment of no more than the actual cost of reproduction.

(c) The preliminary list shall contain the following language in bold print:

“You must be registered to vote from your actual place of residence.”
§ 17-10-4. Defacement of posted lists.

Every person who unlawfully takes down, defaces, or destroys any list of voters posted up as provided in § 17-10-3 shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
§ 17-10-5. Canvass and correction of preliminary lists.

(a) The local board shall, before the twentieth (20th) day preceding each election, meet and canvass the preliminary lists and hear objections to the inclusion or omission of any person as a registered voter, and it shall at that time make a final canvass and correction of the registration files. It shall give notice of the time and place of the meeting, for at least ten (10) days previous to it, by posting notices of the meeting in the same manner as required by this chapter for the posting of the preliminary list, and by publication once, at least ten (10) days previous to the meeting, in one or more newspapers having general circulation in the city or town. At or following the meeting, the local board shall strike from the lists and direct the cancellation of the registration of every person who is not qualified to vote at the election for which the final canvass is made, and shall immediately notify the secretary of state of that action. No registration shall be cancelled or a voter’s right to vote be otherwise limited based upon a finding that the voter no longer resides within the city or town unless the voter has confirmed either in person or in writing that the voter no longer resides within the city or town or the board has received written evidence that the voter has registered to vote within another city or town or in another state.

(b) The local boards may meet and canvass the voting lists of any senatorial district, representative district or districts, ward or wards, or voting district or districts in any senatorial or representative district, ward, or voting district, or at their office or other previously designated place, at any other convenient time or times, on the same day or different days, not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter.
§ 17-10-6. Evidence given at final canvass.

Any qualified elector shall have the right to appear before the local board on the date set for final canvass and give evidence concerning the correctness of the preliminary registration list. Upon the basis of all the evidence, the local board shall make any further corrections in the registration records that it may find necessary. A stenographic record shall be taken at the proceedings and maintained as a permanent record of the board of canvassers.
§ 17-10-7. Proof required to strike name.

No name shall be stricken from any voting list by any local board upon evidence given at the final canvass meeting unless sworn proof is presented to the board that that name is the name of a person not qualified to vote at the election for which the registration and voting list is being canvassed. No name shall be stricken for ineligibility to vote on the basis of residence except as provided in this chapter.
§ 17-10-8. Notice of striking of names.

In each city and town the local board shall, within one hundred and twenty (120) hours after striking the name of any person from any registration or voting list, cause to be mailed to the person, postage prepaid, at that person’s last address in the registration records, a notice of the striking of his or her name, and the reason for the striking; except that the notice provided for in this section shall not be required where the voter has requested the action, or has died.
§ 17-10-9. Record of vote on adding or striking names.

The clerk of the local board shall record the votes of the members of the board on adding or striking the name of any person from the list of voters whenever requested to do so by any member of the board or by any qualified elector of the city or town present at the time of canvassing, a certified copy of this record shall be evidence of the facts stated in it; and for any willful neglect on the part of the clerk to make a record, whenever requested as provided in this section, the clerk shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
§ 17-10-10. Corrections by state board.

The state board may request any local board to make any correction in any voting list, and if the local board does not immediately comply with the request, the state board may make the correction itself, and this correction shall not be changed except on order of the supreme court. Any person whose name is stricken from any voting list by the state board may file a petition as from an action of the local board as provided in this chapter. The state board shall notify the secretary of state of the action. The state board, in ordering the striking of any names from a voting list, shall be subject to the same requirements and limitations as are applicable to local boards, including but not limited to, the provisions of § 17-10-5.
§ 17-10-11. Right to appeal striking of name.

Whenever the local board of any town or city at any meeting held for the purpose of canvassing the rights and correcting the lists of voters rejects, or causes to be stricken from the voting list, the name of any person qualified to vote, the person whose name the board has rejected or stricken from any list may appeal to the state board of elections, setting forth his or her residence, his or her qualifications, and other facts in connection with the rejection or striking of his or her name from the list, as that person may deem material, and praying that his or her name is added to the list.
§ 17-10-12. Notification to local board members and clerk.

Upon the filing of the appeal, the state board of elections shall immediately cause the members and clerk of the local board to appear before the state board, at a time and place to be set by the board.
§ 17-10-13. Dismissal of appeal – Order entering name on lists.

If, upon a hearing, the state board finds that the name of the appellant is not entitled to be placed or to remain upon the voting list, the appeal shall be dismissed. If, however, the state board finds that the name of the appellant is entitled to be placed upon the voting list, the board shall order the name to be placed upon that list pursuant to § 17-7-5(a)(3).
§ 17-10-14. Final list – Certification.

The registration, as finally corrected pursuant to this chapter, shall constitute the voting list to be used at the election for which it has been canvassed, and shall be certified for use pursuant to chapter 19 of this title. Only the original of the list needs to be signed by the board of canvassers, and copies of the list may be certified by a duly placed stamp on the copy. The voting list shall be deemed a public record; and a copy of the list shall be made available, upon request, to any elector within the city or town upon payment of no more than the actual cost of reproduction. Notwithstanding certification of the results of the final canvass, persons who subsequently become ineligible to vote for failure to comply with the provisions of § 17-9.1-25 shall not be permitted to vote in the election unless and until their residency is established pursuant to that section. The names of those persons shall be placed on the inactive list.
§ 17-10-15. Use of registration cards at polls.

(a) The local board shall remove from the container used for that purpose the original registration cards of persons found by the board not to be qualified to vote at the election for which the registry has been canvassed pursuant to this chapter. These removed cards shall be carefully preserved in a separate file to be maintained for that purpose. At that time, the remaining cards shall be secured in their container so that no card may be removed without breaking a seal or otherwise making it appear that a card has been tampered with. The local board shall certify that the cards are a true and complete list of all qualified voters of the voting district as of the date of the certificate, and shall insert the certificate at the front of the container.

(b) A complete list of all qualified voters of each voting district who are eligible to vote in each voting district in the election, as certified by the local board, shall then be delivered to the warden of each polling place to be used as the certified voting list for each voting district. The certified list of voters for each voting district shall be signed and/or otherwise certified by the local board in accordance with regulations to be adopted by the state board. The local board may divide the registration of any voting district into two (2) or more sections for greater convenience of use at the polls. In addition, each warden shall be provided with a certified list of all voters eligible to vote in the election in the entire city or town, and this list shall be signed and/or otherwise certified by the local board in accordance with regulations to be adopted by the state board.
§ 17-10-16. Challenge lists.

The local board shall prepare and annex a “challenge list” to each of these canvassed and certified voting lists. The challenge list shall consist of the names and addresses of all persons who are determined to be ineligible to vote in the ensuing election at any time after the final list of eligible voters has been certified by the local board. The challenge list shall also contain the names and addresses of all persons who have been furnished mail ballots. The challenge list shall also contain the names and addresses of all persons who, after the final list of voters eligible to participate in the election have been certified, become ineligible to vote for failure to comply with § 17-9.1-25. Provided, that the state board, by regulation, may authorize local boards to code the certified list provided to voting district wardens to indicate the ineligibility of a voter or the status of a voter as a mail ballot voter, or the status of a voter as an inactive voter. Copies of the challenge lists shall be furnished to political party workers at each polling place.
§ 17-10-17. Change of registration records on change of voting district boundaries.

When the boundaries of any voting district are changed, it shall be the duty of the local board to correct the registration cards and voting lists and to transfer the cards of the registered voters affected by the change, and to notify the voters by mail, postage prepaid, of the transfer and change. The local board shall also notify the secretary of state of the action.
§ 17-10-18. Temporary registration certificates.

Temporary registration certificates may be issued by a local board upon proof by any qualified voter that the voter’s registration card has been erroneously removed from the voting list. The temporary certificates shall be issued under the conditions and in the manner prescribed in chapter 19 of this title.
§ 17-10-19. False entry or erasure with intent to change voting rights.

Every person who, at any time, willfully or fraudulently adds a name to a list of voters or erases any name from the list after the list has been corrected for certification pursuant to law, or makes an entry in the registry book or on an original or duplicate card with the intent to permit a person to vote who is not qualified to vote, or to deprive a qualified elector of his or her right to vote, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-10-20. Neglect of duty by public officers.

Any public officer upon whom a duty is imposed by this chapter or chapter 9.1 of this title, who willfully neglects to perform the duty, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-10-21. Right to vote or validity of election unaffected by neglect of duty.

The failure of any local board to perform any of its duties required by law shall not affect the validity of an election or a financial town meeting or the right of any person to vote, except as the right to vote may be affected by noncompliance with chapters 1 and 9.1 of this title.
§ 17-10-22. Certified copies of lists of persons voting.

Every clerk of a local board, upon payment or tender of his or her legal fees, shall furnish to any one demanding it a certified copy of any list of voters whose votes have been given in any election.
§ 17-10-23. Certified copies of registration records.

Every clerk of a local board shall, upon payment or tender, furnish to any person demanding it a certified copy of any registration of voters, and every town clerk shall also, upon request of any person and tender of legal fees, and without any unreasonable delay, examine the records and certify to the estate of any person, and shall furnish copies of any instrument or writing which may be on record or in the files of his or her office.
§ 17-10-24 – 17-10-27. Repealed.
§ 17-10-28. – 17-10-31. [Renumbered.].
Chapter 17-11 Voting Districts and Officials
§ 17-11-1. Division of towns and representative district into voting districts.

The local board of any city or town may, on or before the sixtieth (60th) day preceding any election, divide or redivide the city or town, or any representative district in the city or town, into voting districts. The local board of each city or town shall determine voting districts by geographical boundaries and by no other means. No voting district shall at any time comprise parts of two (2) or more wards. It shall be the duty of the board to divide the city or town, representative district, or ward, so that substantially not more than three thousand (3000) total eligible registered voters shall be served by the same polling place; provided, however, that any divisions conducted by the local board pursuant to this section shall not result in creating a polling place serving less than five hundred (500) total eligible registered voters, except when a polling place is located in a low-income or elderly residential development, or when it is caused by legislative district boundaries; and provided, further, that no existing polling place which is presently located in a low-income or elderly residential development shall be eliminated. Upon the establishment and approval of any polling place by the state board, changes to the polling place shall not be allowed until the next redistricting by the general assembly, unless the polling place becomes unavailable to the city or town, or no longer meets polling place minimum requirements as established by the state board, then the city or town may take the appropriate action to replace the polling place. A polling place may be located either within or without the voting district for which it is established; provided, that a polling place may be located outside the district only upon unanimous determination of the local board and subject to the approval of the state board that a suitable place is not available within the voting district.
§ 17-11-1.1. Combination of voting districts for special election.

(a) The board of canvassers of any city or town at which there shall be submitted to the voters a question or questions for their approval or rejection but at which no state or local officials will be elected, shall have the authority to combine two (2) or more voting districts, when in its judgment the combination is advisable, and when combined shall be treated as a voting district, but only upon the approval of the board of elections.

(b) If voting districts are combined as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the local board must advertise the combination of districts in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town no less than seven (7) days and no more than twenty-one (21) days before the special election.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the board of canvassers of the city of Woonsocket or the town of Cumberland may combine two (2) or more voting districts for the senate district 20 special election in April, 2008 and when combined shall be treated as a voting district, but only upon the approval of the board of elections.

If voting districts are combined pursuant to this subsection, the local board must advertise the combination of districts in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town no less than three (3) days before the special election.
§ 17-11-2. Notice of division or redivision of districts.

The local boards, upon the dividing or redividing of a senatorial or representative district, shall give public notice of what senatorial or representative districts have been divided or redivided into voting districts by publication in some newspaper having a general circulation in the city or town, and shall post, for a period of forty (40) days, a map in the office of the board or in the town clerk’s office showing the lines of the voting districts, and shall at all times keep the map on file in their respective offices.
§ 17-11-3 – 17-11-5. Repealed.
§ 17-11-6. Appointment of district moderators and clerks in cities or towns.

(a) All district clerks and district moderators in each of Rhode Island’s towns shall be appointed by the local canvassing authority of each municipality at least thirty-five (35) days before any election or district or town meeting.

The appointment of the district clerks and moderators shall be from a list of not less than ten (10) registered voters submitted by the chairpersons of the local political town committees. Each town committee chairperson shall submit said names at least fifteen (15) days prior to the appointment date as set by the local canvassing board.

If the local chairpersons fail to submit a list of names as provided herein, the appointments shall be made by the local board of canvassers from the voting list of the town.

The appointed district clerk and district moderator of a polling place shall not be of the same political party.

(b) Any district moderator or district clerk elected to office in the 2008 general election shall continue to serve in his/her position through the conclusion of his/her term, but in no event later than December 31, 2010.
§ 17-11-7. Repealed.
§ 17-11-7.1. Pool of election officials.

Notwithstanding any other general law to the contrary, local boards are authorized to create a pool of election officials who shall be available to fill vacancies wherever needed. These election officials shall have the same training and duties as regular election officials, but shall not be restricted to being electors of the voting district to which they may be assigned, but must be electors of the state.
§ 17-11-7.2. Repealed.
§ 17-11-8. Qualifications of moderators and clerks – Vacancies.

The moderators and clerks shall each be able to read the Constitution of the state in the English language, and to write their names. Every person appointed as a moderator or clerk shall immediately be notified of his or her appointment and shall, within five (5) days of his or her appointment, accept or decline the appointment, and shall be, at least three (3) days prior to the election, sworn to the faithful discharge of his or her duties by some member of the board making the appointment. In case any appointed person neglects to qualify or is unable or fails to serve, the vacancy shall be filled by the board making the appointment, and the appointee shall be, whenever possible, of the same political affiliation as the person failing to qualify, and shall, before serving, qualify before some member of the board.
§ 17-11-9. Election of moderator or clerk pro tempore.

(a) In case of the absence of the moderator or of the clerk of any town meeting, of a town not divided into voting districts, the town meeting may elect a moderator or clerk pro tempore, and the town clerk shall preside at the election of the moderator.

(b) In case of the absence of the moderator or of the clerk of a voting district in a town not divided into senatorial or representative districts, the voting district meeting may elect a moderator or clerk pro tempore, and the clerk shall preside in the election of a moderator. At least five (5) electors shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the purpose of electing the moderator or clerk pro tempore.

(c) In case of the absence of the moderator or of the clerk of a senatorial or representative district or of a voting district in a senatorial or representative district divided into voting districts, the district meeting may elect a moderator or clerk pro tempore, and the clerk shall preside in the election of a moderator. At least five (5) electors shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the purpose of electing the moderator or clerk pro tempore.

(d) The elected officer shall be sworn to the faithful discharge of his or her duties by any person authorized to administer oaths, and shall hold office in the cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Warwick, Cranston, Woonsocket, and Newport, and in the towns of Barrington, Middletown, and Warren, until a moderator or clerk is appointed by the local board respectively and in all other cities and towns until the election and qualification of the officer’s successor.
§ 17-11-10. Filling of vacancies by town council.

In case of the death, resignation, or permanent disability of the moderator of any town, or of the moderator or clerk of any senatorial or representative district, except in the cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Warwick, Cranston, Woonsocket, and Newport, or of any voting district in any town, except the towns of Barrington, Middletown, and Warren, not divided into senatorial or representative districts, the town council may fill the vacancy from the list of registered voters submitted by the party chairperson under whose party designation the moderator or clerk had been elected. In the absence of a submitted list, or, if the person, when elected, was not affiliated with any party, the town council may make its choice from the list of registered voters.
§ 17-11-11. Selection of wardens and clerks in cities.

At least thirty-five (35) days before any election, the local board in each city shall appoint for each polling place within the city where an election is to be held a warden and clerk, not from the same political party. The appointments shall be made from a list of not less than ten (10) registered voters presented to the board by the city or town committees of the political parties at least forty-five (45) days before any election.
§ 17-11-12. Qualifications of election officials – Vacancies.

Election officials shall, whenever possible, be qualified electors in the city, town, senatorial or representative district, or voting district in which they are appointed to serve, and shall severally be able to read the Constitution of the state in the English language and to write their names. Every person appointed as a warden, clerk, moderator, or supervisor shall, within forty-eight (48) hours thereafter, be notified in writing by the clerk of the local board of the appointment; and the person appointed shall, within five (5) days of his or her appointment, notify the clerk in writing of that person’s acceptance or declination of the appointment, and any vacancy occurring among these election officials, whether by declination or refusal to serve or by failure to notify the clerk, or by failure from any cause to appear at or remain during the time when they are required to perform their duties, shall be immediately filled by the local board, or by its presiding officer if the board is not in session, from the lists provided for in § 17-11-10. Each of these election officials shall be sworn to the faithful discharge of his or her duties before entering upon the performance of his duties.
§ 17-11-12.1. High school election officials.

(a) Notwithstanding any other general law to the contrary, and in order to provide for a greater awareness of the elections process, the rights and responsibilities of voters and the importance of participating in the electoral process, as well as to provide additional workers, an elections official may appoint not more than five (5) students per ward, and/or precinct to serve under the direct supervision of ward, and/or precinct board members designated by the elections official. A student may be appointed, notwithstanding lack of eligibility to vote, subject to the approval of the educational institution in which the student is enrolled, if the student possesses the following qualifications:

(1) Is at least sixteen (16) years of age at the time of the election to which he or she is serving as a member of a ward, and/or precinct board.

(2) Is a United States citizen or will be a citizen at the time of the election to which he or she is serving as a member of a ward, and/or precinct board.

(3) Is a student in good standing attending a public or private secondary educational institution.

(4) Is a junior or senior and has a grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

(b) A student appointed pursuant to this section may not be used to tally votes.
§ 17-11-13. Appointment and compensation of supervisors.

(a) The local board of each city and town, at least thirty-five (35) days before each election, shall appoint two (2) pairs of supervisors for each polling place, each pair of which shall not be comprised of two (2) persons from the same political party. Supervisors shall, if possible, be appointed from a list of eligible voters presented and employed in the same manner as provided by this chapter for the appointment of wardens and clerks.

(b) The local board may, in its discretion, or upon the direction of the state board appoint one or more additional supervisors for any polling place whenever and so long as the appointment is, in the judgment of either board, necessary to facilitate the conduct of an election.

(c) The supervisors of elections in all cities and towns shall severally receive compensation for their services at the minimum rate of sixty dollars ($60) per day.

(d) The local board may adopt a plan for some or all supervisors to work a half-day at half-pay if the plan is consistent with the provisions of this section and is approved by the state board.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) above, the local board of a city or town may, upon written approval of the board of elections, reduce the number of supervisors at polling places within their jurisdiction.
§ 17-11-14. Supervision of all elections on same day.

Whenever any city or town elections occur on the same day as an election for national or state officers in any city or town, the supervisors appointed pursuant to § 17-11-13 shall be the supervisors for all of the elections.
§ 17-11-15. Persons ineligible to serve as election officials.

No person shall be appointed or serve as an election official who has been convicted, found guilty, pleaded guilty or nolo contendere, or placed on a deferred or suspended sentence, or on probation, for any crime which involves moral turpitude or which constitutes a violation of any of the election or caucus laws of this or any other state. No person shall be disqualified simply because he or she is a notary public. No candidate for any office to be filled at any election shall be appointed at the election as an election official. Every election official shall make an affidavit before some member of the proper board of canvassers, to the effect that he or she is not disqualified by reason of the provisions of this section; provided, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to moderators and town clerks.
§ 17-11-16. Supervision of adjourned elections.

In the event that a second, adjourned, or subsequent election is held in accordance with the provisions of this title, the same supervisors of election who acted at the first election shall act at the second or adjourned or other subsequent election, and shall have and exercise the same powers and duties at the second or adjourned or other subsequent election as are prescribed by this title for them to have and exercise at the first election; and the supervisors shall perform the same duties as in the first election.
§ 17-11-17. Telephone – Polling place.

If there is a telephone within a polling place, then the owner of the building in which the polling place is located shall allow use of the telephone for official business by the warden, clerk, and state inspector during the period beginning one hour before the opening of the polling place and ending one hour after the closing of the polling place. The local board of canvassers shall be required to reimburse the owner of the building for that portion of any telephone bill resulting from the use of the telephone by any of the election officials mentioned in this section.
Chapter 17-12 – Party Committees and Conventions
§ 17-12-1. Selection of state committees.

Party state committees shall be selected in the manner provided by statute or party rule. Any party may, by a duly enacted party rule, elect to choose the members of its party state committee pursuant to the provisions of chapter 15 of this title or by any other method agreeable to the party state committee; provided, that where the method of selecting party state committee now in force is by caucus, selection shall subsequently be made at a primary election pursuant to the provisions of chapter 15 of this title until another method of selection is adopted by the party state committee.
§ 17-12-2. Composition and powers of state committees.

The state committee of a political party shall be composed as determined by the party. It shall have:

(1) General oversight of all conventions of its party;

(2) Power to make rules not inconsistent with law for the guidance and control of all the political committees of its party;

(3) Power to make a final nomination for any state office for which no primary nomination has been made and any local office for which no nomination has been made by any authorized city, town, ward, or district committee or any duly authorized subcommittee; provided, that the state committee shall not be permitted, more than twenty-four (24) hours after the deadline for the filing of declarations of candidacy, to make a nomination for any office upon the failure of a candidate of that party to file for that public office. Nominations for such office shall be filed in the same location as the declaration of candidacy for such office pursuant to the requirements of § 17-14-1 of the general laws. Individuals nominated under this section must have been eligible for the nomination on the dates as required by and pursuant to the requirements of §§ 17-14-1.1, 17-14-2 and 17-14-2.1 of the general laws and must then meet the respective requirements for filing sufficient nomination papers set forth in chapter 14; and

(4) Power to fill vacancies in its own membership and as provided in chapter 15 of this title.
§ 17-12-2.1. Political party state committee rules or bylaws.

(a) All political party state committee rules or bylaws and any amendments to them must be filed with the state board of elections within thirty (30) days of their adoption.

(b) If a political party duly adopts a rule or bylaw consistent with state law relating to or affecting the conduct of an election held pursuant to this title, as determined by the board of elections, this rule or bylaw shall not affect any election which occurs less than one hundred eighty (180) days following the date of filing of any rule or bylaw with the state board of elections.
§ 17-12-3. Delegation of powers by state committee.

The state committee of a political party may delegate its authority, by rules or resolutions, to its executive committee, or any duly selected subcommittee of the executive committee, to act when the entire committee is not in session.
§ 17-12-4. Endorsements by state committee.

The state committee or the executive committee or any duly selected subcommittee of the executive committee acting under delegated authority may, when the town or district committee has failed or neglected to do so, within twenty-four (24) weekday hours of the failure, endorse and notify the local board of endorsement, if any, of the local candidates to be voted on in the primary. It shall also notify the secretary of state of the endorsement, if any, of any candidate to be voted for by the state at large; provided, that the endorsement of any candidate for representative in congress shall be by the members of the state committee who shall be from that particular congressional district. It shall also notify the secretary of state of the endorsement, if any, of any candidate for state senator or state representative. The endorsement shall be filed with the secretary of state not later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the second day after the final day for filing declarations of candidacy. In the event the state committee, or the executive committee or any duly selected subcommittee of the executive committee acting under delegated authority, fails or neglects to endorse, then all party candidates shall be issued nomination papers without endorsement.
§ 17-12-5. Acting in other contingencies.

Any other contingency that arises pursuant to the provisions of the statutes with respect to the election of candidates for state or town office at any general, primary, or special election shall be met by the vote of the state committee, or the executive committee, or any duly selected subcommittee of the executive committee, of a political party, or by the state chairperson of the political party if so authorized. If any contingency arises under the provisions of the statutes with respect to the election of candidates for city office at any general, primary, or special election, it shall be met by vote of the city committee of a political party or the executive committee of the city committee or any duly elected subcommittee of the executive committee, or by the city chairperson of the political party if so authorized. For the purposes of this section, the term “contingency” means and includes the nonexistence of any required party committee, the failure of any existing party committee to act, an adjudication that a primary election is void, and the death, incapacity, or moving from the jurisdiction of a party’s nominee prior to a general or special election. This section shall apply notwithstanding any provision of chapter 17 of this title to the contrary.
§ 17-12-6. Election of town and ward committees.

The party voters of each political party in each ward of each of the cities of the state shall, biennially, in every even year, at the primary election held to nominate party candidates, elect a ward committee for each ward; provided, that the ward committees in the city of Providence shall be elected quadrennially, and the party voters of each political party in each of the towns of the state shall, biennially at the primary election, elect a town committee for the town.
§ 17-12-6.1. Composition of town committees in Johnston.

Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 17-12-6 and 17-12-7, the town committees of the town of Johnston shall consist of twenty-five (25) members; five (5) each to be elected from the qualified electors of the five (5) council districts of the town comprising the respective candidates from each district receiving the most votes in each district. The five (5) members elected from each district shall constitute a council district committee, which shall organize and endorse the council and school committee candidates from each district. The town committee shall elect a chairperson and provide the endorsement for the party candidate for mayor.
§ 17-12-7. Composition of city and district committees – Appointment.

The members of the several ward committees in each city of the same political party shall constitute the city committee of the political party for that city. For each of the political parties, there shall be a senatorial district committee for each senatorial district to consist of five (5) members where the senatorial district is contained within a single city or town, and to consist of seven (7) members where the senatorial district includes all or parts of two (2) or more cities or towns. Senatorial district committee members shall, in the first instance, be appointed by the chairperson of the state committee of the party. There shall be a representative district committee for each representative district to consist of three (3) members where the representative district is contained within a single city or town, and to consist of five (5) members where the representative district includes all or parts of two (2) or more cities or towns. Representative district committee members shall, in the first instance, be appointed by the chairperson of the state committee of the party. The senatorial and representative district committee members shall be qualified electors of their respective districts and shall hold office respectively from the date of their appointment and until the next election of the committees, and thereafter until their successors have been elected, qualified, and organized.
§ 17-12-8. Qualifications and terms of committee members.

(a) No member of a ward, town, or district committee shall hold or continue to hold membership on the ward, town, or district committee, unless that member is a qualified elector of the ward, town, or district.

(b) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, ward, district, town, and city committee members shall hold office, respectively, from the date of their election until the next election of the committees, and thereafter until their successors has been duly elected, qualified, and organized.

(c) Candidates for ward, town, or district committee members shall file declarations of candidacy biennially, in every even year, in accordance with § 17-14-1.
§ 17-12-9. Organization of city, town, and district committees – Officers – Lists of officers and members.

(a) All city, town, and district committees shall organize biennially in the month of January in every odd year; provided, that the city committee of the city of Providence shall organize quadrennially.

(b) Each city committee organized under this section may elect not exceeding three (3) officers outside its membership from among the voters of the same political party in the city, and the officers shall, by virtue of their election, become members of the city committee and shall hold office until the next organization meeting of the committee.

(c) Each city committee, town committee, and district committee, within ten (10) days after its organization, shall file with the secretary of state and with the local board a list of its officers and members.

(d) The chairperson of the city committee of each political party in the city of Providence shall appoint the members of a ward committee for each of the several wards of the city of Providence. These appointed ward committee members shall hold office until their successors shall have been duly elected, qualified, and organized.
§ 17-12-9.1. Members of ward committees for the city of East Providence.

The chairperson of the East Providence city committee for each political party shall appoint the members of a ward committee for each of the several wards of the city of East Providence. These appointed ward committee members shall hold office until their successors shall have been duly elected, qualified, and organized.
§ 17-12-10. Rules and management by city, town, and district committees.

City, town, and district committees of each political party may make rules not inconsistent with the rules of the state committee, and except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, the general management of the affairs of each political party in the respective cities, towns, and districts shall be vested in the city, town, or district committee, respectively, subject to all state committee rules.
§ 17-12-11. Endorsement by local committees.

(a)(1) Each town, ward, and city committee shall file with the appropriate local board the list of candidates in the town, ward, or city which have the endorsement of the committees.

(2) Endorsements by town, ward, and city committees shall be signed by three (3) officers of the committee.

(b)(1) Each district committee shall file with the board of canvassers of the city or town of residence of the senatorial or representative candidate endorsed, except that if the candidate is a resident of Providence the endorsement shall be filed with the secretary of state, the list of candidates in the district which have the endorsement of the committee.

(2) Endorsements by district committees shall be signed by a majority of those members presently on the committee.

(c) Endorsements shall be filed with the appropriate local board or the secretary of state, as the case may be, not later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. of the day after the last day for filing declarations of candidacy.
§ 17-12-12. Vacancies in district committees.

(a) In the event that the candidates elected to a district committee from a district do not equal the number of party committee members to which the district is entitled to be represented under provisions of § 17-12-7, a vacancy or vacancies exist to the extent of the difference between the number of elected members and the number of members by which the district is entitled to be represented. When the vacancy or vacancies exist, they shall be filled by the committee to which insufficient members were elected, in the manner provided for in this section.

(b) In the event of the appointment or election to a committee of an ineligible person, or whenever any member of the committee dies, resigns, or becomes incapacitated to act, or removes from the jurisdiction of the committee, or ceases to be a member of the political party, a vacancy exists which shall be filled by appointment by the committee in which the ineligibility or vacancy occurs. The removal of residence by an elected or appointment member of a committee from the district from which he or she has been elected or appointed a member of that committee shall constitute his or her resignation from the committee.

(c) Any vacancy occurring in any of the officers and/or membership of the district committees shall be filled by the remaining members of the committee. A statement of that action by any committee shall be filed with the secretary of state and with the local board.

(d) If any vacancy occurs with respect to the membership of a district committee, and the vacancy is not filled within forty-five (45) days of the date of notice of the vacancy to the remaining members of the committee, the vacancy shall be filled by the state committee of the political party involved, the executive committee of the state committee or any duly elected subcommittee of the executive committee or by the state chairperson of the political party if so authorized. A statement of that action shall be filed with the secretary of state and with the local board.

(e) In the event a district committee shall not organize or reorganize pursuant to § 17-12-9, the incumbent senator or representative, or the state committee chairperson in the case of the party not affiliated with the senator or representative, shall appoint a district committee which shall be the lawful district committee.
§ 17-12-12.1. Vacancies in city or ward committees.

(a) Any vacancy occurring in any of the offices and/or membership of city, town, or ward committees shall be filled by the remaining members of the committee. A statement of that action by any committee shall be filed as in the case of officers and members first chosen.

(b) If any vacancy occurs either with respect to any office of a city or ward committee or with respect to the membership of any city or ward committee, and the vacancy is not filled within forty-five (45) days of the date upon which the vacancy occurs pursuant to the provisions of § 17-12-12, the vacancy shall be filled by the city committee of the political party involved or the executive committee of the city committee or any duly elected subcommittee of the executive committee or by the city chairperson of the political party if so authorized. The committee shall file a statement setting forth the appointment or appointments as in the case of officers and members first chosen in accordance with § 17-12-11.

(c) A statement of that action by any committee shall be filed as in the case of officers and members first chosen in accordance with § 17-12-11.

(d) The removal of residence by an elected or appointment member of a ward committee from the ward from which he or she has been elected or appointed shall constitute his or her resignation from the city or ward committee.
§ 17-12-12.2. Failure of ward and city committees to endorse.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special act to the contrary, in the event that a ward committee or a city committee of a political party of a particular city has failed or neglected to do so, the executive committee of the city committee of that city, any duly selected subcommittee of the executive committee or the city chairperson of the political party involved, if so authorized, within twenty-four (24) weekday hours of the failure, may endorse and notify the local board of the endorsement, if any, of the candidates for city council, ward committee member, and mayor, as the case may be, to be voted on in the primary.
§ 17-12-13. State conventions.

There shall be held not later than October 14 of every even year a state convention for each political party. The nominees of a party for senator and for representatives in congress, for the five (5) general offices, and for membership in the general assembly shall be delegates to the state convention of that party. In presidential election years, these conventions shall select the party nominees for presidential electors and their names shall be placed on the ballot for the forthcoming election.
§ 17-12-14. Election of delegates to national conventions.

The local boards of the several cities and towns of the state are authorized and directed to furnish for the use of any political party in this state, upon written request of the chairperson of the state central committee, acting under a resolution of the committee, voting places in which primary meetings may be held to elect delegates to the national convention of the political party. The boards shall have the voting places open on the date and during the hours requested by the chairperson of the committee, so long as that election of delegates is scheduled on the first Tuesday next after the first Monday of any month and shall furnish to the officers appointed to act at the primary meetings any paraphernalia, including check lists, that are generally required and used in elective meetings; provided, that the political party first requesting the use of the voting places on and for a certain date shall be entitled to the use of them on that date; and if the date is one requested by some other political party, the other political party, through the chairperson of the committee, may request another date. In cities a voting place and paraphernalia for voting shall be furnished and provided for each ward into which the cities may be divided; and in each of the towns of Burrillville, Cumberland, and Lincoln, at least two (2) voting places and the paraphernalia for voting, and in every other town at least one voting place and the paraphernalia for voting, shall be furnished and provided. The local boards shall not be required to provide for the compensation for services of the officers appointed to act at the primary meetings, nor shall anything contained in this section be held to affect the method of holding elections already provided for by law.
§ 17-12-15. Qualifying as a political party through independent candidacy.

An independent candidate for governor or president of the United States in a general election shall not be entitled to establish a political party, notwithstanding that the candidate shall receive five percent (5%) of the votes cast as provided in § 17-1-2(9), unless the candidate shall, at the time of filing a declaration of candidacy, simultaneously indicate, on a form provided by the secretary of state, the candidate’s intent to establish a political party, together with the name of the political organization which the candidate represents and the names and addresses of the chairperson and secretary of the organization.
§ 17-12-16. Qualifying as a political party by petition – Names of officers – Endorsements and other official communications.

Any political organization wishing to qualify as a political party by the submission of petitions under § 17-1-2(9) shall, at the time of receiving the petition forms from the board of elections, file with the board, on a form to be provided by the board, the name of the political organization and the names and addresses of its chairperson and secretary. If the organization later qualifies as a political party by the submission of the requisite number of valid signatures, and until the appropriate party committees have been established, all endorsements and other official written communications from the party to the board of elections, secretary of state, local boards of canvassers and other state and municipal agencies shall be signed on behalf of the party by the chairperson and secretary, whose names and addresses are on file with the board of elections as required by this section.
§ 17-12-17. Names of political parties.

No political party may use or adopt a name which is similar to the name of another political party or which contains the name of another political party.
Chapter 17-12.1 – Primaries for Election of Delegates to National Conventions and for Presidential Preference
§ 17-12.1-1. Date of primaries for election of delegates to national conventions.

A primary election for the election of delegates to the national convention for each political party shall be held in the manner provided in this chapter on the fourth Tuesday in April 2012, and every fourth year thereafter.
§ 17-12.1-2. Number of delegates to be elected – Method of election.

At each primary there shall be elected for each congressional district of this state the number of delegates and alternates that shall be determined by the national committee of the party and certified to the secretary of state not later than the first Tuesday in January preceding the primary by the state committee of the party. The method of election of candidates for delegate shall be in accordance with party rules certified to the secretary of state by the chairperson of the state committee on or before the first Tuesday in January of each year a primary is to be held pursuant to this chapter.
§ 17-12.1-3. Declaration of candidacy – Delegates.

During the sixty-first (61st) and sixty-second (62nd) day preceding a primary for election of delegates to a national convention, each voter desiring to be a delegate at the forthcoming convention shall, on the form that shall be provided by the secretary of state, sign his or her name as it appears on the voting list and file, not later than four (4:00) p.m. of the date of filing with the secretary of state, a declaration of candidacy which shall include the following information:

(1) His or her name and address as they appear on the voting list, party designation, place and date of birth, and length of residence in the state and in the town or city where he or she resides.

(2) A statement that, if elected, he or she would comply with all party rules of the national committee of the party designated in subdivision (1) of this section relating to delegates to national conventions and conducting of national conventions.

(3) At the same time as the declaration of candidacy is filed, the appropriate pledge of support form provided to the secretary of state by the political parties must be filed by the candidate for delegate.

(4) If any candidate for delegate does not thereafter wish his or her name to appear on the ballot, the candidate shall, at least forty-nine (49) days prior to the date for the primary, file an affidavit with the secretary of state stating his or her name may not be placed on the ballot and the secretary of state shall not place that candidate’s name on the ballot.
§ 17-12.1-4. Presidential candidates.

(a) Any person seeking the endorsement of a national political party for which a primary is being held shall, during the ninety-fourth (94th) through and including the ninety-sixth (96th) day preceding the presidential preference primary being held, provide written notification to the secretary of state of his or her intention to run in the presidential preference primary. When the deadline falls on a Saturday, said written notification may be filed with the secretary of state on that Saturday until noon (12:00) p.m. The notification shall include the candidate’s name and address and a statement affirming their eligibility, under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to serve, if elected, in the office of President of the United States. The notification shall also include the name and contact information of the designee authorized by the presidential candidate to act in his/her stead in Rhode Island.

(b)(1) Upon receipt of the notification referred to in subsection (a) of this section, the secretary of state shall, by six o’clock (6:00) p.m. on the same day, prepare petition papers for candidates who are eligible to serve in the office of President of the United States, clearly marked with the candidate’s name, party designation, and the office the candidate seeks; provided, however, that for notifications filed on a Saturday deadline by noon (12:00) p.m., petition papers shall be prepared by two o’clock (2:00) p.m. on that Saturday.

(2) The petition papers of a candidate for president shall be signed, in the aggregate, by at least one thousand (1,000) eligible voters and shall be submitted on or before four o’clock (4:00) p.m. in the afternoon of the eighty-second (82nd) day before the presidential preference primary to the local board of the city or town where the signers appear to be voters, and the petition papers shall be checked, processed, and certified to the secretary of state by the local boards before four o’clock (4:00) p.m. in the afternoon of the sixty-ninth (69th) day before the presidential preference primary. When nomination papers have been duly certified by the appropriate local boards of canvassers, they shall be conclusively presumed to be valid, unless written objections to them are made as to the eligibility of the candidate or the sufficiency of the nomination papers or the signatures on them. All objections shall be filed with the state board of elections by four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the next business day after the last day fixed for local boards to file nomination papers with the secretary of state. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the secretary of state from disqualifying a candidate based on the determination of the secretary of state that the nomination papers or the signatures on them are invalid or insufficient.

(c) The decision of the state board shall be rendered not later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the sixty-third (63rd) day before the presidential preference primary and shall immediately be certified by the state board to the secretary of state.

(d) If any candidate for presidential nomination does not qualify for ballot placement, the names of delegates committed to this disqualified presidential candidate, who are otherwise qualified, shall appear on the ballot in accordance with party rules.

(e) If any candidate whose name has been announced as a presidential nominee does not thereafter wish his or her name to appear on the ballot, the candidate shall, at least sixty-three (63) days prior to the date for the primary, file an affidavit with the secretary of state stating his or her name may not be placed on the ballot and the secretary of state shall not place that candidate’s name on the ballot. Said affidavit must be signed by the presidential candidate or his or her designee on file with the office of the secretary of state. Names of delegates committed to the withdrawn candidate, who are otherwise qualified, shall appear on the ballot in accordance with party rules.
§ 17-12.1-5. Preparation of nomination papers – Delegates.

Upon receipt of the declaration referred to in § 17-12.1-3, the secretary of state shall prepare nomination papers for each candidate who has qualified, clearly marked with the candidate’s name and the office the candidate seeks, and shall, by four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the next business day after receipt of the declaration, deliver the nomination papers to the proper candidate or to those persons that the candidate, in writing, designates to receive them.
§ 17-12.1-6. Number of signers required.

The nomination papers of a candidate for delegate to a national convention shall be signed, in the aggregate, by at least one hundred fifty (150) eligible voters.
§ 17-12.1-7. Checking and certification of nomination papers.

(a) Each nomination paper of a candidate for delegate shall be submitted on or before four o’clock (4:00) p.m. in the afternoon of the fifty-sixth (56th) day before the presidential preference primary to the local board of the city or town where the signers appear to be voters, and the nomination papers shall be checked, processed, and certified to the secretary of state by the local boards before four o’clock (4:00) p.m. in the afternoon of the fifty-third (53rd) day before the presidential preference primary. In addition, each candidate for delegate to a national convention may, on or before four o’clock (4:00) p.m. in the afternoon of the forty-ninth (49th) day before the presidential primary, submit to the secretary of state documentation from a candidate, as set forth in § 17-12.1-4, that he or she has the approval of the candidate for presidential nominee or approval from the steering/screening committee to name the candidates’ delegates to be identified with him or her. Names of delegates pledged to a presidential candidate who do not receive approval of the candidate for presidential nominee or approval from the steering/screening committee to name the candidates’ delegates to be identified with him/her, who are otherwise qualified, shall appear on the ballot in accordance with party rules.

(b) When nomination papers have been duly certified by the appropriate local boards of canvassers, they shall be conclusively presumed to be valid, unless written objections to them are made as to the eligibility of the candidate or the sufficiency of the nomination papers or the signatures on them. All objections shall be filed with the state board of elections by four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the next business day after the last day fixed for local boards to file nomination papers with the secretary of state. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the secretary of state from disqualifying a candidate based on the determination of the secretary of state that the nomination papers or the signatures on them are invalid or insufficient.

(c) The decision of the state board shall be rendered not later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the forty-seventh (47th) day before the presidential preference primary and shall immediately be certified by the state board to the secretary of state.
§ 17-12.1-8. Presidential preference primary.

(a) On the same date and at the same time as the election of delegates to national conventions, as provided in § 17-12.1-1, there shall be held a presidential preference primary for each political party at which each party voter shall have the opportunity to vote his or her preference for his or her choice for one person to be the candidate of his or her party for president of the United States.

(b) The secretary of state shall place on the ballot the name of all persons qualified as candidates for presidential nominee as provided in § 17-12.1-4, and who have not filed with the secretary of state the affidavit as provided in § 17-12.1-4, and shall list under the name of each candidate for presidential nominee, arranged by lot, the names of all candidates for delegates to a national convention who submitted the approval of the candidate for presidential nominee as set forth in § 17-12.1-7. All other candidates for delegates to a national convention shall be listed on the ballot, arranged by lot, as uncommitted, unless otherwise specified in party rules.
§ 17-12.1-9. Voting for nominees and delegates – Designation of winning delegates.

Each voter shall vote, within that voter’s party primary, for the presidential nominees of that voter’s choice or may express that voter’s choice for no nominee in a space provided and designated “uncommitted” and for any or all of the number of elected delegates allocated to Rhode Island by the respective national committees. The number of delegates and the designation of the winning delegates shall be determined pursuant to the rules of the political party filed with the secretary of state as provided by this chapter.
§ 17-12.1-10. Filling of vacancies.

Vacancies shall be filled in the delegation by the alternates in the order of their plurality and in accordance with the rules of the political party.
§ 17-12.1-11. Form of ballot.

(a) The order on the ballot, subject to final determination of any objections filed with the board of elections and the removal of said individual(s) by the secretary of state post-lot, of the presidential nominees and delegates and the uncommitted delegates shall be chosen by lot under the direction of the secretary of state.

(b) Individuals committed to a particular presidential candidate or uncommitted shall appear in a manner so that the candidates for delegates shall be readily identified with the presidential candidate to whom they are committed or shall appear in a manner that clearly shows they are uncommitted.

(c) No person shall appear on the ballot as a candidate for delegate more than once.

(d) There shall be nothing on the ballot to indicate or suggest any political party endorsement.

(e) The secretary of state shall prepare and arrange the ballot for use in the primaries authorized in this title, which shall include, as to the candidates for delegates, the person to whom the candidates are committed and any other information and instruction that the secretary of state shall deem necessary.
§ 17-12.1-12. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter the following terms have the meaning indicated as follows:

(1) “Political party” is defined as provided in § 17-1-2(9).

(2) “Uncommitted” means a candidate for delegate not approved by, obligated, or committed to any particular presidential contender.
§ 17-12.1-13. Repealed.
§ 17-12.1-14. Recount.

(a) Upon application, the state board of elections shall conduct a recount for a presidential candidate or delegate for a winning candidate when there is a two hundred (200) or less vote difference between the losing candidate or delegate and the winner. Said recount shall be conducted by re-reading the programmed memory device or devices and comparing the results and totals obtained at such recount with the results and totals obtained on election night.

(b) The state board shall have the authority to adopt rules and regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this section.
§ 17-12.1-15. Political party rules.

The state chairperson of each political party shall, on or before the first Tuesday in January of each year a primary is to be held pursuant to this chapter, file with the secretary of state a certified copy of the complete rules of the political party including, but not limited to, the delegate selection rules and delegate procedure for the national convention of the political party.
§ 17-12.1-16. Applicability.

The appropriate provisions of this title shall apply to the primaries held under the provisions of this chapter, unless clearly inconsistent with this chapter.
Chapter 17-13 – Primary Voting Lists
§ 17-13-1. Preparation and posting of preliminary lists.

(a) In conformity with the requirements of chapter 10 of this title relating to preliminary lists generally, preceding the next primary election of a political party prior to a general election, each local board shall, for the party, prepare and post in the local board of canvassers a separate list of voters with their addresses in the districts who are eligible to participate in the primary of the respective party in accordance with the provisions of chapter 15 of this title. Each list shall be plainly marked with the name of the party for which it is prepared.

(b) In the preparation of any preliminary list, the names of all persons who are ineligible by reason of the provisions of § 17-15-24 shall be stricken from the list, and those persons are debarred from participating in the primary.
§ 17-13-2. Affidavits of error in lists.

Any person claiming that his or her name has been erroneously included in or omitted from a preliminary list may set up that fact in his or her affidavit and, if that person files the affidavit with the proper local board within five (5) days after the preliminary list has been posted, as provided in § 17-13-1, the local board shall make the proper change in the list if satisfied of the proof of the claim. The affidavit shall be open to public inspection under any regulations that shall be promulgated by the local board.
§ 17-13-3. Procedure in primaries for special elections.

The same procedure and sequence shall be followed in the case of a primary for a special election, but the state board shall fix and publish the various dates and periods in the sequence.
§ 17-13-4. Consolidated list for each party.

There shall be only one list prepared for each party and the practice of separate lists prepared for women and for real, personal, and registry voters shall not be followed.
§ 17-13-5. Lists furnished to parties and candidates.

After the first meeting held to correct and add to the voting lists as required by this chapter, the local boards shall immediately furnish five (5) complete copies of the printed lists to the town or city chairperson of each political party. The local boards shall furnish certified copies of the primary lists to any political party or candidate.
Chapter 17-14 – Nomination of Party and Independent Candidates
§ 17-14-1. Declarations of candidacy.

During the last consecutive Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in June in the even years and during the thirty-ninth (39th) and fortieth (40th) days preceding a primary election for a special election, or for an election regularly scheduled for a time other than the biennial general statewide election, each voter desiring to be a candidate at the upcoming primary or an independent candidate on final nomination papers shall, on a form that shall be provided by the secretary of state, file a declaration of his or her candidacy not later than four (4:00) p.m. of the last day for the filing with the secretary of state for congressional and statewide general offices, or with the local board of the place of the candidate’s voting residence for general assembly, or state committee or senatorial and representative district committee or with the appropriate local board for local officers. The declaration shall be signed by the candidate as his or her name appears on the voting list. The signature shall be accepted as valid if it can be reasonably identified to be the name and signature of the voter it purports to be. A variation of the voter’s signature by the insertion or omission of identifying titles or by the substitution of initials for the first or middle names of both shall not in itself be grounds for invalidation of the signature. The declaration shall also include the following information:

(1) The candidate’s name as it appears on the voting list, subject to the same provisions as relate to the voter’s signature on the declaration;

(2) The address as it appears on the voting list, provided that an address which is substantially the same as the address on the voting list shall be valid;

(3) The party declaration if seeking to run in a party primary;

(4) The office sought;

(5) The place and date of birth;

(6) The length of residence in the state and in the town or city where he or she resides;

(7) A certification that he or she is neither serving a sentence, including probation or parole, for which he or she was imprisoned upon final conviction of a felony imposed on any date nor serving any sentence, whether incarcerated or suspended, on probation or parole, upon final conviction of a felony committed after November 5, 1986;

(8) A certification that he or she has not been lawfully adjudicated to be non compos mentis, of unsound mind;

(9) In the case of candidates for party nomination, a certification that he or she has not been a member of a political party other than the declared party within ninety (90) days of the filing date; and

(10) If a person is a candidate for a state or local office, a certification that the person has not within the preceding three (3) years served any sentence, incarcerated or suspended, on probation or parole, for a crime committed after November 5, 1986, upon a plea of nolo contendere or guilty or upon a conviction of a felony or for a misdemeanor for which a sentence of imprisonment for six (6) months or more, whether suspended or to be served as imposed.
§ 17-14-1.1. Party affiliation.

Whenever any person seeks elective office, that person shall not have been a member of a political party other than the declared political party within ninety (90) days of the filing of his or her declaration of candidacy.
§ 17-14-1.2. Candidate required to be a qualified voter in the election.

(a) No person shall be eligible to file a declaration of candidacy as an independent candidate nor shall a person be eligible to be a candidate or be eligible to be voted for unless the person shall, at the time of filing the declaration, be qualified to vote in the election within the district for the office which that person seeks.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, individuals residing in state senate districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16 and 17 may file a declaration of candidacy for state senator and/or senatorial district committee member for those senate districts for the 2004 election pursuant to § 17-14-1, provided they were registered to vote in the election for that district on or before June 16, 2004.
§ 17-14-2. Candidate required to be a qualified voter in the primary.

(a) No person shall be eligible to file a declaration of candidacy, or be eligible to be a candidate or be eligible to be voted for or to be nominated or elected in a party primary unless the person, at the time of filing the declaration, is qualified to vote in a primary within the district for the office which he or she seeks.

(b) No person shall be eligible to file a declaration of candidacy, or be eligible to be a candidate or eligible to be voted for or to be nominated or elected in any party primary or general election if that person has declared to be a candidate for another elected public office, either state, local or both.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, individuals residing in state senate districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16 and 17 may file a declaration of candidacy for state senator and/or senatorial district committee member for those senate districts for the 2004 election pursuant to § 17-14-1, provided they were registered to vote in the election for that district on or before June 16, 2004.
§ 17-14-2.1. Party candidates not eligible for independent nomination and independent candidates not eligible for party nomination.

No person who has filed a declaration of candidacy as an independent candidate pursuant to § 17-14-1 for an office for which a party candidate may be nominated pursuant to this chapter shall be eligible to file a declaration of candidacy as a party candidate for the same office or for any other public office in the same election year, and no person who has filed a declaration of candidacy as a party candidate pursuant to § 17-14-1 for an office for which an independent candidate may be nominated pursuant to this chapter shall be eligible to file a declaration of candidacy as an independent candidate for the same office or for any other public office in the same election year.
§ 17-14-3. Repealed.
§ 17-14-4. Preparation of nomination papers for candidates – Combination of endorsed candidates – Furnishing of nomination papers to candidates.

(a) Upon receipt of the declarations referred to in § 17-14-1, within two (2) business days of the final date for filing endorsements, the secretary of state for statewide candidates and the local board for general assembly and local candidates shall prepare nomination papers for each person who has filed a declaration of candidacy as provided in § 17-14-1. A minimum of three (3) sets of nomination papers shall be prepared for each candidate whose name appears on nomination papers containing the name of a candidate for general assembly and for local office. Nomination papers for voters from the city of Providence for the offices enumerated in § 17-14-1 shall be furnished by the secretary of state. Nomination papers shall be prepared with the name of the candidate as it appears on the voting list, notwithstanding that the candidate may have signed his or her declaration of candidacy other than as the candidate’s name appears on the voting list. Candidates for nomination for different offices endorsed by the appropriate committee on any party shall be combined on the same nomination papers. The names of candidates for different offices not endorsed by the appropriate committee of any party shall not be combined on the same nomination papers. Nomination papers for candidates for general assembly shall be furnished by the local board of the general assembly candidate. Nomination papers shall be furnished to the local boards by the secretary of state and each shall bear the imprint of the state coat of arms and any additional language required by law. Nomination papers shall be appropriately marked or color coded to indicate the different political parties, the endorsed and unendorsed candidates of those parties, and independent candidates.

(b) General assembly and local candidates for nomination may, at their own expense, have nomination papers duplicated. The signatures obtained on the duplicated nomination papers shall be considered valid if, and only if, prior to any signatures being affixed, the duplicated nomination papers have been time stamped by the secretary of state or local board of canvassers which issued the original nomination papers.

(c) Nomination papers furnished by the secretary of state shall be personally issued to the candidate, or in the case of combined nomination papers to one of the candidates, for whom they were prepared, or to an individual presenting written authorization from the candidate, or one of the candidates appearing on them, to receive the nomination papers.
§ 17-14-4.1. Party committees – Nomination papers unnecessary.

In the case of endorsed candidates for membership on all party committees, including state, town, city, district, or ward committees, nomination papers shall not be necessary. In this case, the filing of the endorsed slate of candidates by the particular committee shall be sufficient to nominate the candidates. All nonendorsed candidates for membership on party committees shall be required to file declarations of candidacy and to obtain and file nomination papers in the same manner as other candidates for primary election.
§ 17-14-5. Repealed.
§ 17-14-6. Statement at head of nomination papers.

At the head of the space on the nomination papers where voters are to endorse their approval of the candidates shall be printed the following:

“Each of the signers of this paper by so signing severally certifies that he or she is a voter in the area from and for which the endorsed candidate (or candidates) seek(s) to be elected.”
§ 17-14-7. Number of signers required for nomination papers.

(a) United States senator or governor. The nomination papers of a candidate for the party nomination or an independent candidate for presidential elector, United States senator, or governor shall be signed, in the aggregate, by at least one thousand (1,000) voters.

(b) Representative in Congress. The nomination papers of a candidate for the party nomination or an independent candidate for representative in congress shall be signed, in the aggregate, by at least five hundred (500) voters.

(c) General state offices. The nomination papers of a candidate for the party nomination or an independent candidate for any of the general offices of the state, excluding governor, shall be signed, in the aggregate, by at least five hundred (500) voters.

(d) State senator. The nomination papers of a candidate for a party nomination or independent candidate for senator in any senatorial district shall be signed, in the aggregate, by at least one hundred (100) voters of the senatorial district.

(e) State representative. The nomination papers of a candidate for party nomination or an independent candidate for a member of the house of representatives from any representative district shall be signed, in the aggregate, by at least fifty (50) voters of the representative district.

(f) City offices. The nomination papers of a candidate for party nomination or an independent candidate for any local office to be filled by the voters of any city at large shall be signed, in the aggregate, by at least two hundred (200) voters of the city, provided that the city of Newport, for at-large candidates or candidates for school committee, at least one hundred (100) signatures shall be required;

provided, further, that in the city of Woonsocket, for candidates for citywide nonpartisan office, including city council, mayor, and candidates for school committee, if elected, at least one hundred (100) signatures shall be required; and provided, further, that in the city of Woonsocket, for candidates for citywide nonpartisan office, including city council, mayor, and candidates for school committee, if elected, at least one hundred (100) signatures shall be required; and provided, further that in the city of Providence, at least five hundred (500) signatures shall be required.

(g) Voting district moderator or clerk. The nomination papers for a candidate for voting district moderator or clerk in any town shall be signed, in the aggregate, by at least ten (10) voters of the voting district.

(h) Other offices. The nomination papers of a candidate for party nomination for other offices covered by § 17-15-7, or for the election of delegates or for unendorsed party committee candidates, shall be signed, in the aggregate, by fifty (50) voters.

§ 17-14-8. Signing of nomination papers.

Not all endorsers of a candidate need sign on the same nomination papers, but endorsers who are voters in different cities and towns shall not sign the same sheet. Every voter signing a nomination paper shall sign in person with his or her name, place of residence, and street number, as it appears on the voting list. The signature shall be accepted as valid if it can be reasonably identified to be the signature of the voter it purports to be. A variation of the voter’s signature by the insertion or omission of identifying titles or by the substitution of initials for the first or middle names, or both, shall not in itself be grounds for invalidation of the signature. Any voter who is unable to write may sign by making his or her mark “X” on the nomination paper in the presence of two (2) witnesses who shall subscribe their names on the paper as witnesses to the signing.
§ 17-14-9. Number of papers signed by same voter.

A voter may sign any number of nomination papers for any office the voter may lawfully vote for at the general election.
§ 17-14-10. Affidavit of person obtaining signatures.

Every person who obtains signatures of voters upon nomination papers shall under oath sign the following statement:

“I, ……………., of ………………………….., under oath, make affidavit and say that the signers of the within nomination paper (or papers) did so sign the paper (or papers) in my presence. ………………..

State of Rhode Island

…………………………, Sc.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this ……………. day of …………………………, A.D. 20….. ………………………. Notary Public”
§ 17-14-11. Checking and certification of nomination papers – Challenge.

Each nomination paper for party and independent candidates shall be submitted before four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the sixtieth (60th) day before the primary to the local board of the city or town where the signers appear to be voters or, in the case of special elections, on the twenty-eighth (28th) day before the primary. Nomination papers for independent presidential candidates and presidential candidates of political parties, other than those defined in § 17-1-2(9), shall be filed not later than sixty (60) days prior to the general election. Each local board shall immediately proceed to check signatures on each nomination paper filed with it against the voting list as last canvassed or published according to law. In the case of candidates for statewide office, the local boards shall certify the number of names appearing on the nomination papers that are in conformity with the requirements of § 17-14-8, and after considering any challenge under this section, shall immediately file all nomination papers for the officers with the secretary of state. In the case of all other candidates, the local boards shall certify a sufficient number of names appearing on the nomination papers that are in conformity with the requirements of § 17-14-8 to qualify the candidate for a position on the ballot, and after considering any challenge under this section and, if necessary, certifying any additional valid names, shall immediately file nomination papers for general assembly and state and district committee candidates with the secretary of state; provided, that nomination papers for local candidates shall be retained by the local board. If any candidate or the chairperson of any party committee questions the validity or authenticity of any signature on the nomination paper, the local board shall immediately and summarily decide the question, and for this purpose, shall have the same powers as are conferred upon the board by the provisions of § 17-14-14. If any challenged signature is found to be invalid, for any reason in law, or forged, then the signature shall not be counted.
§ 17-14-12. Filing of nomination papers.

All nomination papers for state offices or officers and all certified lists of candidates for local offices or officers shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state (the certified lists by the respective local boards), not later than fifty-four (54) days before the date of the primary held to nominate candidates for general election; but when there is a primary to nominate candidates for any office mentioned in § 17-15-7 to be voted upon at a special election, all nomination papers and lists of local candidates shall be filed in the office on or before the twenty-sixth (26th) day preceding the day of the special primary election. Nomination papers for independent presidential candidates and presidential candidates of political parties other than those defined in § 17-1-2(9) shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state by the local boards of canvassers not later than fifty-four (54) days before the date of the election.
§ 17-14-12.1. Certification by local boards.

All certified lists of candidates for primary, regular, and special elections, as well as all local questions to be voted on at these elections shall be in final form when certified to the secretary of state by the local boards. In all instances where there needs to be a reprinting, remailing, or other procedure pertaining to the ballots for a community, except as provided in § 17-14-17, the cost of the reprinting, remailing, or other procedure shall be borne by the local community.
§ 17-14-13. Objections to eligibility of candidate or sufficiency of papers.

When nomination papers have been duly filed and are in apparent conformity with § 17-14-11, they shall be conclusively presumed to be valid, unless written objections to them are made as to the eligibility of the candidate or the sufficiency of the nomination papers or the signatures on them. All objections shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state or of the local board, as the case may be, by four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the next business day after the last day fixed for filing nomination papers in the appropriate office as provided in this chapter. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the secretary of state or the local board, as the case may be, from disqualifying a candidate based on the determination of the secretary of state or the local board, acting on its own motion, that the candidate is ineligible or the nomination papers or the signatures on them are invalid or insufficient.
§ 17-14-14. Hearings on objections – Witnesses – Notice.

(a) All objections to nomination papers which are required to be filed with the secretary of state shall be considered by the state board. The secretary of state shall, when requested by the state board, immediately deliver to the board the nomination papers to which objection has been filed. The state board may, at the hearing on the objections, summon witnesses, administer oaths, and require the production of books, papers, and documents. The witnesses shall be summoned in the same manner, be paid the same fees, and be subject to the same penalties for default as witnesses before the superior court. A summons may be sworn to and an oath may be administered by the board. When an objection has been filed, notice of the objection shall be immediately given by registered or certified mail or by personal service by the state board to the candidates, addressed to the residence of the candidate as given in the nomination papers, and to any party committee interested in the nomination to which objection is made.

(b) Additional notice may also be given by the state board if it sees fit to do so. The decision of the board shall be rendered within two (2) days, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, after filing of objections and shall immediately be certified by the state board to the secretary of state.

(c) All objections to nomination papers for other than state officers shall be considered by the local board in the same manner and with the same effect as provided in subsection (a) of this section for hearing of objections to nomination papers for state officers by the state board.
§ 17-14-15. Withdrawal of candidacy.

A person nominated as a candidate to be voted for at a primary or an independent candidate may withdraw his or her name from the nomination prior to the date of primary by a request signed and duly acknowledged by him or her setting forth the reason for the withdrawal, that the withdrawal is the candidate’s own free act and deed, and that it is not executed as the result of any threat or promise made to the candidate. The certificate of withdrawal shall be filed in the office where the nomination papers were filed within the time prescribed by § 17-14-13 for filing objections to nomination papers; provided, that if an objection has been filed, the certificate need not be filed until twenty-four (24) hours following the decision of the state board, or of the local board, relative to the objection.
§ 17-14-16. Certification of names of candidates to secretary of state.

Following the determination of objections, if any, to the nomination papers, the state board or local board shall immediately certify to the secretary of state the names and addresses of all candidates who have filed valid nomination papers.
§ 17-14-17. Replacement of deceased endorsed candidate.

When an endorsed nominee as a candidate to be voted upon at any primary has deceased prior to the holding of the primary, the committee having the original authority to endorse the candidate shall substitute as the endorsed nominee for candidate to be voted upon at the primary any person qualified to vote at the primary in the place and stead of the deceased nominee; provided, that immediately upon receipt of actual knowledge of the death of the endorsed nominee by the committee having the original authority to endorse the candidate, the committee shall make the substitution referred to in this section. The chairperson of the committee shall, immediately upon the substitution, notify the secretary of state in writing of the death of the endorsed nominee and of the substitution of a nominee as provided in this section. Any substituted nominee shall have been eligible for nomination on the dates as required by and pursuant to the requirements of §§ 17-14-1, 17-14-1.1, 17-14-2, and 17-14-2.1. Upon receipt of the notice, the secretary of state shall thereupon substitute on the ballots the name of the endorsed nominee who replaces the deceased endorsed nominee as provided in this section; provided, that the written notice is received by the secretary of state at least fourteen (14) days prior to the date of the primary.
§ 17-14-17.1. Repealed.
Chapter 17-15 – Primary Elections
§ 17-15-1. Date of primaries.

A primary election for the nomination of candidates for each political party shall be held in each voting district in the manner provided in this chapter on the second Tuesday after the first Monday in September in each even numbered year.
§ 17-15-2. Regular primary date falling on religious holiday.

In the event that the date for the holding of any primary election preceding any general state or municipal election as provided in this chapter falls upon the day of a religious holiday, the primary shall be held upon the next business day, other than Saturday, then following; provided, that nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to invalidate a primary election once held.
§ 17-15-3. Special election primaries.

Party primary elections shall also be held for the purpose of nominating candidates for an office or offices to be elected at any special election. In the event of a special election, the state board shall fix the date or dates on which the various party primary elections shall be held; provided, that all the party primary elections shall have been held by the thirtieth (30th) day preceding the date fixed for the special election; and provided, further, that the date or dates fixed by the state board shall not be a religious holiday and shall be held on the first Tuesday next after the first Monday of any month.
§ 17-15-4. Municipal primaries other than at time of general primaries.

In those cities and towns which now by law hold elections for city or town officers on a day other than the Tuesday after the first Monday in November biennially in each even year, a primary election for the nomination of the city or town officials shall be held and the local board shall fix the date of the election; provided, that the primary election shall have been held by the thirtieth (30th) day preceding the date fixed for the election; and provided, further, that the date fixed by the local board shall not be a religious holiday and shall be held on the first Tuesday next after the first Monday of any month.
§ 17-15-5. Combination of voting districts.

Local boards shall have the power to combine two (2) or more voting districts within the same ward, and senatorial or representative district, when the absence of local contests within the combined voting districts makes this combination possible, and the combined district shall be treated as a voting district.
§ 17-15-6. Conventions and caucuses replaced – Parties holding primaries – Forms.

The primary elections held pursuant to this chapter shall replace the party conventions and caucuses for making the nominations provided for in this title, but party conventions shall be held for the purposes that are authorized by § 17-12-13. Primaries shall be held only by political parties. Except as otherwise provided in this title, any and all forms prescribed by this chapter shall be prepared and provided by the secretary of state and shall be, wherever practicable, uniform throughout the state.
§ 17-15-7. Candidates nominated at primaries.

(a) At the primary elections, candidates shall be nominated for the following offices, if the offices are to be filled at the succeeding election:

(1) Senators in the congress of the United States.

(2) Representatives in the congress of the United States.

(3) General officers of the state.

(4) Senators in the general assembly from the respective senatorial districts.

(5) Representatives in the general assembly from the respective representative districts.

(6) Mayors for the respective cities.

(7) Members of the city or town councils from the respective towns, wards, and districts.

(8) All other city or town officials previously nominated by party caucus, convention, or party committees, whose offices are to be filled at the regular or special election next succeeding the primary, with the exception of candidates for presidential elector who shall be selected as provided in this title.

(b) At the primary elections the members of ward, town, and district committees of the respective political parties shall be elected.
§ 17-15-8. Listing of candidates on ballots.

The secretary of state shall immediately, upon receipt of the certificates provided for by chapter 14 of this title, cause the proper ballots to be prepared for use in the various voting districts. Names of party candidates for a particular office shall be printed vertically below the names of the office they seek and shall not appear on the ballot more than once for the same office; provided, the names of candidates having the endorsement of their party committees shall be printed first below the title of the offices they seek and shall be marked with an asterisk (*). As to each candidate, following the endorsed party candidate, for a national office, a general office within the state, or for a general assembly office, the names shall be listed in an order chosen by lot under the direction of the secretary of state. As to each candidate, following the endorsed party candidate, for a city, town, or other local election, the names shall be listed alphabetically after the name of the endorsed party candidate. In the event that there are more candidates for a particular office than the voting machine can accommodate in the vertical column, the names shall be continued in the same manner in the next succeeding vertical column. Names of candidates shall be printed upon the ballots as the names appear on the voting list, notwithstanding that the candidate may have signed his or her declaration of candidacy other than as the candidate’s name appears on the voting list.
§ 17-15-9. Slate voting.

In a primary election no ballot shall be provided whereby a voter may by one mark vote for a slate of candidates.
§ 17-15-10. Repealed.
§ 17-15-11. Dispensation with primary when no contest.

Whenever there is no contest within any voting district for the officers to be nominated or elected by a particular political party for any election, no primary election shall be held in that voting district and the secretary of state for state offices or the local boards for local offices shall declare those persons elected in the case of party committee members or delegates or nominated as candidates of a particular party for the office, and their names shall not be printed on the primary ballot but shall be printed on the ballot for the election for which the nominations are made; provided, that the party committee members’ names and the names of the delegates to the state convention of the respective party shall not be put on the election ballot.
§ 17-15-12. Ballot when contest exists.

Whenever there is a contest within any voting district, a primary election shall be held in the voting district and the names of all candidates for state office and the names of only those candidates for local office that are contesting a particular local office or offices shall appear on the ballots.
§ 17-15-13. Voting places – Primary officials – Party officials – Appointment.

(a) From lists submitted to it by the chairperson of the state committees of each party, the board shall appoint and issue commissions to a sufficient number of qualified electors of this state to be primary inspectors so that one inspector may be assigned for each party to each primary polling place to work with the other primary officials of his or her party. The local board shall, at least fifty (50) days prior to the primary, select the place or places designated by it for holding the primary election provided for by this chapter. The local board shall, at least thirty-five (35) days before any primary election, appoint for each polling place within its city or town a primary warden or moderator and a primary clerk in the following manner:

(1) If there are primary contests in both major political parties, the warden and clerk shall be appointed as provided in § 17-11-11;

(2) If there is a primary contest in only one of the major political parties, the warden and the clerk shall be selected from a list submitted by the local committee of the party in which the contest exists.

(b) The local board shall also appoint at least thirty-five days (35) before any primary election, from lists submitted at least forty-five (45) days prior to the date set for the holding of the primaries, four (4) supervisors, in the following manner: (1) if there are primary contests in both major political parties, one supervisor shall be appointed for each party in the manner provided in § 17-11-11 and two (2) supervisors, one for each party, shall be appointed from lists submitted by a majority of the respective party candidates, other than those endorsed by the party committee; (2) if there is no primary contest in one of the major political parties, two (2) supervisors shall be appointed from a list submitted by the local committee in which the contest exists, and two (2) supervisors shall be appointed from a list or lists submitted by a majority of the party candidates, other than those endorsed by the party committee. The local board may appoint any additional pairs of supervisors that it may deem necessary in the same manner provided in this subsection and shall do so when directed by the state board.

(c) The local board shall also appoint for each party one watcher, two (2) checkers, and the number of runners, not to exceed three (3), that the appropriate party chairperson may deem necessary, which watcher, checkers, and runners shall be designated as party officials. These party officials shall be appointed from lists of qualified electors who are qualified to vote at the respective party primaries which lists shall be furnished as provided in subsection (b) of this section to the local board at least ten (10) days prior to the date set for the holding of the primary. If the party candidates or a majority of them, other than those endorsed by the party committee, notify the local board in writing of their choices at least ten (10) days prior to the date set for the holding of the primaries, the local board shall likewise appoint one watcher, two (2) checkers, and the number of runners that it shall have appointed at the request of the party chairperson, to act for them collectively. The local board shall give them certificates as party officials.
§ 17-15-14. Qualifications of primary officials – Affidavit.

(a) Each warden or moderator and each primary supervisor appointed under the provisions of §§ 17-15-13 and 17-15-16 shall be able to read the Constitution of the state in the English language, and to write his or her name, and shall, whenever possible, be a voter of the senatorial district, representative district, or town, ward, or voting district from which he or she is appointed.

(b) No person shall be appointed to serve as a primary official who has been convicted, found guilty, pleaded guilty or nolo contendere, or placed on a deferred or suspended sentence or on probation for any crime that involved moral turpitude or a violation of any of the election, caucus, or primary laws of this or any other state.

(c) No person serving as a primary official may serve in such capacity in the city or town in which they are a municipal employee.

(d) No person who is seeking nomination or election at any primary election shall act as a primary official at that primary.

(e) Every primary official shall make an affidavit before the proper local board or some member of the board to the effect that the official is not disqualified by reason of the provisions of this section.
§ 17-15-15. Powers and duties of primary officials – Compensation.

Primary wardens, moderators, clerks, and supervisors shall have the same powers and duties in the conduct of primary elections as are conferred and imposed by law upon general election officials, and they shall receive the same compensation as general election officials.
§ 17-15-16. Vacancies among primary officials.

Vacancies occurring among primary officials shall be immediately filled by the local boards in the same manner as provided for general elections as qualified by § 17-15-13; provided, that in the event there are no lists available, the local board shall appoint some person or persons to fill the vacancy from the list of registered voters.
§ 17-15-17. Notice of primaries.

At least eight (8) days before the time of holding any primary election, the local board shall cause notice of the primary to be posted in at least one public place in each voting district of any city, and in at least one public place in each voting district of a town. The notice shall state the time when, and the place where, the primary is to be held in each city, town or voting district, and the offices for which candidates are to be nominated; provided, that the local boards may, at their discretion, substitute notification by publication in a newspaper having local circulation for notification by posting in public places.
§ 17-15-18. Apportionment of voting booths and optical scan precinct count units.

(a) The apportionment of voting booths for the primary election of each political party shall, as far as possible, be on the same basis as for general elections, except that the determination shall be made with reference to the average number of votes received by the candidates of each party at the preceding general election.

(b) Unless otherwise prescribed by the board of elections, one optical scan precinct count unit shall be programmed and provided for each voting district. In no event shall there be less than one optical scan precinct count unit for each voting district.
§ 17-15-19. Arrangement and paraphernalia at voting places.

The primary election voting places shall be equipped by the local boards with the paraphernalia necessary for conducting elections and, except as otherwise specifically provided in chapters 12 – 15 of this title, the voting places shall be arranged wherever practicable in the manner provided in chapter 19 of this title.
§ 17-15-20. Primaries conducted in same manner as general elections.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, primary elections shall be conducted as nearly as may be in the manner provided in chapter 19 of this title for the conducting of general elections, except that the voting in each party shall be cast on separate computer ballots.
§ 17-15-20.1. City of East Providence – 2002 Primary Elections.

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the procedure for the primary elections in the city of East Providence in the calendar year 2002 shall be conducted as follows:

(1) On September 10, 2002, there shall be a primary election in the city of East Providence to nominate such candidates for the East Providence city council and East Providence school committee.

(2) Candidates for nomination in this primary election shall file with the canvassing authority declarations of their candidacy upon forms provided by the canvassing authority. Said The declaration shall be filed on the 10th, 11th and not later than 4:00 p.m. on the 12th day of June, 2002.

(3) The canvassing authority shall prepare nomination papers for circulation and distribute such those papers to said the declared candidates on the 13th day of June, 2002 and not later than 4:00 p.m. on the 14th day of June, 2002.

(4) Nomination papers must be assembled and united into one instrument and filed with the canvassing authority by the candidates in the primary election not later than 4:00 p.m. on the 5th day of July, 2002.

(5) No nomination shall be valid unless the candidate shall file with the canvassing authority in writing no later than 4:00 p.m. on the 19th day of July, 2002 his or her consent accepting the nomination, agreeing not to withdraw, and if nominated, to qualify as a candidate in the general city election.

(6) The canvassing authority shall check the signatures on the nomination petitions filed with it and shall certify those candidates who have the required number of signatures as candidates in the primary election not later than 4:00 p.m. on the 12th day of July, 2002.

(b) All subsequent primary elections in the city of East Providence shall be held in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
§ 17-15-21. Identification of party voters.

Before permitting any person to vote in a primary election, the warden or clerk and bipartisan pair of supervisors assigned by the warden shall ascertain from the voting record appearing on the certified voting list that the voter is not disqualified to vote by the provisions of § 17-15-24. The bipartisan pair of supervisors shall provide the voter with the corresponding computer ballot for the primary election in which the voter is eligible and desiring to vote. The warden shall take any steps that may be necessary to assure that each voter is given the computer ballot upon which the voter is eligible to vote.
§ 17-15-22. Party checkers, runners and watchers.

The local board shall, by written rule, provide for the presence of party checkers to be seated outside the rail next to the warden to make a list of those who vote and for the distribution of lists or memoranda to the proper representatives or candidates or groups of candidates. Party checkers, runners and watchers shall be regulated in the same manner as directed in § 17-19-22.
§ 17-15-23. Repealed.
§ 17-15-24. Disqualification by activity in other party.

No person shall be entitled to vote in the primary election of any political party who has voted in a primary election as a member of any other political party and has not changed his or her party designation as provided in chapter 9.1 of this title or has designated his or her affiliation with any other political party, as set forth in chapter 9.1 of this title. No person shall be debarred from voting in a party primary solely because of that person’s signing of nomination papers of a candidate to be voted for at any primary. A person having designated his or her party affiliation as set forth in chapter 9.1 of this title shall be deemed to have taken part in the primary as a member of that political party, and shall be debarred from voting in the primary as a member of the opposite political party until that person has changed his or her party affiliation as provided in chapter 9.1 of this title.
§ 17-15-25. Nomination papers for delegates to constitutional conventions.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, every qualified elector shall be eligible to sign nomination papers for candidates for delegates to any constitutional convention. The signing of nomination papers for candidates for delegates to any constitutional convention shall not affect the rights of qualified electors under the provisions of this chapter, or any other general or public law affecting the qualification of voters.
§ 17-15-26. Challenge of identity as to right to vote.

Whenever the identity of any person offering to vote is challenged at the polling place, that person shall be permitted to vote only by using a provisional ballot as defined in § 17-19-24.1.
§ 17-15-27. Impartiality of officials – Sound equipment.

The primary officials shall treat all candidates with absolute impartiality. No sound equipment advocating the election or defeat of any candidate or the approval or disapproval of any referenda shall be allowed within five hundred (500) feet of any polling place.
§ 17-15-28. Repealed.
§ 17-15-29. Number of votes required to nominate or elect.

In determining the nomination or election of a candidate at a primary election, the person receiving the largest number of votes, although less than a majority of all the votes cast for the candidates for a particular office, shall be declared nominated or elected. Where there is more than one person to be elected to a particular office or place, those persons equaling that number of officers to be elected to the office or place receiving the largest number of votes, although less than a majority of all the votes cast for all the candidates for the office or place, shall be declared nominated or elected, as the case may be, unless otherwise provided by existing law.
§ 17-15-30. Tabulation of local returns – Certificate of nomination or election.

(a) The local board shall meet on the day following the primary election and shall tabulate the city or town primary returns, as the case may be, and announce the results, but shall issue no certificates of nomination or election to party office until the expiration of the period in which a recount may be requested as provided in § 17-15-34, and if a request has been filed, the result shall be finally determined by the local board. Following the expiration of this period and the final determination by the local board, if any request for a recount is made, the local board shall issue certificates of nomination or election to party offices to the candidates so nominated or elected.

(b) When a local election is held in conjunction with a statewide election, the state board shall tabulate local mail ballots and immediately forward the results to the appropriate local board; when a local election is not held in conjunction with a statewide election, the local board shall tabulate their local mail ballots.
§ 17-15-31. Tabulation of state returns – Certificates of nomination or election.

The state board shall proceed to tabulate the state primary returns and announce the results, but shall issue no certificates of nomination until the expiration of the period in which a recount may be requested as provided in § 17-15-34 has expired and, if a request has been filed, until the result has been finally determined by the state board. Following the expiration of this period and the final determination by the state board, if any request for a recount is made, the board shall issue certificates of nomination or election to the candidates so nominated or elected.
§ 17-15-32. Repealed.
§ 17-15-33. Tie vote.

If there is a failure to make a nomination or to elect a candidate to party office at any primary by reason of a tie vote, the vacancy, if in respect to an office to be filled by the voters of more than one city or town, shall be filled by the executive committee of the state committee of the respective party, except in the case of a senatorial or representative committee the vacancy shall be filled by the members of the senatorial or representative district committee, as the case may be, and if in respect to an office other than a senatorial or representative district committee to be filled by the voters of no more than one city or town, or a portion of a city or town, the vacancy shall be filled by the city or town committee of the respective political party. The vacancy shall be filled only by the choice of one of the candidates receiving the tie vote. The name of the candidate chosen by the appropriate party committee shall be officially certified to the state board or local board, as the case may be.
§ 17-15-34. Recount petition or other protest.

Any candidate whose name was on the primary ballot may file with the state board a request for the recounting of the votes cast, or other protest concerning the primary, provided he or she files the request or protest no later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the day following the primary. The request or protest shall contain the candidate’s reason for making the request or protest. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the state board, acting on its own motion, from ordering a recount or taking appropriate action in response to any error, irregularity, or impropriety in the conduct of any facet of the primary which comes to its attention at any time prior to the certification of the results of the primary.
§ 17-15-35. Hearing on recount or protest – Notice – Declaration of nomination or election.

(a) Immediately upon the filing of a protest or request, the state board shall cause notice in writing to be served in any manner that it directs, at the expense of the petitioner, upon all other candidates of the same political party for the same office receiving votes at the primary, and shall give notice in some public newspaper of general circulation in the voting district or districts where the primary took place of the making of the request or protest and the time and place of the hearing, which time shall be not less than one nor more than three (3) weekdays after the publication of the notice. At the hearing all candidates who may be affected by a recount may be heard in person or by their representative. The hearing and the examination of the voting equipment or the recounting of the ballots, as the case may be, as may be necessary, shall be conducted in a summary and expeditious manner, but the result of the voting as determined by the state board shall not be altered or changed by the board except upon satisfactory proof of its incorrectness. Following the hearing, the state board shall declare what person, if any, was lawfully nominated or elected, and shall issue or direct the local board to issue a certificate of the nomination or election to that person.

(b) Recounts shall be conducted in the manner set forth in chapter 19 of this title.
§ 17-15-36. Repealed.
§ 17-15-37. Repealed.
§ 17-15-38. Vacancies among nominees.

(a) Whenever the nominee of a party for a particular office dies after the primary, or removes him or herself from the jurisdiction of or as a candidate for the office for which the nominee seeks election, or becomes physically or mentally disabled, the state committee of that party or a duly authorized subcommittee of the state committee in the case of state officers, and the appropriate city, town, ward, or district committee or any duly authorized subcommittee of them in the case of candidates for the other offices covered by § 17-15-7, may file with the appropriate authority the name of its nominee for the office; provided, that except in the case of death, the appropriate committee shall file the name with the appropriate authority no later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. of the third (3rd) day following the last day for the holding of the party primaries; and provided, further, that any appointed nominee shall have been eligible for the nomination on the dates as required by and pursuant to the requirements of §§ 17-14-1.1, 17-14-2, and 17-14-2.1. The person so named shall be the nominee of the party for the office, and if in case of the death of a nominee time will permit, the secretary of state shall place the name of the nominee upon the election ballot. When the withdrawal or death occurs after the third (3rd) day after the last day for holding primaries, the secretary of state shall not be required to remove from any computer ballot or mail ballot which has already been printed the name of any person who is no longer the nominee of a party for a particular office as provided in this subsection, and any votes cast in any election for that person shall not be counted.

(b) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to permit the state committee of the party, or a duly authorized subcommittee of the state committee in the case of state officers, or the appropriate city, town, ward, or district committee or any duly authorized subcommittee of them in the case of candidates for the other offices covered by § 17-15-7, to file the name of a nominee for a vacant office if the vacancy is the result of the failure of candidate(s) of the party to qualify for the public office through the timely filing of sufficient nomination papers.
§ 17-15-39. Preservation of primary records.

All declarations of candidacy, nomination papers, and all requests for withdrawal of names of candidates, whether before or after the holding of a primary, when filed, and all protests and requests for recounts, shall be open, under proper regulation, to public inspection, and the state board shall preserve these records in its office not less than twenty-six (26) calendar months from the date of filing.
§ 17-15-40. Right to nominate by petition preserved.

Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, this chapter shall not be construed to prevent the nominations of candidates by individual voters in accordance with the provisions of chapter 16 of this title.
§ 17-15-41. School committee caucuses unaffected.

All nonpartisan school district caucuses, specially provided for by statute, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter. Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to exempt any caucuses for nomination of members of school committees from the provisions of chapter 19 of this title.
§ 17-15-42. Repealed.
§ 17-15-43. Applicability of election law.

All political party primaries shall be construed to be “elections” as defined in this title, and all the provisions of this title shall, insofar as consistent with the provisions of this chapter, apply to all political party primaries.
§ 17-15-44. Rules – Recommendations for amendment of laws.

The state board shall have power to make any rules that it deems designed to promote the objects and purposes of chapters 12 – 15 of this title, and shall annually report to the general assembly, in writing,
Chapter 17-16 – Filing Of Nominations
§ 17-16-1 – 17-16-19. Repealed.
Chapter 17-17 – Certification And Withdrawal Of Nominees
§ 17-17-1 – 17-17-11. Repealed.
Chapter 17-18 – Elective Meetings
§ 17-18-1. Warning and organization of town elective meetings.

Town meetings for purposes of election shall be warned and organized as is or may be provided by law for the warning and organization of town meetings for other purposes, unless specially directed otherwise, and shall be held at the times appointed by law.
§ 17-18-2. Warning and organization of ward elective meetings.

Ward meetings in cities for purposes of election shall be warned and organized as is or may be provided by law or by the charters of the cities, and all meetings shall be held at the times appointed by law; provided, that in the cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Newport, Cranston, Woonsocket, and Warwick, the meetings shall be warned by the local boards.
§ 17-18-3. Warning and organization of senatorial district, representative district, and voting district meetings.

Senatorial district meetings, representative district meetings, and voting district meetings for the purposes of election shall be warned and organized as is or may be provided by law, and notice of all these meetings shall be given by the city or town clerk issuing his or her warrant, directed to the town sergeant or one of the constables of that city or town, or in the event that the town sergeant or a constable is not available, to any member of the town or city clerk’s office or member of the board of canvassers, directing him or her to post, at least seven (7) days before the day appointed for these meetings, written notifications in one or more public places in each voting district, and in each senatorial and representative district not divided into voting districts, of the time when, and place where, each meeting is to be held, and of the business required by law to be transacted in the meeting, and stating in the warrant the time of the opening and closing of the polls at each elective meeting to be held in that city or town; provided, that in the cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Newport, Cranston, Warwick, and Woonsocket, the notice shall be given and posted by the local board.
§ 17-18-4. Return of warrant.

The officer charged with the service of the warrant shall, previous to the meetings, make return to the respective district clerks of his or her actions upon the warrant.
§ 17-18-5. Date of general elective meetings.

A meeting of the electors of every city, town, senatorial district, representative district, and of every voting district shall be held biennially in the even years on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November at a place to be designated and furnished by the local boards of the respective towns and cities at the expense of the towns and cities, respectively, for the purpose of organization and voting for general officers, senators and representatives in the general assembly, representatives in congress, and electors of president and vice-president of the United States, if to be chosen, and for any other officers that are to be chosen on that day.
§ 17-18-5.1. Elections falling on religious holiday.

In the event that the date for the holding of any state or municipal election, other than the general election held on the first Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in even numbered years, falls upon the day of a religious holiday on which the doctrines of a faith would prohibit its followers from voting, the election shall be held upon the next business day other than Saturday then following; provided, that nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to invalidate any election once it has been held.
§ 17-18-6. District moderator and clerk.

The officers of a voting district shall be a moderator and a clerk. The moderator shall preside in all meetings of his or her district until his or her successor is elected and qualified. The moderator shall have the same authority in these meetings as moderators of town meetings have, and shall be subject to the same penalties for willful violation or neglect of duty. The clerk shall keep a record of the proceedings of the meetings in his or her district, and, after a choice of officers in his or her district, shall, in writing duly certified, notify the town or city clerk of the choice; provided, that in the cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Newport, Cranston, Woonsocket, and Warwick, the notification shall be made to the local board.
§ 17-18-7. Place and time of district elective meetings – Moderator and clerks as quorum.

Voting district meetings shall be held by the electors of the district at the times appointed by law and at the places designated by the local board of the respective cities and towns; and the moderator and clerk, when present, shall constitute a quorum of electors for the opening of the polls for voting for all civil officers, except for moderator and clerk.
§ 17-18-8. Town and elective meetings continuously open for voting.

All town meetings and elective meetings for the election of general officers, senators and representatives in the general assembly, representatives in congress, and electors of president and vice-president of the United States, shall be opened at a specified hour in the morning and shall be continuously kept open for voting until a specified hour in the afternoon, as provided in §§ 17-18-10 and 17-18-11.
§ 17-18-9. District meetings open whole day.

In the election of general officers, representatives in congress, and electors of president and vice-president of the United States, and of city officers of all cities, and in the election of senators and representatives in the general assembly, the town, ward, senatorial and representative district, and voting district meetings of the several cities and towns, shall be kept open for voting during the whole time of voting for the day.
§ 17-18-10. Time of opening of polls.

(a) Elective meetings in the cities and towns named in this section shall be opened for the purpose of voting at the hours specified for each particular city or town as designated in the specific time as follows:

(1) Barrington Polls open at 7 a.m.

(2) Bristol Polls open at 7 a.m.

(3) Burrillville Polls open at 7 a.m.

(4) Central Falls Polls open at 7 a.m.

(5) Charlestown Polls open at 7 a.m.

for the biennial general

election and 9 a.m. for

all other elections

(6) Coventry Polls open at 7 a.m.

(7) Cranston Polls open at 7 a.m.

(8) Cumberland Polls open at 7 a.m.

(9) East Greenwich Polls open at 7 a.m.

(10) East Providence Polls open at 7 a.m.

(11) Exeter Polls open at 7 a.m.

(12) Foster Polls open at 7 a.m.

(13) Glocester Polls open at 7 a.m.

(14) Hopkinton Polls open at 7 a.m.

(15) Jamestown Polls open at 7 a.m.

for the biennial general

election and 8 a.m. for

all other elections

(16) Johnston Polls open at 7 a.m.

(17) Lincoln Polls open at 7 a.m.

(18) Little Compton Polls open at 7 a.m.

(19) Middletown Polls open at 7 a.m.

and 7 a.m. for Presiden-

tial Elections only

(20) Narragansett Polls open at 7 a.m.

(21) Newport Polls open at 7 a.m.

(22) New Shoreham Polls open at 9 a.m.

(23) North Kingstown Polls open at 7 a.m.

(24) North Providence Polls open at 7 a.m.

(25) North Smithfield Polls open at 7 a.m.

(26) Pawtucket Polls open at 7 a.m.

(27) Portsmouth Polls open at 7 a.m.

(28) Providence Polls open at 7 a.m.

(29) Richmond Polls open at 7 a.m.

(30) Scituate Polls open at 7 a.m.

(31) Smithfield Polls open at 7 a.m.

(32) South Kingstown Polls open at 7 a.m.

(33) Tiverton Polls open at 7 a.m.

(34) Warren Polls open at 7 a.m.

(35) Warwick Polls open at 7 a.m.

(36) Westerly Polls open at 7 a.m.

(37) West Greenwich Polls open at 7 a.m.

(38) West Warwick Polls open at 7 a.m.

(39) Woonsocket Polls open at 7 a.m.

(b) In all special or primary elections in the towns of Hopkinton, Westerly, and Little Compton, polls shall open at 9:00 a.m.

(c) In all presidential preference primaries in the town of New Shoreham, polls shall open at 12:00 p.m.

(d) In all primary elections in all cities and towns, polls may open at 7:00 a.m. Notice shall be given and posted by the local board.
§ 17-18-11. Time of closing of polls.

Elective meetings in all cities and towns shall be continuously kept open for voting until 8 p.m.; provided, that any qualified voter who is waiting in line to vote at 8 p.m. shall be entitled to cast his or her vote. When all persons entitled to vote have been afforded a reasonable opportunity to do so, the polls shall be closed.
§ 17-18-12. Adjournment of ward and district meetings.

In cities other than the city of Providence, and in towns divided into voting districts, ward and district meetings held in those cities and towns, respectively, for the election of city, town, ward, and voting district officers, or any of them, shall, at the time of the closing the polls prescribed by law, stand adjourned to the seventh (7th) day next from and after the appointed day unless the seventh (7th) day falls on a legal or religious holiday, and in that event to the day following the holiday, with like adjournment from the holiday; provided, that there shall be no election held on Saturday, and if the day of any adjournment falls on Saturday, the meeting shall stand adjourned to the Monday following, unless that Monday is a legal or religious holiday, in which case the adjourned election shall proceed on the next following day which is not a legal or religious holiday.
§ 17-18-13. Reopening of town elective meetings – Certificates.

If, in any case in a town not divided into voting districts, there is no election of the town officers voted for who are required to be elected by the people, or of any of them, the polls may be reopened and proceedings shall be had until an election takes place. In those towns, after the declaration of the result of the voting for town officers, the town clerks shall give certificates of their election to the persons elected town officers.
§ 17-18-14. Application to elections conducted on optical scan precinct count voting system.

The provisions of this chapter shall govern elective meetings held in accordance with the provisions of chapter 19 of this title, provided they are applicable and not inconsistent with the provisions of chapter 19.
§ 17-18-15. Closing of schools.

At each general election as defined in § 17-1-2(2) and statewide primary as defined in § 17-15-1, all public elementary and secondary schools throughout the state shall not be in session. On the day of the general election and statewide primary, the use of school buildings or premises shall be restricted to use only as polling places for election purposes. Notwithstanding the previous provisions, school staff development days may be held. Provided further, that the provisions of this section shall not be applicable to the Block Island School, located in the town of New Shoreham, and the use of the Block Island School shall not be restricted, nor shall classes need to be cancelled or postponed at said school, on the day of general elections and statewide primaries.
Chapter 17-19 – Conduct of Election and Voting Equipment, and Supplies
§ 17-19-1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, except as otherwise required by the context:

(1) “Candidate” means any individual who has qualified under law to have his or her name appear on the ballot for nomination for election or election to office;

(2) “Computer ballot” means the paper ballot prepared by the office of the secretary of state for use in conjunction with the optical-scan precinct-count system or the voting equipment precinct-count system then in place and procured in accordance with this chapter;

(3) “Public office” means any state, municipal, school, or district office or other position that is filled by popular election, except political party offices which shall mean any state, city, town, ward, or representative or senatorial district committee office of a political party or delegate to a political party convention, or any similar office;

(4) A “Vote” shall be any mark made with the appropriate marking device within the ballot voting area between the head and tail of the arrow or in the oval as indicated on the computer ballot next to the candidate, write-in candidate, or question, as is applicable, for whom the voter casts his or her ballot, except as provided in § 17-20-24;

(5) “Voting equipment” means an optical-scan precinct-count voting system or the voting equipment precinct-count system then in place and procured in accordance with this chapter, related memory device, all related hardware and software, accessible voting systems required by federal law, and voting booths;

(6) “Warden” includes moderator and vice versa; and

(7) “Write-in candidate” means any individual receiving votes or seeking election to office by virtue of having irregular ballots cast for him or her pursuant to § 17-19-31.
§ 17-19-2. Voting equipment.

Subject to the provisions of this chapter, voting equipment that has been procured by the department of administration according to the provisions of this chapter shall be used in all state, city, or town elections, including elections at which amendments to the constitution of the state are submitted to the electors for approval. Until such voting equipment is procured by the department of administration pursuant to the specifications provided by the office of the secretary of state, voting equipment previously acquired by the department of administration according to the provisions of this chapter in effect at that time shall continue to be used in all state, city, or town elections, including elections at which amendments to the constitution of the state are submitted to the electors for approval.
§ 17-19-2.1. New voting technology.

In the event the department of administration purchases new voting equipment and services in accordance with § 17-19-3, then any reference in title 17 to optical-scan equipment shall be deemed to refer to the voting equipment then purchased, whether such voting equipment utilizes optical-scan technology or not.
§ 17-19-3. Voting equipment and services – Specifications.

(a) The office of secretary of state shall develop, from time to time, and, in coordination with the general assembly for the purpose of funding procurement, submit specifications to the department of administration that the department of administration shall utilize in procuring voting equipment, voting systems, and services related thereto in accordance with this chapter and chapter 2 of title 37 of the general laws. These specifications and requests for proposals for the options of purchasing, leasing to own, or renting precinct-count voting systems that utilize technologies, methods, and equipment considered reasonable best practices for the state and in compliance with all laws, and for a full-service contract for such voting systems, shall be constructed and shall operate in a manner that meets the following minimum requirements:

(1) It shall enable the voter to:

(i) Mark his or her ballot and cast his or her vote in secrecy;

(ii) Vote for all candidates of political parties or organizations, and for, or against, questions as submitted;

(iii) Vote for as many persons for an office as the voter is lawfully entitled to vote for, but no more; and

(iv) Vote on any question the voter may have the right to vote on;

(2) It shall prevent the voter from voting for the same person more than once for the same office;

(3) The voting equipment shall allow the voter to cast one vote, thereby allowing the voter to vote for all the presidential electors of a party by a clear and unambiguous means; provided, that means shall be furnished by which the voter can cast a vote in part for the candidates for presidential electors of one party, and in part for those of one or more other parties, or in part or in whole, for persons not nominated by any party;

(4) The precinct-counting system shall meet the following specifications:

(i) Vote counting, including absentee ballots, shall be performed through the use of automated electronic equipment;

(ii) All vote counting shall be performed on equipment supplied as part of the bid. The system shall not require the use of non-supplied equipment to count ballots or tabulate results;

(iii) There shall be privacy enclosures in which a voter may mark his or her ballot or otherwise cast his or her vote in secret;

(iv) There shall be a device located in each polling place that can record the vote count and tally the vote count in that polling place and that can produce a printed tally of all races contained on said ballot in human, readable form. The device shall automatically print a “zero report” at the beginning of the day when the device is activated. The device that receives ballots for counting shall have an external counter indicating the number of ballots received. The actual vote tally shall be capable of being performed only by election officials and shall not be visible during the actual voting process. Each recording device shall ensure the security of voted ballots and ease of access;

(v) As part of the voting process, there shall be created a physical ballot showing the votes cast by an individual voter that is capable of being hand counted so that electronic-recorded device totals can be checked for accuracy;

(vi) There shall be a device at each polling place to receive the physical audit trail of ballots cast and that shall securely store the ballots and have the capability of restricting access to the ballots only to authorize officials;

(vii) In the event of loss of electrical power, the polling place vote count shall be stored on an ongoing basis in media that will retain the count of the votes cast to that point in time for a period of no less than five (5) years;

(viii) The polling place vote counts shall be stored on a stable media that may be easily transported and that may be accessed and counted by an electronic device so that state, city, and/or town vote totals can be electronically calculated by combining individual polling place totals. It shall not be necessary to enter individual polling place totals by, and into, a central computer or device for the purpose of producing the state, city, and/or town totals, but rather the electronic media on which the polling place totals are stored shall be directly readable and accessible by a regional or central device;

(ix) There shall be a device that has the capability to electronically read the storage device upon which the individual polling place totals are stored and that shall produce a combined total for all races, which total can be printed in easily readable and legible form in a format prescribed by the state board of elections;

(x) The system provided shall allow the secretary of state to have the capability to design the ballot format;

(xi) The system shall provide a capability for the state, without the use of outside services, to set up and prepare the counting devices to total an election; and

(xii) The system must be capable of receiving voted ballots without counting when without power and must provide for securely storing uncounted ballots;

(5) The following minimum equipment shall be required for the state:

(i) There shall be a minimum number of units to permit counting to be conducted in each polling place within the state with a reserve of equipment on hand;

(ii) There shall be a sufficient number of voting booths for each precinct to accommodate voters as determined in this title;

(iii) The number of polling place units and voting booths must be sufficient to permit the election to run smoothly without excessive waiting of voters;

(iv) If there is an increase in the number of polling places statewide during the term of the contract, the vendor will supply additional polling place units and voting booths at a cost proportional to the cost of the initial units pro rated for the balance of the agreement years;

(v)(A) There shall be high-speed, absentee vote tabulating equipment. These tabulators, as a whole, must be capable of counting absentee ballots at a reasonable best practices rate. The tabulators shall utilize the same ballots used in the polling place;

(B) This system shall have the following capabilities in connection with the counting of ballots and producing results:

(I) This system shall be able to read the media from the polling place units on which polling place results are stored and shall be able to compile polling place results producing a ballot total for each race; and

(II) This system shall be capable of producing and printing out ballot totals on a polling-place-by-polling-place basis for each race, and shall be capable of producing a final total and subtotals of all races from all races and polling places in the state. All totals must be able to be produced at any time, based upon the number of polling places counted up to that point in time, and these printout results shall state the number of precincts counted and the percentage of precincts reporting;

(vi) There shall be all equipment necessary to program the system and erase the memory devices;

(vii) Reasonable best-practices tabulating equipment shall be located in each of the thirty-nine (39) local boards of canvassers and the central tabulation equipment shall be located at the state board of elections. The state board of elections, in conjunction with the service contract vendor, no less than thirty (30) days prior to an election, shall test the tabulation system to be utilized for the election and determine whether regional and/or central tabulation is adequate, and if regional tabulation is required, so implement it. The tabulation system shall have the following capabilities in connection with the counting of ballots and producing results:

(A) This system shall be able to read the media from the polling place units on which polling place results are stored and shall be able to compile polling place results producing a ballot total for each race;

(B) This system shall be capable of producing and printing out ballot totals on a polling-place-by-polling-place basis for each race and shall be capable of producing a final total and subtotal of all races from all races and polling places in the state;

(C) All totals must be able to be produced at any time based upon the number of polling places counted up to that point in time, and the printout results shall state the number of precincts counted and the percentage of precincts reporting; and

(D) This system shall be capable of transferring information gathered from the precincts and, if regional and/or central tabulation sites are utilized, the system shall be capable of transferring information gathered at any regional or central sites utilized by the thirty-nine (39) local boards of canvassers;

(6) All necessary programming and accumulation software shall be provided to run the election system in accordance with the required specifications as well as all necessary and required modules. Any software updates during the term of the agreement shall not be charged to the state;

(7) The vendor of the precinct-count system shall provide written proof of compliance with federal standards then in place and administered by the designated federal agency or organization from an independent testing company and this written proof must be on file with the office of the secretary of state and the state board of elections;

(8) The vendor shall also provide the following information to be included in the vendor’s bid proposal:

(i)(A) An audited financial statement covering the previous five (5) years, and if the vendor is not the manufacturer of the equipment, both the agent and manufacturer must submit an audited financial statement covering the previous five (5) years with the bid;

(B) In the event that either the vendor, agent, or manufacturer has been in existence for less than five (5) years, that entity must submit an audited financial statement for each and every full year that they have been in existence;

(ii) Proof of experience in the field of elections including, but not limited to, years of experience in this field and experience with a jurisdiction having the same needs as the state of Rhode Island; and

(iii) Names and addresses of the support organizations that will provide support of all equipment.

(b) The full-service plan shall include the following services, but, at the discretion of the office of the secretary of state, shall not be limited to the following services:

(1) Computer coding and layout of all ballots to be used in each election under contract, including the printing of the ballot and the preparation of the ballot-reading device to ensure that the ballots are compatible with the ballot-reading device. Subsequent thereto, the state board of elections shall be responsible for the following:

(2) Testing of each unit for logic and accuracy;

(3) Testing of each programmed memory device;

(4) Set up of each precinct-count unit at each polling place;

(5) Maintenance of all precinct-count units;

(6) Training of poll workers;

(7) On-site election night staff at the central tabulation location and any other locations as may be determined by the state board to receive and transmit election results;

(8) On-site election day field technicians to respond to repair calls;

(9) Providing the following equipment and supplies:

(i) Secrecy covers for voted ballots;

(ii) Demonstration ballots;

(iii) Precision-cut shell program ballots ready for printing with timing marks;

(iv) Marking pens;

(v) Ballot transfer cases;

(vi) Envelopes for mailing and receiving absentee ballots; and

(vii) Printer ribbons, paper tape rolls, and seals.

(c) Any bid proposal by an offeror for a precinct-count system and a full-service agreement for a precinct-count system that does not conform in all respects to the requirements of subdivisions (a)(1) – (b)(9)(vii) of this section may be accepted by the office of the secretary of state with the consent of the department of administration. The office of the secretary of state shall memorialize the acceptance of any bid proposal that does not conform with the requirements of subsections (a)(1) – (b)(9)(vii) of this section in each instance of such non-conformance.

(d) The office of the secretary of state periodically shall conduct a review of the election system, provide a report to the general assembly, and shall be responsible for establishing minimum requirements and specifications for the procurement of voting equipment and services.
§ 17-19-3.1. Repealed.
§ 17-19-3.2. Polling place accessibility for voters who are disabled or elderly.

(a) Every polling place shall be situated in a building that can be entered and exited by persons who are disabled or elderly.

(b) “Persons who are disabled” for the purpose of this section means a serious impairment of mobility.

(c) “Elderly” as used in this section means a person who is sixty-five (65) years of age or older.

(d) The state board of elections shall establish guidelines as to the accessibility of buildings to voters who are disabled or elderly. The state board of elections is empowered to grant, upon the application of the board of canvassers, an exception permitting it to maintain a polling place in a nonconforming building. An exception shall only be granted when the board of canvassers demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the board of elections, that there is no public building within the voting district which meets the requirements of this section or which can be brought into compliance by a reasonable expenditure of funds. If a conforming building is unavailable within the voting district, the board of elections shall provide to the board of canvassers an alternative method or an alternative location outside the voting district for persons who are disabled or elderly and request in advance of the election an alternative means of casting their ballot on election day.
§ 17-19-3.3. Telephones at polling places.

Every polling place shall have a telephone available for the use of any election official for the purpose of carrying out his or her official functions and duties.
§ 17-19-3.4. Repealed.
§ 17-19-35 – 17-19-3.15. Repealed.
§ 17-19-4. Voting booths and optical scan precinct count units – Number to be furnished.

(a) For each voting district and for each town not divided into voting districts, at least one precinct count unit shall be prepared and delivered by the state board or its designee.

(b) At each voting place, both in cities and in towns, at least one voting booth shall be furnished for every one hundred seventy-five (175) qualified electors, whose names are upon the voting list used at the voting place and entitled to use the machines, as certified to the state board based on the voting list certified as a result of the final canvass.

(c) In making the calculation required by this section, voters whose names are on the inactive list of voters shall not be included.
§ 17-19-4.1. Repealed.
§ 17-19-4.2. Moderator request – Computerized voting machines.

(a) Upon request of a moderator charged with conducting a municipal or regional school district financial meeting, the board of elections will furnish each meeting to be conducted with one computerized voting machine per year, and voting booths and ballots marked “yes” and “no” at the state’s expense. The request shall declare the number of requested ballots and the number of anticipated voters. The request shall be delivered to the board of elections no later than fifteen (15) days prior to the meeting. The board of elections shall determine the need for additional computerized machines and that cost shall be borne by the municipality or school district.

(b) If a municipality or school district holds more than one financial meeting in the same calendar year, the municipality or school district shall bear the cost of any computerized machines, voting booths, and ballots furnished for use at any additional financial meetings.
§ 17-19-5. Printing and furnishing of computer ballots.

The computer ballots to be used at any election shall be printed and furnished at the expense of the state by the secretary of state and turned over to the state board.
§ 17-19-6. Ballot – Arrangement.

In all cases where optical scan precinct count units are to be used for any election, the secretary of state shall prepare a diagram of the computer ballot to be used at the election. The diagram shall determine the manner and order in which the ballot shall be arranged, and the diagram shall, on the day of any election, be in the possession of the warden and available for public inspection. The diagram shall be a copy of the actual computer ballot to be voted at the polling place.
§ 17-19-6.1. Local questions on the ballot.

In all circumstances where local questions are to be printed on the ballot, they shall be printed on a distinctive colored background. The first question shall be designated by the numeral I, and additional questions shall follow numbered so that all questions submitted to the electors of the city/town shall be numbered consecutively; provided, that whenever there are propositions of amendment of the Constitution or any public question of statewide impact on the ballot, the statewide questions shall be listed on the ballot numbered consecutively starting with the numeral I, and the local questions shall follow starting with the first available number and shall be numbered consecutively.
§ 17-19-7. Local candidates and questions – Certification – Ballots.

The local board of each city or town shall certify to the secretary of state, not later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. of the third (3rd) day following the last day for the holding of the primary held pursuant to the provisions of chapter 15 of this title, preceding any regular city or town election to be held on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in any year, or not later than twenty-nine (29) days before any regular city or town election held at any time other than on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in any year, or not later than twenty-nine (29) days before any special city or town election, the offices to be voted for at the election, the names of the candidates for each office and the party name under which the respective candidates were nominated, and any other information necessary to enable the secretary of state to prepare ballots uniform in size, type, color, and appearance with those prepared by the secretary for the state election, and in like manner the local board shall certify to the secretary of state, not later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the ninetieth (90th) day preceding any regular city or town election to be held on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in any year, or not later than fifty (50) days before any regular city or town election held at any time other than on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in any year, or not later than fifty (50) days before any special city or town election, a copy of each question to be submitted to the electors of the city or town so that suitable ballots may be prepared and furnished for the election.
§ 17-19-7.1. Listing of at-large candidates.

(a) In case of a vote for members of the council or school committee of any city or town, in which the office or offices to be filled are to be elected on an at-large basis, and whether the election is a partisan, nonpartisan, primary, general, or special election, the names for the office or offices shall be listed on the ballot in such fashion that no more than one name for an office shall be displayed on the same horizontal line; provided, that candidates for nonpartisan election in the cities of Newport, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket, and candidates for partisan election in the town of North Providence, may be listed on the same horizontal line.

(b) In no event shall the voting equipment be prepared to prevent further voting for an office or officer until the elector has cast as many votes as there are separate offices to be filled.
§ 17-19-7.2. Names of candidates.

In all elections, the names of candidates shall be printed on ballots as they appear on the voting list, notwithstanding that the candidate may have signed his or her declaration of candidacy other than as the candidate’s name appears on the voting list.
§ 17-19-8. Ballots – Form.

All ballots provided under this chapter shall be printed in black ink on clear, white material in plain, clear type. Upon the ballot for questions, the statement of the question may be abbreviated to meet the requirements of the space provided, and shall be printed in type that can be easily read, with the words “yes” or “no” or “approved” and “reject”, whichever may be required for the voter to indicate the voter’s vote for or against any question.
§ 17-19-8.1. Ballots for voters who are blind, visually impaired or disabled.

(a) Any voter who is blind or visually impaired or disabled is eligible to request a special ballot for voting by mail ballot. Special mail ballots are available in Braille or tactile format.

(b) Requests must be made in writing to the local board of canvassers where the person is registered to vote at least forty-five (45) days before the election for which the voter is requesting the special ballot. In addition, the request will be valid for all elections held during the calendar year in which the request was received and in which the voter is eligible to participate. Applicants must also file the appropriate mail ballot application as required by chapter 20 of this title for each election in which they wish to participate.

(c) The office of the secretary of state shall prepare and provide the appropriate form, which shall be available at local boards and upon request from the office of the secretary of state. The voter may also choose to submit his or her request in writing without using the form provided, as long as the communication contains all of the required information. The request shall include the following information:

(1) The name and registered address of the voter;

(2) A daytime telephone number;

(3) An indication of whether this request is for the entire calendar year or only for the next upcoming election;

(4) The voter’s political party affiliation, if the request for a special ballot is also for primaries;

(5) Indicate the special ballot format.

(d) All requests received by local boards must be processed and forwarded to the office of the secretary of state within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt. The secretary of state shall maintain a list of all persons requesting special Braille or tactile mail ballots and must forward a copy of the list to the state board of elections at least eighteen (18) days before the date of any election.

(e) The state board may adopt rules and regulations for the procedure for the manual reproduction of voted ballots, when necessary, and the tabulation of Braille and tactile mail ballots.

(f) The office of the secretary of state shall be responsible for the preparation and distribution of special Braille and tactile mail ballots. Whenever possible, the secretary of state shall prepare the Braille or tactile mail ballot so that the voted ballot can be read by the tabulation equipment, rather than being manually reproduced by election officials onto a machine readable ballot.

(g) The office of the secretary of state may adopt rules and regulations setting forth the procedure for the preparations and distribution of the Braille and tactile mail ballots.

(h) The office of the secretary of state shall prepare and publish a guide describing the types of ballots available and the manner in which each ballot can be voted. This guide shall be revised whenever the types of ballots available are updated. This guide shall be available in print, Braille, audio, or other accessible formats.

(i) The office of the secretary of state shall establish a special Braille and tactile ballot program for voters who are blind or visually impaired. The office of the secretary of state shall expand the special ballot service to other voters with disabilities, as feasible, as determined by the secretary of state, and incorporate other accessible formats as technology and resources allow.

(j) In accordance with the Help America Vote Act of 2003, the voting system at each polling place shall be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation as for other voters.
§ 17-19-8.2. State-of-the-art voting technology.

The office of the secretary of state when implementing the provisions of § 17-19-3 shall specify to the extent reasonably available state-of-the-art voting equipment that can accommodate voters who are blind, visually impaired, or are otherwise disabled, in order to afford all voters, regardless of abilities, an opportunity to cast their ballot privately and independently.
§ 17-19-9. Party emblems.

The emblem of the democratic party shall be the representation of a star. The emblem of the republican party shall be the representation of an eagle. The emblem of any political organization qualifying as a “political party”, as defined in this title, shall be selected by the state chairperson of the party; provided, that the emblem shall be entirely different for each political party and may be any appropriate symbol, but neither the coat of arms, or seal of any state or of the United States, the national or state flag, any religious emblem or symbol, the seal of any society, the portrait or likeness of any person, or the representation of a coin or of the currency of the United States, shall be chosen as an emblem. Whenever any emblem has been selected and used upon official ballots for any political party, it shall not thereafter be used for any other political party.
§ 17-19-9.1. Ballot arrangement – Independent candidates.

In all state elections at which candidates for public office are to be elected, some of whom are candidates of a political party and some of whom are independent candidates as defined in § 17-1-2(4), all independent candidates for the same public office shall be listed on the ballot, in the vertical column below the title of the office they seek, following the listing of the political party candidates for the office and in an order chosen by lottery; provided, that any independent candidate shall be entitled to have appear on the ballot, in small print to the right his or her name, the name of any political principle, movement, or organization with which the candidate wishes to be identified. The name of the political principle, movement, or organization must be identified on the declaration of candidacy, must contain not more than three (3) words, and must not include, in whole or in part, the name of any political party. If any declaration of candidacy does not contain the name of any political principle, movement, or organization, the word “independent” will appear in small print to the right the name of the candidate on the ballot. Except as provided in this section, the powers and duties of the secretary of state with respect to the preparation of the ballots shall not be affected.
§ 17-19-10. Sample ballots – Contents – Distribution.

The secretary of state shall prepare a sample ballot that shall be a copy of the computer ballot to be used. The sample ballot shall clearly and briefly explain and illustrate the manner of casting a vote, of voting for candidates individually, and of voting upon questions. The secretary of state shall furnish a reasonable supply of sample ballots to the state board of elections, for public distribution upon request, and no fewer than three (3) of the sample ballots shall be furnished for each voting place.
§ 17-19-10.1. Training and community outreach.

In furtherance of the termination of the option of straight-party voting by means of a single mark in non-primary elections, the secretary of state shall, no later than thirty (30) days after the effective date of this section, conduct appropriate training and consultations with the state board of elections and local boards of canvassers as he or she may deem necessary in order for the proper administration of voting in the absence of the option of straight-party voting by means of a single mark. The secretary of state shall also conduct community outreach programs throughout the state, including, without limitation, the distribution of applicable materials to state and local libraries, in order to educate the public, including the elderly, with respect to the foregoing.
§ 17-19-11. Election return forms – Contents.

(a) The state board shall prepare and furnish, for each voting place at which machines are to be used, suitable forms on which the following information may be recorded for each machine in use:

(1) The optical scan precinct count unit number;

(2) The numbers of any serial seal or seals;

(3) The voting place at which the optical scan precinct count unit is used;

(4) The date of the election or primary at which the optical scan precinct count unit is used;

(5) The number of names checked upon the voting list used at the election; and

(6) The number of voters registered by the optical scan precinct count unit.

(b) Space shall be left on the form in which the number of votes given for any person not a candidate at the election, and for what office, may be recorded. Spaces shall also be left for the signatures of the election inspector, the warden, clerk, and at least two (2) supervisors. The state board shall also furnish the necessary envelopes and adhesive labels required to be used in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(c) Tapes printed from the optical scan precinct count unit indicating the number of votes registered by the unit for each candidate, and for what office, shall be attached to the election return form; tapes printed from the optical scan precinct count unit indicating the number of votes registered by the unit for and against each submitted question shall be attached to the election return form.
§ 17-19-12. Delivery of election supplies.

All printed matter, stationery, and supplies required to be furnished by this chapter shall be delivered to or picked up by the proper officer as determined by the state board not later than 12:00 p.m. the day before the election for which they are to be used. Computer ballots to be used at each polling place, ballot transfer cases, marking pens, secrecy sleeves, and any other items related to the voting equipment shall be packaged by the state board and shall be delivered to or picked up by the proper officer as determined by the state board.
§ 17-19-13. Exhibition of machines for instructional purposes.

The local board may designate suitable and adequate times and places where optical scan voting equipment and sample ballots showing titles of offices to be filled and, so far as practicable, the names of candidates to be voted for at the next election shall be exhibited for the purpose of giving instructions as to the manner of casting a vote to all voters who apply. No optical scan precinct count unit that is to be used in an election shall be used for the instruction after it has been prepared and sealed for the election.
§ 17-19-14. Preparation of voting equipment for election – Testing.

(a) Prior to any election at which optical scan precinct count units are to be used, the secretary of state shall prepare the layout and format of the computer ballot in conjunction with the voting equipment vendor under contract with the state. The secretary of state shall be responsible for the coding and layout of all computer ballots to be used in each election under contract, including the printing of the ballot and the preparation of the device to ensure that the ballots are compatible with the device, and shall transfer all information relative to the ballot and its preparation to the state board.

(b) Subsequently, the state board, in conjunction with the voter equipment vendor under contract with the state, shall be responsible for the testing of the programmed memory cartridge, the testing of each unit for logic and accuracy, and the set up of each optical scan precinct unit at each polling place. The state board of elections shall determine, and document on the forms provided for that purpose, the fact that the programmed memory cartridges for the optical scan precinct count units are in good working order, that the daily counter is at zero, and all of the candidates’ counters are set at zero and record no vote for any candidate.

(c) The state board of elections, in conjunction with the voting equipment vendor under contract with the state, shall publicly conduct these tests on each programmed cartridge for each optical scan precinct count unit to be used for the election. This testing shall be made as near to the time of the election as is feasible.
§ 17-19-15. Repealed.
§ 17-19-16. State election inspectors – Appointment – Duties – Training – Compensation.

The state board may appoint and issue commissions to qualified electors of this state to be election inspectors assigned to some or all election polling places. On the day before any election, the state board may assign an election inspector to one or more polling place as the state board may determine. Each election inspector shall receive a sum, not exceeding sixty dollars ($60.00), to be fixed by the state board for each election at which the inspector serves. Each election inspector shall hold office at the pleasure of the state board, and shall observe the conduct of the elections at which the inspector is assigned to serve, and immediately report to the state board any irregularities the inspector may observe. The state inspectors shall also perform any other and further duties that may be assigned to the inspectors by the state board, and may be required to attend a training session conducted by the state board, for attendance at which the inspector shall be entitled to receive an additional twenty-five dollars ($25.00); provided, that the inspector is assigned to the performance of duties on election day and actually performs those duties.
§ 17-19-17. Custody of optical scan precinct count units and voting booths – Duties of local boards – Posting of sample ballots.

Each local board shall be responsible for safeguarding the optical scan precinct count units and voting booths delivered to it, and shall properly and safely locate the optical scan precinct count units in the polling places where they are to be used. The local board shall also be responsible for the storage of all voting booths assigned to them, and shall cause the voting booths to be delivered and picked up at the polling places in which they are to be used. The local board shall cause the keys of the voting equipment to be delivered to the warden of the elective meeting at which optical scan precinct count units are to be used at least half an hour before the opening of the polls. The key or keys of each optical scan precinct count unit shall be placed in a sealed envelope upon which shall be written or printed the number and location of the optical scan precinct count unit, and any other information or certification required pursuant to regulations promulgated by the state board of elections. The envelope shall be opened by the warden in the presence of the other election officers. The custody of the voting equipment shall remain with the local board up to the time of the delivery of the keys to the warden, and the local board shall be held fully responsible for any damage or injury to any voting equipment while it is in its custody, and for the failure to have voting equipment ready for use at the time of the opening of the polls. The local board shall cause the sample ballots to be posted in a conspicuous place in each polling place, outside the guard rail.
§ 17-19-18. Examination of voting equipment prior to opening of polls.

The warden shall, in company with the clerk and supervisors, before the opening of the polls, unlock each compartment of the optical scan precinct count unit to assure that no computer ballots are contained in any compartment. The warden shall also examine the computer ballot and compare it with the sample ballot. The warden shall determine, as far as he or she may do so without operating the optical scan precinct count unit, that the unit is in good order and ready for the use of the voters. He or she shall then close and lock each compartment of the optical scan precinct count unit. The warden shall open the polling place by following the instructions provided with the optical scan precinct count unit and carefully examine each vote total on the printed tape obtained from the optical scan precinct count unit and determine that no vote is registered on the tape for any candidate or question. The warden shall then declare the polls open.
§ 17-19-19. Custody of machines during voting.

During the time that the polls are open, and until the optical scan precinct count unit and voted computer ballots are finally locked and sealed and the removable keys thereof sealed up for transmission to the state board as provided in this chapter, the optical scan precinct count units, memory cartridges, and voted computer ballots shall remain in the care and custody of the warden, who shall see that the voting equipment is not defaced or injured by any voter or any other person. During the entire time in which the polls are open for voting, the ballot compartments shall be kept closed and locked; provided, that the emergency bin compartment slot shall be opened as provided in § 17-19-20. The vote totals are not to be printed under any circumstances during the time the polls are open for voting.
§ 17-19-20. Repair or replacement of defective machines.

If an optical scan precinct count unit becomes out of order, the warden shall notify the voting equipment technician assigned to respond to those calls. While repairing or otherwise attending to the repair of any voting machine equipment, the voting equipment technician shall display, in a visible manner and on his or her clothing, an identification furnished by the state board of elections, and which shall include, whenever possible, a photograph of the voting equipment technician. In the event that repairs are made to the voting equipment, the voting equipment technician shall make the repairs in the presence of a bi-partisan pair of election officials, and the technician shall note on the official document provided the nature and extent of the repairs made by the technician, the number of the optical scan precinct count unit, the time required to make the repairs, and the probable cause of the failure to operate properly. If any optical scan precinct count unit cannot be repaired by the technician within a period of thirty (30) minutes, the technician and the board shall at once substitute another optical scan precinct count unit for the out of order unit, and at the close of the polls the records of both units shall be taken. During the time in which the optical scan precinct count unit is not accepting ballots, the warden shall, in the presence of the clerk, unlock the emergency bin compartment of the optical scan unit and shall direct voters to place their voted ballots into that compartment. Upon the repair of the unit, the warden, in the presence of the clerk, shall remove the ballots, deposit them in the appropriate ballot slot for counting by the unit, and shall then close and lock the emergency compartment slot.
§ 17-19-21. Arrangement of polling places – Election officials – Police officers.

(a) The polling places shall be established, equipped, and furnished with the paraphernalia necessary for the conduct of each election, by the officers and in the manner provided by this title. There shall be placed, outside each polling place, a clearly marked sign to be provided by the state board of elections indicating the location of the polling place. This sign shall be of a conspicuous nature and shall be visible from the street. The area within which the balloting is conducted shall be arranged with a guard rail having one place for entrance and another place for exit. The rail shall be placed so that only persons admitted inside the rail can approach within five (5) feet of any voting booth or optical-scan precinct-count unit. The voting booths and optical-scan precinct-count unit shall be placed so that the warden and the clerk shall always have a clear view of the front of each voting booth and the optical-scan unit. It shall be the duty of the warden to direct the location of the voting equipment in relation to the guard rail and the posts of the warden and the clerk so as to enforce the requirements of this section.

(b) One bipartisan pair of supervisors, the clerk, and the warden shall be stationed, in that order, along the guard rail so that a voter desiring to cast a ballot will pass first in front of the bipartisan pair, then in front of the clerk, and finally in front of the warden. A second bipartisan pair shall be stationed within the guard rail and shall be available to relieve the first bipartisan pair or the clerk and to assist voters within the limits prescribed by this title. The second bipartisan pair, when not engaged in the preceding duties, shall watch the voters in and about the voting equipment and shall call to the attention of the warden any violation, or circumstance suggesting a violation, of the provisions of this title.

(c) The chiefs of police of cities and towns, and town sergeants of towns having no chief of police, shall detail a certain number of police officers to each polling place as may be requested by the local board. The police officers shall preserve order at each polling place and within two hundred (200) feet of the polling place. It shall be the duty of every police officer or other peace officer or town or police constable to arrest without warrant any person detected in the act of violating the provisions of this chapter, but no arrest shall be made without the approval of the warden.

(d) The election officials provided in subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall be provided with, and shall be required to prominently display upon their persons, identification badges that shall designate that person as an election official. Powers and duties of all designated election officials at polls shall be posted in a conspicuous and prominent location within the voting place, preferably with the posted sample ballot.
§ 17-19-21.1. Polling place bake sales.

Bake sales may be held at polling places as long as conduct does not interfere with the orderly conduct of the scheduled election.
§ 17-19-22. Party checkers, runners, and watchers.

The officers required to furnish and equip any voting place shall also provide a table in the room where the voting is conducted, outside the enclosed space near the first bipartisan pair of supervisors, at which a representative of each recognized political party bearing credentials signed by the proper ward or town committee chairperson, shall be allowed to sit for the purpose of keeping track of those who are voting, and these representatives, who shall be known as “checkers,” may be changed during the day. A representative, known as a “runner,” of each of the parties shall be allowed to come to the table at frequent intervals for the purpose of taking whatever list or memoranda the checkers may wish to give the runner. A representative of each recognized political party bearing credentials signed by the proper ward or town committee chairperson, shall also be allowed outside the enclosed place to observe the voting and assist the checkers, and these representatives shall be known as “watchers.” The watchers and any election official shall have the right to challenge the right to vote of any person offering himself or herself as a voter.
§ 17-19-22.1. Bilingual poll workers.

Any board which determines that it requires ballots printed in a language other than English, pursuant to the provisions of § 17-19-54(a), shall provide at each polling place at least one individual who is fluent in the language for each language for which those ballots were sought. Such person or persons shall be available to assist voters in casting their ballots, upon request by the individual or at the direction of the warden, during all hours of poll operations. In addition, such person or persons shall otherwise comply with the provisions of § 17-19-26.1.
§ 17-19-23. Wardens and supervisors – Powers and duties.

The wardens shall:

(1) Have general supervision of the voting place;

(2) [Deleted by P.L. 2016, ch. 341, § 1 and P.L. 2016, ch. 364, § 1].

(3) Assign and reassign and relieve the bipartisan pairs of supervisors, as the efficient conduct of the election may require;

(4) Access the voting list and set it before the bipartisan pairs, if it has not been divided in sections, or set each section before a bipartisan pair where it has been divided in sections, immediately preceding the opening of the polls;

(5) [Deleted by P.L. 2016, ch. 341, § 1 and P.L. 2016, ch. 364, § 1].

(6) Be vigilant and responsible to prevent any voter from voting more than once;

(7) Cause to be established a single line of persons desiring to vote and enlist the assistance of the supervisors and the police in attendance to maintain that line;

(8) As far as consistent with their other duties, station themselves at the entrance to the polling area and prevent any person from entering the designated voting area, except under the authority of this chapter, and prevent any person from entering that area for the purpose of voting until that person’s name has been announced and that person’s identity certified according to law by the supervisors in charge of the voting list, and shall prevent any voter from departing the enclosed space while in possession of his or her computer ballot. A notice shall be provided by the state board and posted in a conspicuous place advising that it is a felony for a voter to leave the enclosed area while in possession of his or her ballot. The voter has the option of casting his or her ballot or surrendering the ballot to the warden whereby it will be marked void;

(9) Cause to be removed or arrested any person or official who commits a violation of the election law in their presence or disturbs the conduct of the voting; provided, that they shall not cause any removal or arrest without the approval of the election inspector, unless the clerk agrees with the wardens that the person or official should be arrested or removed;

(10) Have the power to administer oaths as required by this title, and to attest the oaths by signature in proof of the administration of the oaths.
§ 17-19-23.1. Certification and appointment of election officials.

(a) All persons who attend and complete a program of instruction for election officials under § 17-7-5(a)(6) shall be issued a certificate by the board of elections. In addition to the compensation to which they are otherwise entitled, these persons shall also be entitled to receive the sum of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) upon the performance of their duties on election day. The certificate shall be valid for a period of one year; provided, that the certificate shall be revocable at the discretion of the board of elections if the board believes that new developments have occurred requiring the re-certification of these persons.

(b) Election officials shall, whenever practicable, be appointed from lists of certificated persons.

(c) The board of elections shall have the authority to adopt rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this section.
§ 17-19-23.2. Compensation of election officials.

Cities and towns are authorized to compensate moderators, clerks, inspectors, supervisors and any other election official at a daily rate in excess of any statutory allowable amount. Any excess shall be the responsibility of the authorizing city or town.
§ 17-19-23.3. Repealed.
§ 17-19-24. Procedure for voting.

(a) Each person desiring to vote shall provide proof of identification as required by § 17-19-24.2 and state his or her name and residence, including that person’s street address, if he or she has any, to the pair of bi-partisan supervisors, who shall then announce the name and residence in a loud and distinct voice, clear and audible.

(b) A bipartisan pair shall locate the voter’s name on the certified voting list for the voting district. Upon finding the voter’s name on the certified voting list for the district, the voter shall sign their name on the line next to their printed name on the certified voter list, and the bipartisan pair shall initial the certified voter list in the place provided next to the voter’s signature entered on the certified list of voters. The bipartisan pair shall also make a proper notation on the certified voter list that the applicant has voted in the election. If the bipartisan pair cannot locate the voter’s name on the certified voting list for the voting district the bipartisan pair shall direct the voter to the clerk who shall review the certified list for the city or town and determine if the voter is registered to vote and in which voting district they are eligible to vote. The bipartisan pair of supervisors shall provide the voter with the appropriate computer ballot and security sleeve. The warden shall direct the voter to the voting booth which the voter shall use, and unless the voter needs instruction or assistance as provided in this chapter, the voter shall cast his or her vote, and if he or she desires place the voted computer ballot in a security sleeve, and shall proceed to the optical scan precinct count unit and shall personally place his or her voted ballot into the designated ballot slot on the unit, and after doing so, shall leave the enclosure at once. No voter shall remain within the voting booth longer than ten (10) minutes, and if the voter refuses to leave after the lapse of ten (10) minutes, the voter shall be removed from the voting booth by order of the warden. Except for the election officials and the election inspector, not more than two (2) voters in excess of the number of voting booths shall be permitted within the enclosed space at any time.

(c) The optical scan precinct count unit shall be programmed to return a ballot to the voter if the voter has cast votes for more persons than which he or she is entitled to cast. The warden, by reading the message given on the optical scan precinct count unit, must advise the voter of the fact that the ballot has been over-voted. The voter will be instructed by the warden to remove his or her own ballot from the optical scan precinct count unit ballot slot. The warden will then ask the voter to surrender the ballot as void and receive a new ballot. If the voter agrees, the voter will make additional marks on the ballot so as not to identify the actual votes intended by the voter for the ballot. The ballot will be marked void by the warden and deposited in the receptacle for void ballots provided at the polling place. If the voter insists on casting the over-voted ballot, he or she will be advised that all races, other than the over-voted race, will be counted by the optical scan precinct count unit, and if he or she still insists, the warden will manually override the appropriate control on the unit and allow for the ballot to be entered and counted for all races other than the over-voted race.

(d) In the event a voter incorrectly marks a ballot by indicating his or her choices other than in the spaces provided for them, the ballot will be returned to the voter. The warden, by reading the message given on the optical scan precinct count unit, must advise the voter of the fact that the ballot has been marked incorrectly. The voter will be instructed by the warden to remove his or her own ballot from the optical scan precinct unit ballot slot. The warden will then advise the voter to surrender the ballot as void and receive a new ballot. If the voter agrees, the voter will make additional marks on the ballot so as not to identify the actual votes intended by the voter for the ballot. The ballot will be marked void by the warden and deposited in the receptacle for void ballots provided at the polling place. The warden will then provide for the instruction of the voter on the correct manner of marking his or her vote and the voter will be issued a new ballot. If the voter insists on casting the incorrectly marked ballot, the warden will manually override the appropriate control on the optical scan precinct count unit and allow for the ballot to be accepted.
§ 17-19-24.1. Provisional voting under the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

(a) If an individual’s name does not appear on the certified voting list as provided for in § 17-19-24(b) and the individual is eligible to vote in an election for federal office or an election official asserts that the individual is not eligible to vote in the district in which the individual desires to vote, then the individual shall be permitted to cast a provisional ballot as provided in Section 302 of the Help America Vote Act (P.L. 107-252) [42 U.S.C. § 15481].

(b) Provisional ballots provided for in this section shall be cast in accordance with rules and regulations which shall be promulgated by the state board of elections in accordance with the Help America Vote Act (P.L. 107-252) [42 U.S.C. § 15301 et seq.].
§ 17-19-24.2. Voter identification.

(a) Beginning on January 1, 2012, any person claiming to be a registered and eligible voter who desires to vote at a primary election, special election or general election shall provide proof of identity. For purposes of this section, proof of identity shall include:

(1) A valid and current document showing a photograph of the person to whom the document was issued, including without limitation:

(i) Rhode Island driver’s license;

(ii) Rhode Island voter identification card;

(iii) United States passport;

(iv) Identification card issued by a United States educational institution;

(v) United States military identification card;

(vi) Identification card issued by the United States or the State of Rhode Island;

(vii) Government issued medical card.

(2) A valid and current document without a photograph of the person to whom the document was issued, including without limitation:

(i) Birth certificate;

(ii) Social security card;

(iii) Government issued medical card.

(b) From and after January 1, 2014, any person claiming to be a registered and eligible voter who desires to vote at a primary election, special election or general election shall provide proof of identity listed in subdivisions (a)(1).

(c) No later than January 1, 2012, Rhode Island voter identification cards will be issued upon request, and at no expense to the voters, at locations and in accordance with procedures established by rules and regulations promulgated by the secretary of state. The purpose of this section is to provide voter identification cards to those voters who do not possess the identification listed in subdivision (a)(1).

(d) If the person claiming to be a registered and eligible voter is unable to provide proof of identity as required in subdivisions (1) and (2) above, the person claiming to be a registered voter shall be allowed to vote a provisional ballot pursuant to § 17-19-24.2 upon completing a provisional ballot voter’s certificate and affirmation. The local board shall determine the validity of the provisional ballot pursuant to § 17-19-24.3.
§ 17-19-24.3. Provisional ballot procedures.

(a) At all elections, a person claiming to be a registered and eligible voter, but who has failed to provide proof of identity pursuant to § 17-19-24.2 shall be allowed to vote a provisional ballot upon executing a provisional ballot voter’s application. All provisional ballots, together with a provisional ballot voter’s application, shall be placed in an envelope in the form prescribed by the state board and deposited in a ballot box.

(b) The local board shall examine each provisional ballot application to determine if the signature matches the signature on the voter’s registration. If the local board determines that the signatures match, the provisional ballot shall count. If the local board determines that the signatures do not match, the provisional ballot shall not count and the ballot shall remain in the envelope containing the provisional ballot application and the envelope shall be marked “Rejected as Illegal”.
§ 17-19-25. Certified voting list – Duty of bipartisan supervisor.

Immediately upon the close of the polls, the bipartisan pair of supervisors shall securely bind, tie, or seal the certified voting list in the manner that shall be required by the state board, and the supervisors shall affix thereon their certificate under oath that the marks within the certified voting list next to each voter’s name comprise one for each person who was permitted to pass before the warden and to cast a vote at the election, and that to the best of his or her knowledge and belief no person voted at the election who did not sign the certified voter list, and that each of the persons was identified in the manner provided by law before being permitted to vote. The bipartisan pair of supervisors shall then give the certified voter list to the warden, who shall deliver the list to the local board together with the affidavits and materials used at the election.
§ 17-19-26. Models for instruction – Assistance to voters in marking their ballot.

Any person desiring information or assistance in voting on election day shall apply to the warden, who shall instruct the person by the use of the sample ballots. If a voter needs assistance in casting his or her vote itself, and requests this assistance, the warden shall direct the second or additional bipartisan pair to instruct or assist the voter. The bipartisan pair shall enter the voting booth with the voter and instruct the voter in the marking of his or her ballot, and if the voter has no further need of them, they shall both withdraw before the voter casts his or her vote. If, the voter is unable to mark his or her ballot, the bipartisan pair shall mark the ballot for the voter as he or she directs, but unless ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction, neither member of the pair shall disclose for whom and how the voter voted. In every case of this nature, both members of the bipartisan pair shall enter and leave the voting booth together, and it shall be a violation of this chapter for either to enter or remain alone.
§ 17-19-26.1. Voting assistance.

(a) Any voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter’s choice, other than the voter’s employer or agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter’s union.

(b) Every voter who requires assistance pursuant to this section, and every person furnishing assistance to a voter pursuant to this section, shall make and file with the warden an affidavit in substantially the following form:

AFFIDAVIT OF VOTER REQUIRING ASSISTANCE
Under the penalty prescribed by law I hereby make affidavit that

I, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Print Name of Voter Street Address of Voter

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , hereby choose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

City/Town of Voter Print Name of Assistant

to provide assistance to me because I am either blind, disabled or unable to read or write in the English language and do hereby certify that the person chosen to assist me is not my employer, or agent of my employer, or officer or agent of my union.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Signature of Voter

Under the penalty prescribed by law I hereby make affidavit that

I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , of

Print Name of Person Assisting Voter

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Street and City/Town Address of Person Assisting Voter

having been chosen by . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Print Name of Voter

to provide assistance to voter by reason of either blindness, disability or inability to read or write in the English language on the part of the voter, do hereby certify that I am not the voter’s employer, or agent of that employer, or officer or agent of the voter’s union.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Signature of Person Assisting Voter

Subscribed and sworn to on this . . . . . . . . . . day of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 20 . . . . . ..

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Signature of Warden

Voter’s Ballot Application No. . . . . . . . . . .

(c) An affidavit will be made available only upon request by the voter to the warden in the polling place.

(d) Every person who makes a false affidavit under this section shall be guilty of a felony.

(e) Under the penalty prescribed by law, the “assistant” is prohibited from marking a vote on the computer ballot, unless otherwise requested by the voter who, due to a physical disability, is unable to mark his or her ballot.

(f) No person may approach a voter and ask if he or she needs assistance, once the voter is within the voting place or waiting in line to vote or within fifty (50) feet of the entrance or entrances to the building as prescribed in § 17-19-49.
§ 17-19-27. Challenge of identity as to right to vote.

Whenever the identity of any person offering to vote is challenged at the polling place, that person shall be permitted to vote only using a provisional ballot as defined in § 17-19-24.1.
§ 17-19-28. Repealed.
§ 17-19-29. Repealed.
§ 17-19-30. Voters who register by making a mark rather than signature.

Any voter who has registered by making his or her mark rather than his or her signature, or who shall be physically unable to sign his or her name at the time of offering himself or herself to vote, shall identify himself or herself by correctly answering any questions put to him or her by the supervisors that may test the voter’s knowledge of the information recorded on the voter’s registration card. In that case, the bipartisan pair of supervisors shall complete a ballot application for the voter and shall make and annex to this ballot application an affidavit that they identified the voter in the manner authorized by this section. They shall permit the voter to affix the voter’s mark to the application in their presence and shall record their approval on the application as in other cases.
§ 17-19-31. Irregular ballots.

Ballots voted for any person whose name does not appear on the ballot as a nominated candidate for office are referred to in this section as “irregular ballots”. In voting for presidential electors, a voter may vote an irregular ticket made up of the names of persons in nomination by different parties; or partly of names of persons in nomination and partly of names of persons not in nomination; or wholly of names of persons not in nomination by any party. Scanned images of the computer ballot containing the irregular ballot shall be stored digitally on physical electronic media in the optical-scan precinct-count unit. With that exception, no irregular ballot shall be voted for any person for any office whose name appears on the ballot as a nominated candidate for that office; any irregular ballot so voted shall not be counted. An irregular ballot must be cast in its appropriate place on the ballot, or it shall be void and not counted and no irregular ballots shall be counted at primaries; provided, that at any presidential primary, irregular ballots shall be counted for those persons whose names have been written in for the office of president. At the close of the polls, irregular ballots shall be packaged according to § 17-19-33 and shall be immediately delivered to the local board of canvassers. The local board shall receive the tape from the optical precinct-count unit containing printed images of each written name on the irregular ballots, or the physical electronic media containing images of the irregular ballots and record all write-in votes cast for all federal, state, and local races listed on the tape. The local board shall notify the state board of the results through a procedure promulgated by the state board.
§ 17-19-32. Recording and signing of returns.

Immediately upon the close of the polls the warden shall, in the presence of the other election or primary election officers and the election inspector, follow the procedure for the closing of the unit set forth by the vendor of the optical scan precinct count unit. The warden and clerk shall sign the first copy of the tape containing the votes cast and shall remove the tape from the optical scan precinct count unit. The warden shall then obtain three (3) additional copies of the tape containing the vote totals from the optical scan precinct count unit, and the warden shall proceed to read off in a clear and loud voice the vote for each candidate, and upon each question as indicated by the vote totals on the printed tape and the number of votes cast for persons not nominated.
§ 17-19-33. Sealing of voting equipment – Sealing and forwarding of results, programmed memory devices and keys.

(a) The copies of the printout tape from the optical-scan precinct-count unit obtained pursuant to § 17-19-32 shall be distributed as follows:

(1) The first copy, which includes the opening of the polling place information, signatures of the warden and clerk, a timed audit trail of certain events occurring with respect to the optical-scan precinct-count system, and the vote totals for each candidate, shall be attached to the return sheet as provided in § 17-19-11 and immediately delivered to the local board of canvassers where it is processed and delivered to the state board of elections through a procedure promulgated by the state board;

(2) A copy shall be made available to the public at the polling place;

(3) A copy shall be immediately delivered to the local board of canvassers attached to the return sheet as provided in § 17-19-11, together with the polling place supplies, including the key to the optical-scan precinct-count unit and other voting equipment and containers; and

(4) A copy shall be included with the voted ballots and packaged pursuant to this chapter.

(5) The certified paper or electronic voter list containing voters’ signatures shall be secured separately and returned to the local board of canvassers.

(6) All completed official affidavits, forms, reports, and supplies shall be packaged and delivered to the local board for subsequent delivery to the state board.

(b) The warden shall:

(1) Remove all voted ballots from the compartment of the optical-scan precinct-count unit and package them in the container provided and labeled as voted ballots and stored pursuant to § 17-19-39.1;

(2) [Deleted by P.L. 2016, ch. 174, § 1 and P.L. 2016, ch. 190, § 1].

(3) Package all ballots from the emergency bin that have not been counted in the container provided and labeled as manual-count ballots and deliver to the local canvassing authority. Any ballots packaged and labeled as manual-count ballots shall remain sealed and delivered to the state board through a procedure promulgated by the state board.

(c) All ballots so packaged shall be immediately delivered to the local canvassing authority.

(d) [Deleted by P.L. 2016, ch. 174, § 1 and P.L. 2016, ch. 190, § 1].
§ 17-19-34. Declaration of results and certificates of election in towns not divided into districts.

When optical scan precinct count units are used in town elections in towns not divided into voting districts, the warden, after announcing the votes registered by the optical scan precinct count units for the candidates for town offices, and upon questions submitted to the voters of the town, and signing the record of the votes in the record book, shall declare the result of the town election, and certificates shall be issued to the officers declared elected.
§ 17-19-35. Guarding optical scan precinct count units until resumption of custody by board.

Under orders of the local board, a police officer shall remain at the voting place until the board, personally or by a custodian, resumes custody of the optical scan precinct count units and voting booths.
§ 17-19-36. Tabulation of town returns – Certificate of election.

The local board shall meet on the day following the election and shall tabulate the town or city election returns, as the case may be, and announce the results, but shall issue no certificates of election until the time for petitions filed under this section has expired and, if a petition has been filed, until the petition has been finally determined. Any candidate at the election challenging the correctness of the declaration of result as applied to the candidate may, within seven (7) days after the election, petition the state board to conduct a recount of the votes cast according to the provisions set forth in § 17-19-37.1. After the completion of the recount, and if it finds that the candidate was elected, it shall direct the local board to issue to the candidate a certificate of election, but if it finds that the candidate declared to be elected by the local board was in fact elected, it shall direct the board to issue a certificate of election to the candidate previously declared elected.
§ 17-19-37. Tabulation of state returns – Certificate of election.

The state board shall proceed to tabulate the state election returns and declare the results as provided in chapter 22 of this title, and any candidate at the election challenging the result as applied to him or her may petition the board within seven (7) days after the declaration to conduct a recount of the votes cast in the candidate’s election according to the provisions set forth in § 17-19-37.1. After the completion of the recount, and as soon as it can do so consistent with its other duties, the state board shall issue a certificate of election to the state and federal candidate it determines to have been elected.
§ 17-19-37.1. Recount eligibility – Candidates for public office.

A candidate for election or nomination for election to public office shall be eligible to request a recount of the votes cast in his or her race pursuant to the following:

(1) In those races in which a single candidate is elected a candidate who trails the winning candidate may request a recount of the votes cast at each precinct by a manual re-feeding of the computer ballots cast in said race into the optical scan voting equipment provided that the candidate shall trail the winning candidate by less than the following number of votes:

(a) In those races where the number of votes cast is less than or equal to twenty thousand (20,000) the candidate requesting the recount shall trail the winning candidate by two percent (2%) or two hundred (200) votes, whichever is less; in those races where the number of votes cast is between twenty thousand one (20,001) and one hundred thousand (100,000) the candidate requesting the recount shall trail the winning candidate by one percent (1%) or five hundred (500) votes, whichever is less; and, in those races where more than one hundred thousand (100,000) votes are cast the candidate requesting the recount shall trail the winning candidate by one-half of one percent ( 1 / 2% ) or one thousand five hundred (1,500) votes, whichever is less.

(b) For the purpose of determining recount eligibility, as prescribed in subsections (1)(a) and (3) of this section, the number of votes cast in a race shall include the votes cast for candidates and irregular ballots cast pursuant to § 17-19-31.

(2) In those races in which more than one candidate is elected a candidate who trails the winning candidate may request a recount of the votes cast at each precinct by a manual re-feeding of the computer ballots cast in said race into the optical scan voting equipment provided that the candidate shall trail the winning candidate by less than the following number of votes:

(a) In those races where the number of votes cast is less than or equal to five thousand (5,000) the candidate requesting the recount shall trail the winning candidate by two percent (2%) or fifty (50) votes, whichever is less; in those races where the number of votes cast is between five thousand one (5,001) and twenty thousand (20,000) the candidate requesting the recount shall trail the winning candidate by one percent (1%) or one hundred (100) votes, whichever is less; and in those races where more than twenty thousand (20,000) votes are cast the candidate requesting the recount shall trail the winning candidate by one-half of one percent ( 1 / 2% ) or one hundred fifty (150) votes, whichever is less.

(b) For the purpose of determining recount eligibility, as prescribed in subsections (2)(a) and (3) of this section, the total number of votes cast in a race shall be determined by dividing the total number of votes eligible to be cast in the race by the number of candidates for whom each voter was eligible to cast votes.

(3) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsections (1)(a) and (2)(a) of this section, a candidate who trails the winning candidate by five percent (5%) or less, but more than the minimum percentage or number of votes as required in subsections (1)(a) or (2)(a) of this section, as applicable, may petition the state board to conduct a recount of the votes cast at each precinct by re-reading the programmed memory device or devices and comparing the results and totals obtained at such recount with the results and totals obtained on election night. If, after said recount, a candidate shall trail the winning candidate by less than the number of votes prescribed in subsection (1)(a) or (2)(a) of this section, as the case may be, the candidate may request a recount of the votes cast at each precinct to subsection (1)(a) or (2)(a) of this section, as is applicable.

The state board shall have the authority to adopt rules and regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this section.
§ 17-19-37.2. Recount eligibility – Write-in candidates for public office.

(1) A write-in candidate for election to public office shall be eligible to request a recount of the votes cast in a race:

(a) If, following the initial manual count of all irregular ballots, the write-in candidate shall have received a minimum of ten (10) votes or one percent (1%) of the votes cast in the race, whichever is greater; provided, however, that if no candidates appear on the ballot in said race and only write-in candidates receive votes, a write-in candidate shall be required to receive at least ten (10) votes in the race; and

(b) The write-in candidate shall trail the winning candidate by less than the number of votes as may be required to qualify for a recount pursuant to subsection (1) or (2) of § 17-19-37.1, as is applicable.

(2) A write-in candidate for public office who is eligible to request a recount pursuant to subsection (1) of this section may request a recount of the irregular ballots cast at each precinct by a manual recounting of said ballots. In addition, the state board may, upon its own motion, determine to manually re-feed the computer ballots cast at each precinct in the race into the optical scan voting equipment.

The state board shall have the authority to adopt rules and regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this section.
§ 17-19-37.3. Recount eligibility – Ballot questions and other offices.

(1) A person, group or organization of “recognized standing” regarding a ballot question, as determined by the board of elections, may request a recount of the votes cast on the ballot question pursuant to the following:

(a) The person, group or organization may request a recount of the votes cast at each precinct by re-reading the programmed memory device or devices and comparing the results and totals obtained at such recount with the results and totals obtained on election night, provided that for those ballot questions where less than one hundred thousand (100,000) votes are cast the difference between the approval or rejection of the question shall be by two percent (2%) or less; and, for those ballot questions where one hundred thousand (100,000) or more votes are cast the difference between the approval or rejection of the question shall be by one percent (1%) or less. If, after said recount, the difference between the approval or rejection of the ballot question shall be less than one-half of one percent ( 1 / 2% ) or five hundred (500) votes, whichever is less, the petitioner may request a recount pursuant to subsection (1)(b) of this section.

(b) The person, group or organization may request a recount of the votes cast at each precinct by a manual re-feeding of the computer ballots are cast into the optical scan voting equipment if the difference between the approval and rejection of the ballot question shall be by less than one-half of one percent ( 1 / 2% ) or five hundred (500) votes, whichever is less.

(c) For the purpose of determining recount eligibility for ballot questions, as prescribed in subsections (1)(a) and (b) of this section, only the total number of votes cast as “approve” and “reject” for said question shall be included.

(2) A candidate for any office other than a public office shall be eligible to request a recount of the votes cast in his or her race pursuant to the following:

(a)(i) In those races in which a single candidate is elected a candidate who trails the winning candidate by less than two percent (2%) or one hundred (100) votes, whichever is less, may request a recount of the votes cast at each precinct by re-reading the programmed memory device or devices and comparing the results and totals obtained at such recount with the results and totals obtained on election night.

(ii) For the purpose of determining recount eligibility, as prescribed in subsection (2)(a)(i) of this section, the number of votes cast in a race shall include the votes cast for candidates and irregular ballots cast pursuant to § 17-19-31.

(b) In those races in which more than one but less than eight (8) candidates are elected a candidate who trails the winning candidate by less than one percent (1%) or twenty-five (25) votes, whichever is less, may request a recount of the votes cast at each precinct by re-reading the programmed memory device or devices and comparing the results and totals obtained at such recount with the results and totals obtained on election night.

(c) In those races in which more eight (8) or more candidates are elected a candidate who trails the winning candidate by less than one-half of one percent ( 1 / 2% ) or twenty-five (25) votes, whichever is less, may request a recount of the votes cast at each precinct by re-reading the programmed memory device or devices and comparing the results and totals obtained at such recount with the results and totals obtained on election night.

(d) For the purpose of determining recount eligibility, as prescribed in subsections (2)(b) and (c) of this section, the total number of votes cast in a race shall be determined by dividing the total number of votes eligible to be cast in the race by the number of candidates for whom each voter was eligible to cast votes.

The state board shall have the authority to adopt rules and regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this section.
§ 17-19-37.4. Post-election audits.

(a) The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that auditing of election results is necessary to ensure effective election administration and public confidence in the election results. Further, risk-limiting audits provide a more effective manner of conducting audits than traditional audit methods in that risk-limiting audit methods typically require only limited resources for election contests with wide margins of victory while investing greater resources in close contests.

(b) Commencing in 2018, the board, in conjunction with local boards, is authorized to conduct risk-limiting audits after all statewide primary, general, and special elections in accordance with the requirements of this section. Commencing in 2020, the state board, in conjunction with local boards, must conduct risk-limiting audits after the presidential preference primary and general elections in accordance with the requirements in this section.

(c) The audit program shall be conducted as follows:

(1) The state board shall determine what local, statewide, and federal contests are subject to a risk-limiting audit;

(2) The state board shall provide notice pursuant to chapter 46 of title 42 of the time and place of the random selection of the audit units to be manually tallied and of the times and places of the audits;

(3) The state board shall make available to the public a report of the vote-tabulating device results for the contest, including the results for each audit unit in the contest, prior to the random selection of audit units to be manually tallied and prior to the commencement of the audit;

(4) The state board, in conjunction with the local boards, shall conduct the audit upon tabulation of the unofficial final results as provided in §§ 17-19-36 and 17-19-37; and

(5) The state board, in conjunction with the local boards, shall conduct the audit in public view by manually interpreting the ballots according to rules established by the state board in accordance with chapter 35 of title 42.

(d) If a risk-limiting audit of a contest leads to a full manual tally of the ballots cast using the voting system, the vote counts according to that manual tally shall replace the vote counts reported pursuant to §§ 17-19-36 and 17-19-37 for the purpose of determining the official contest results pursuant to §§ 17-22-5.2 and 17-22-6.

(e) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Audit unit” means a precinct, a set of ballots, or a single ballot. A precinct, a set of ballots, or a single ballot may be used as an audit unit for purposes of this section only if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(i) The relevant vote-tabulating device is able to produce a report of the votes cast in the precinct, set of ballots, or single ballot; and

(ii) Each ballot is assigned to not more than one audit unit.

(2) “Contest” means an election for an office or for a measure.

(3) “Risk-limiting audit” means a manual tally employing a statistical method that ensures a large, predetermined minimum chance of requiring a full manual tally whenever a full manual tally would show an electoral outcome that differs from the outcome reported by the vote-tabulating system for the audited contest. A risk-limiting audit shall begin with a hand tally of the votes in one or more audit units and shall continue to hand tally votes in additional audit units until there is strong statistical evidence that the electoral outcome is correct. In the event that counting additional audit units does not provide strong statistical evidence that the electoral outcome is correct, the audit shall continue until there has been a full manual tally to determine the correct electoral outcome of the audited contest.

(4) “Unofficial final results” means election results tabulated pursuant to §§ 17-19-36 and 17-19-37.

(f) The results of any audits conducted under this section shall be published on the website of the state board within forty-eight (48) hours of being accepted by the state board. If the audit involved a manual tally of one or more entire precincts, then the names and numbers of all precincts audited and a comparison of the vote tabulator results with the hand counts for each precinct shall be published with the audit results on the website.

(g) Any audit required under this section shall not commence for any election subject to a recount pursuant to §§ 17-19-37.1, 17-19-37.2, and 17-19-37.3 until the conclusion of said recount.

(h) The state board shall promulgate rules, regulations, and procedures in accordance with chapter 35 of title 42 necessary to implement this section.
§ 17-19-38. Custody of optical scan precinct count units pending return to storage.

After the close of the polls, the local board shall resume custody of the voting equipment until the voting equipment is removed by the state board or its designee. The local board shall take all necessary measures to prevent the voting equipment from being opened, tampered with, injured, or damaged.
§ 17-19-39. Power to open voting equipment.

The state board of elections shall have the right to open any and all voting equipment either before, during or after an election in the presence of the proper election officials of the city or town in which the election is held for the purpose of examining the voting equipment; provided, that no programmed memory cartridge shall be erased until after the expiration of ten (10) days from the election at which the voting equipment was used, unless said memory cartridge is required by the state board for the purpose of conducting recounts.
§ 17-19-39.1. Voted ballot storage and security.

(a) Voted computer ballots that were counted at the state board shall be stored in containers by the state board until the expiration of twenty-two (22) months from the date of election and voted computer ballots that were voted and packaged at a local precinct or counted at the local board shall be held and stored in containers by the local board in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the state board until the expiration of twenty-two (22) months from the date of election. The voted ballots shall remain stored in the appropriate containers unless ordered to be opened by the state board or a court of law. The computer file containing ballot layout information and candidate totals shall be transferred to a disk and retained permanently.

(b) Notwithstanding the requirements of this section, the state board shall have the authority to examine and inspect the voted ballots subsequent to the certification of an election.
§ 17-19-40. Repealed.
§ 17-19-41. Violations by public officers.

Any public officer upon whom a duty is imposed by this chapter who willfully neglects to perform that duty, or who performs it in a way as to hinder the objects of this chapter, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
§ 17-19-42. Tampering with voting equipment.

Any person, not being an election or primary officer or person upon whom a duty is imposed by this chapter, who, while any voting equipment is being made ready for an election or primary, or is in use during an election or primary, tampers with, disarranges, defaces, injures, or impairs the voting equipment in any manner, or mutilates, injures, destroys, or disarranges any computer ballot, or any other appliance used in connection with the voting equipment, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-19-43. Tampering with sample ballot.

Every person who willfully and without lawful authority destroys, secretes, removes, defaces, alters, tampers, or meddles with a sample ballot, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-19-44. Officer tampering with voting equipment.

Any person having the custody of voting equipment under this chapter, or any election or primary officer, who, with intent to cause or permit any voting equipment to fail to correctly register all votes cast, tampers with, injures, or disarranges the voting equipment in any way, or any part of the voting equipment, or who causes or consents to the voting equipment being used for voting at any election or primary with knowledge of the fact that the voting equipment is not in order or not properly set and programmed so that it will correctly register all votes cast, or who, for the purpose of defrauding or deceiving any voter or of causing it to be doubtful for what candidates or question any vote is cast, or of causing it to appear upon the voting equipment that votes cast for one candidate or question were cast for another candidate or question, removes, changes, or mutilates any computer ballot or any part of any computer ballot, or does anything to defeat the will or intention of a voter in casting a lawful vote, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-19-45. Fraudulent election returns.

Any election or primary officer who, at the close of the polls, purposely causes the vote registered by any optical scan precinct count unit or related voting equipment to be incorrectly recorded or returned as to any candidate, person, or question, or who knowingly consents to these things, or any of them, being done, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-19-46. False instructions as to marking a computer ballot and the operation of optical scan precinct count units.

Whoever, with intent to defraud a voter of his or her vote, or to cause a voter to lose his or her vote, gives in any way, or prints, writes, circulates, or causes to be written, printed, or circulated, any improper, false, misleading, or incorrect instructions or advice or suggestions of how to vote by computer ballot in conjunction with the optical scan precinct count unit, the following of which would cause any voter to lose his or her votes or would cause him or her to fail to register or record the votes on the optical scan precinct count unit for any candidate or question according to his or her choice, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-19-47. Improper possession of voting equipment keys or duplicates.

Any unauthorized person who makes a duplicate of, or has in his or her possession, a key to any voting equipment used at any election, or any election officer who keeps one or more keys to the voting equipment and fails or refuses to return them immediately after the election to the officer charged by law with the duty of caring for the keys, and any custodian who keeps one or more of the keys after he or she has prepared the voting equipment for election and refuses to turn the keys over to the officer charged by law with the care of the keys, and any officer charged by law with the care of the keys who keeps the keys and refuses to deliver them over to the officer’s successor in office, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-19-48. Posting of original voter registration records.

Following the return of the certified voting lists to the local boards, each board shall cause the original registration records to reflect the appropriate voting facts from the immediately preceding election and shall also post the appropriate voting facts set forth in the list of absentee voters furnished by the state board pursuant to the requirements of chapter 22 of this title following the counting, canvassing, and tabulation of votes cast pursuant to chapter 20 of this title. The state board, by regulation, shall provide direction to local boards in the recording of voting facts and information.
§ 17-19-49. Political literature and influence.

No poster, paper, circular, or other document designed or tending to aid, injure, or defeat any candidate for public office or any political party on any question submitted to the voters shall be distributed or displayed within the voting place or within fifty (50) feet of the entrance or entrances to the building in which voting is conducted at any primary or election. Neither shall any election official display on his or her person within the voting place any political party button, badge, or other device tending to aid, injure, or defeat the candidacy of any person for public office or any question submitted to the voters or to intimidate or influence the voters.
§ 17-19-50. Candidates listing on ballot.

No candidate for any public office shall be permitted to have his or her name appear in more than one place on the ballot for the same office.
§ 17-19-51. Priority for elderly voters.

At each polling place, one voting booth shall be designated for priority use by electors over sixty-five (65) years of age. These electors, once they have complied with the requirements of § 17-19-24, shall, upon request, be permitted to vote immediately in the designated voting booth. Other voters below the age of sixty-five (65) years may use the designated voting booth when there are no voters above that age waiting to vote.
§ 17-19-52. Priority for disabled voters.

Whenever a voter appears at a polling place and that voter has: (1) an obvious medical disability which, in the opinion of the warden, would cause the voter to experience severe discomfort by standing in line, or (2) a certificate from a licensed physician or Christian Science practitioner attesting that the voter has a disability which makes his or her standing in line inadvisable, then that voter may be allowed a priority position for complying with requirements of § 17-19-24 and in each polling place one voting booth shall be designated for priority use by these electors. Other voters may use the voting booth when there are no disabled voters waiting to vote.
§ 17-19-53. Voter accompanied by children within voting booth.

Nothing contained in the general laws of Rhode Island shall prevent a voter from being accompanied by a child or children who are under the age of eighteen (18) years while the voter is within the voting booth area, provided that the child or children are under the voter’s care and supervision.
§ 17-19-54. Bilingual voting material requirements.

(a) Pursuant to Section 203 of the Federal Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973aa-la, a city or town shall be subject to the provisions of the bilingual voting materials requirement whenever the Director of the Census determines, based on census data, that:

(1) More than five percent (5%) of the citizens of voting age of a city or town are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient; or

(2)(i) More than ten thousand (10,000) of the citizens of voting age of a city or town are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient; and

(ii) The illiteracy rate of the citizens in the language minority as a group is higher than the national illiteracy rate.

(b) Whenever a city or town subject to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section provides any registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, it shall provide them in the language of the applicable minority group as well as in the English language.

(c) Whenever the state provides any registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, to a city or town subject to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, it shall provide them in the language of the applicable minority group as well as in the English language.

(d) The provisions of this section shall apply to all ballots issued or required under the provisions of this chapter.
Chapter 17-20 – Mail Ballots
§ 17-20-1. Voting by mail ballot.

The electors of this state who, for any of the reasons set forth in § 17-20-2, being otherwise qualified to vote, are unable to vote in person, shall have the right to vote, in the manner and time provided by this chapter, in all general and special elections and primaries, including presidential primaries in this state for electors of president and vice-president of the United States, United States senators in congress, representatives in congress, general officers of the state, senators and representatives in the general assembly for the respective districts in which the elector is duly qualified to vote, and for any other officers whose names appear on the state ballot and for any city, town, ward, or district officers whose names appear on the respective city or town ballots in the ward or district of the city or town in which the elector is duly qualified to vote, and also to approve or reject any proposition of amendment to the Constitution or other propositions appearing on the state, city, or town ballot.
§ 17-20-1.1. Declaration of policy.

Those electors who are unable to vote in person at the polls for the reasons set forth in § 17-20-2 are entitled to vote in a manner which reasonably guarantees the secrecy of their ballots. The procedures set forth in this chapter are designed to promote the effective exercise of their rights while safeguarding those voters who utilize the mail ballot process from harassment, intimidation, and invasion of privacy. The procedures are intended to prevent misuse of the electoral system by persons who are not eligible to vote by mail ballot. The provisions of this chapter shall be interpreted to effectuate the policies set forth in this section.
§ 17-20-2. Eligibility for mail ballots.

Any otherwise qualified elector may vote by mail ballot in the following circumstances:

(1) An elector, within the State of Rhode Island who is incapacitated to the extent that it would be an undue hardship to vote at the polls because of illness, or mental or physical disability, blindness, or serious impairment of mobility;

(2) An elector who is confined in any hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, rest home, or similar institution, public or private, within the State of Rhode Island;

(3) An elector who will be temporarily absent from the state because of employment or service intimately connected with military operations or who is a spouse or legal dependent residing with that person, or a United States citizen that will be outside of the United States;

(4) An elector who may not be able to vote at his or her polling place in his or her city or town on the day of the election.
§ 17-20-2.1. Requirements for validity of mail ballot and mail ballot applications.

(a) Any legally qualified elector of this state whose name appears upon the official voting list of the city, town, or district of the city or town where the elector is qualified, and who desires to avail himself or herself of the right granted to him or her by the Constitution and declared in this chapter, may obtain from the local board in the city or town an affidavit form prepared by the secretary of state as prescribed in this section, setting forth the elector’s application for a mail ballot.

(b) Whenever any person is unable to sign his or her name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, that person shall make his or her mark “X”.

(c) The application, when duly executed, shall be delivered in person or by mail so that it is received by the local board not later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the twenty-first (21st) day before the day of any election referred to in § 17-20-1.

(d) In addition to those requirements set forth elsewhere in this chapter, a mail ballot, in order to be valid, must have been cast in conformance with the following procedures:

(1) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(1) shall be mailed to the elector at the Rhode Island address provided by the elector on the application. In order to be valid, the signature on all certifying envelopes containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public or before two (2) witnesses who shall set forth their addresses on the form.

(2) All applications for mail ballots pursuant to § 17-20-2(2) must state under oath the name and location of the hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, or similar institution where the elector is confined. All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(2) shall be delivered to the elector at the hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, or similar institution where the elector is confined; and the ballots shall be voted and witnessed in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.

(3) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(3) shall be mailed to the address provided by the elector on the application or sent to the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence. In order to be valid, the signature of the elector on the certifying envelope containing voted ballots does not need to be notarized or witnessed. Any voter qualified to receive a mail ballot pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(3) shall also be entitled to cast a ballot pursuant to the provisions of United States Public Law 99-410 (“UOCAVA Act”).

(4) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(4) may be mailed to the elector at the address within the United States provided by the elector on the application or sent to the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence. In order to be valid, the signature on all certifying envelopes containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public, or other person authorized by law to administer oaths where signed, or where the elector voted, or before two (2) witnesses who shall set forth their addresses on the form. In order to be valid, all ballots sent to the elector at the board of canvassers must be voted in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.2.

(e) Any person knowingly and willfully making a false application or certification, or knowingly and willfully aiding and abetting in the making of a false application or certification, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be subject to the penalties provided for in § 17-26-1.

(f) In no way shall a mail ballot application be disqualified if the voter’s circumstances change between the time of making the application and voting his or her mail ballot as long as voter remains qualified to receive a mail ballot under the provisions of § 17-20-2. The local board of canvassers shall provide the state board of elections with written notification of any change in circumstances to a mail ballot voter.
§ 17-20-2.2. Requirements for validity of emergency mail ballots.

(a) Any legally qualified elector of this state whose name appears upon the official voting list of the town or district of the city or town where the elector is so qualified, who on account of circumstances manifested twenty (20) days or less prior to any election becomes eligible to vote by mail ballot according to this chapter, may obtain from the local board an application for an emergency mail ballot.

(b) The emergency mail ballot application, when duly executed, shall be delivered in person or by mail so that it shall be received by the local board not later than four o’clock (4:00) p.m. on the last day preceding the date of the election.

(c) The elector shall execute the emergency mail ballot application in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, which application shall contain a certificate setting forth the facts relating to the circumstances necessitating the application.

(d) In addition to those requirements set forth elsewhere in this chapter, an emergency mail ballot, in order to be valid, must have been cast in conformance with the following procedures:

(1) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(1) shall be mailed to the elector at the State of Rhode Island address provided on the application by the office of the secretary of state, or delivered by the local board to a person presenting written authorization from the elector to receive the ballots, or cast in private at the local board of canvassers. In order to be valid, the signature of the voter on the certifying envelope containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public, or other person authorized by law to administer oaths where signed, or where the elector voted, or before two (2) witnesses who shall set forth their addresses on the form. In order to be valid, all ballots sent to the elector at the board of canvassers must be voted in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.2.

(2) All applications for emergency mail ballots pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(2) must state under oath the name and location of the hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, or similar institution where the elector is confined. All mail ballots issued pursuant to this subdivision shall be delivered to the elector by the bi-partisan pair of supervisors, appointed in conformance with this chapter, and shall be voted and witnessed in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.

(3) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(3) shall be mailed by the office of the secretary of state to the elector at an address provided by the elector on the application, or cast at the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence. The signature of the elector on the certifying envelope containing the voted ballots issued pursuant to the subdivision does not need to be notarized or witnessed. Any voter qualified to receive a mail ballot pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(3) shall also be entitled to cast a ballot pursuant to the provisions of United States Public Law 99-410 (“UOCAVA Act”).

(4) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(4) shall be cast at the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence or mailed by the office of the secretary of state to the elector at the address within the United States provided by the elector on the application, or delivered to the voter by a person presenting written authorization by the voter to pick up the ballot. In order to be valid, the signature of the voter on all certifying envelopes containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public, or other person authorized by law to administer oaths where signed, or where the elector voted, or before two (2) witnesses who shall set forth their addresses on the form. In order to be valid, all ballots sent to the elector at the board of canvassers must be voted in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.2.

(e) The secretary of state shall provide each of the several boards of canvassers with a sufficient number of mail ballots for their voting districts so that the local boards may provide the appropriate ballot or ballots to the applicants. It shall be the duty of each board of canvassers to process each emergency ballot application in accordance with this chapter, and it shall be the duty of each board to return to the secretary of state any ballots not issued immediately after each election.

(f) Any person knowingly and willfully making a false application or certification, or knowingly and willfully aiding and abetting in the making of a false application or certification, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be subject to the penalties provided for in § 17-26-1.
§ 17-20-3. Definitions.

(a) Wherever used in this chapter, every word importing only the masculine gender is construed to extend to, and include, females as well as males.

(b) Whenever used in this chapter, “bipartisan pairs of supervisors” for primaries means a supervisor representing the endorsed candidates and a supervisor representing a majority of unendorsed candidates, and for nonpartisan elections and primaries means non-partisan pairs of supervisors.

(c) Wherever used in this chapter, “employed outside of the United States” includes any person who is:

(1) Employed by any agency, department or division of the United States government and who, by reason of that employment, resides outside of the continental United States;

(2) Employed outside the territorial limits of the United States; or

(3) A spouse or dependent residing with persons so employed.

(d) Wherever used in this chapter “services intimately connected with military operations” includes members of religious groups or welfare agencies assisting members of the armed forces who are officially attached to and serving with the armed forces and their spouses and dependents, and the spouses and dependents of members of the armed forces and of the merchant marine; provided, that the spouses and dependents are residing outside of the state with the members of the armed forces, merchant marine, or members of the religious or welfare agencies.

(e) Whenever a signature is required by a voter in this chapter, “signature” also means the voter’s mark “X” if the person is unable to sign his or her name because of physical incapacity or otherwise.

(f) Whenever used in this chapter, “bipartisan” means not of the same recognized political party.
§ 17-20-4. Exemption from registration.

Any member of the armed forces or of the merchant marine of the United States in active service, any person absent from the state in the performance of “services intimately connected with military operations”, as defined in § 17-20-3(d), and any person employed outside of the United States, as defined in § 17-20-3(c) who, except for registration, would be a qualified elector of this state, shall be exempt during the period of his or her service or employment and for two (2) years thereafter from the registration requirements of the Constitution of this state.
§ 17-20-5. Residence of person in service or employed outside of the United States.

The “residence”, as defined in § 17-1-3.1, of any person immediately prior to the commencement of that person’s active service as a member of the armed forces or of the merchant marine of the United States, or immediately prior to his or her absence from the state in the performance of “services intimately connected with military operations” as defined in § 17-20-3(d), or immediately prior to his or her employment outside of the United States as defined in § 17-20-3(c), shall, for the purposes of this chapter, continue to be that person’s residence during the time of his or her service and for a period of two (2) years thereafter, unless the person changes his or her residence by registering or by taking other appropriate action to qualify to vote in another city or town within this state or in another state.
§ 17-20-6. Alternative methods of voting.

Any qualified elector who is a member of the armed forces or of the merchant marine of the United States, or who is absent from the state in the performance of “services intimately connected with military operations” as defined in § 17-20-3(c), and any qualified elector of this state exempt from registration under § 17-20-4, shall have the right to vote at his or her option during the period of his or her service and for two (2) years thereafter by any one of the following methods:

(1) If the person is present within the state on the day of any election, that person shall have the right to vote in the manner prescribed in chapter 19 of this title, subject to any other provisions of this chapter.

(2) If the person is absent from the state on the day of any election, that person has the right to vote by absentee ballot in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, upon compliance with its provisions.

(3)(i) The elector may cast an official federal absentee ballot federal write-in absentee ballot “FWAB” in accordance with the laws of the United States.

(ii) The elector may use the “FWAB” to cast a vote for each federal, state and local office for which he or she is entitled to vote in a general, primary or special election.

(4) The elector may also cast an official state blank ballot issued by the office of the secretary of state in accordance with this chapter.
§ 17-20-6.1. Alternative methods of voting by citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and other citizens residing outside the United States.

(a) It is the intent and purpose that the provisions set forth in this section are designed to facilitate the federal mandate of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.

(b) The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) may be used as a request for an absentee ballot by:

(1) A member of the armed forces who is absent from the state by reason of being in active service;

(2) Any person absent from the state in performance of “services intimately connected with military operations” as defined in § 17-20-3(d);

(3) Any person who is employed outside of the United States as defined in § 17-20-3(c); and

(4) Any person who does not qualify under subparagraph (1), (2), or (3) above, but who is a citizen of the United States and absent from the state and residing outside the United States as described in chapter 21.1 of title 17.

(c) The single FPCA card shall permit the person to request an absentee ballot for each primary and election through the next general election for federal office or for the time period specified by federal law in which the voter is eligible to vote.

(d) The FPCA card must be received by the local board of canvassers where the person last maintains his/her residence for voting purposes within the time frame for applying for absentee ballots as set forth in this title.

(e) If the FPCA, when used in accordance with this section, is sent by the voter through electronic transmission, it must be sent to the secretary of state and it must be received by the secretary of state by the deadline for applying for absentee ballots as set forth in this title. The secretary of state shall then forward the FPCA to the appropriate local authority who shall immediately certify and return the FPCA to the secretary of state with the notation that the corresponding ballots shall be sent by mail and electronic transmission. The secretary of state shall transmit ballots only to the facsimile number provided by the Federal Voter Assistance Program. The ballots sent by electronic transmission shall be returned to the state board by electronic transmission. These ballots will be counted at the state board in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the state board.

(f) The voter’s signature on the FPCA does not need to be witnessed or notarized, when the FPCA is submitted as provided in this section.

(g) If a voter is casting a mail ballot received through the use of the FPCA card as provided in this section, the voter’s signature does not need to be witnessed or notarized on the certifying envelope used for the return of the voted mail ballot.
§ 17-20-6.2. Designation of single state office to provide information on registration and absentee ballot procedures under the Help America Vote Act.

The secretary of state is designated as the single state office responsible for providing information regarding voter registration procedures and absentee ballot procedures under Section 702 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-252) [see 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-1(a) and (b)] and shall be responsible for the coordination of the state of Rhode Island’s responsibilities under that section.
§ 17-20-7. Duplication of votes – Methods preferred.

(a) In no event shall more than one vote be cast by any individual for any one office or proposition.

(b) In the event that any person votes in person and also attempts to vote by mail ballot or by an official state blank ballot or an official federal absentee ballot, as the case may be, the mail and the official state blank ballot and the official federal absentee ballot, as the case may be, shall be destroyed and not counted.

(c) In the event that any person casts a mail ballot and an official federal absentee ballot and/or official state blank ballot, the mail ballot shall be counted, but the official federal absentee and/or the official state blank ballot shall be destroyed and not counted.
§ 17-20-8. Application for ballot.

(a) Whenever any person is unable to sign his or her name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, that person shall make his or her mark “X”.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter as to time and manner thereof, it shall be the duty of the applicant to cause the mail ballot application or the emergency mail ballot application, as the case may be, to be processed by the local board so that the applicant may receive the ballot, cast it, and cause delivery thereof to be made to the state board not later than eight o’clock (8:00) p.m. on the date of election.

(c) The local board shall maintain a separate list of names and addresses of all applicants and their subscribing witnesses and a copy of the list shall be made available for inspection to any person upon request.

(d) Any person knowingly and willfully making a false application or certification or knowingly and willfully aiding and abetting in the making of a false application or certification shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-20-8.1. Repealed.
§ 17-20-9. Application by permanently disabled or incapacitated voters.

(a) A voter who is indefinitely confined because of physical illness or infirmity or is disabled for an indefinite period may, by signing an affidavit to that effect, request that an absentee ballot application be sent to him or her automatically for every election. The affidavit form and instructions shall be prescribed by the secretary of state, and furnished upon request to any elector by each local board of canvassers. The envelope containing the absentee ballot application shall be clearly marked as not forwardable. If any elector is no longer indefinitely confined, he or she shall notify the clerk of the local board of canvassers of this fact. The clerk shall remove the name of any voter from the mailing list established under this section upon receipt of reliable information that a voter no longer qualifies for the service. The voter shall be notified of the action within five (5) days after the board takes the action.

(b) The affidavit form and instructions prescribed in this section shall be mailed to the applicant along with a stamped return envelope addressed to the local boards of canvassers.
§ 17-20-9.1. Application by member of the armed forces in active service.

(a) A voter who is a member of the armed forces in active service may, by certification to that effect by the voter’s civilian or military commander or noncommissioned officer in charge of the particular duty station, require that an absentee ballot application be sent to the voter automatically for every election during the period of time for which the voter has been assigned to that duty station. The certification by the civilian or military commander or noncommissioned officer in charge of the particular duty station shall be prepared in form by the secretary of state and shall include the name of the military personnel, the address to which the voter’s application shall be mailed, the name and signature of the military or civilian commander or noncommissioned officer completing the certification, and the expected date of reassignment or discharge of that service person from that duty station.

(b) Notification of removal from the mailing list shall be sent to the applicant.
§ 17-20-9.2. Application by member of the armed forces in active service registered to vote using the federal postcard application (FPCA).

(a) A voter who is a member of the armed forces in active service may, by certification to that effect by the voter’s civilian or military commander or noncommissioned officer in charge of the particular duty station, require that an absentee ballot be sent to the voter automatically if that voter has registered to vote using the federal postcard application (FPCA), for every election during the period of time for which the voter has been assigned to that duty station. The certification by the civilian or military commander or noncommissioned officer in charge of the duty station may be prepared in form by the secretary of state and shall include the name of the military personnel, the address to which the voter’s application shall be mailed, the name and signature of the military or civilian commander or noncommissioned officer completing the certification, and the expected date of reassignment or discharge of that service person from that duty station.

(b) Notification of removal from the mailing list shall be sent to the applicant.
§ 17-20-9.3. Application by a civilian employed by the United States government and residing outside of the continental United States.

(a) A voter who is employed by any agency, department, or division of the United States government who by reason of that employment resides outside of the continental United States may, by certification to that effect by the voter’s employer, require that an absentee ballot be sent to the voter automatically if that voter has registered to vote using the federal post card application (FPCA), for every election during the period of time for which the voter will reside outside of the continental United States. The certification by the employer shall be prepared in form by the secretary of state and shall include the name of the civilian employee, the address to which the voter’s application shall be mailed, the name and signature of the employer completing the certification, and the length of time for which the individual will reside outside of the continental United States by reason of his or her employment.

(b) Notification of removal from the mailing list shall be sent to the applicant.
§ 17-20-10. Certification of applications – Issuance of ballots – Marking of lists – Mailing address.

(a) Upon receipt of the application, the local board shall immediately examine it and determine whether it complies with each of the requirements set forth by this chapter and compare the signature on the ballot application with the signature contained on the original registration card, except as may be otherwise provided by law, to satisfy itself that the applicant is a qualified voter. Upon determining that it does meet each requirement of this chapter and that the signature appears to be the same, the local board shall mark the application “accepted” and record in the space provided on the ballot application the senatorial, representative, and voting district in which the applicant should vote.

(b) The local board shall also record the city or town code and district information in the mailing label section of the mail ballot application. The local board shall also print or type the name of the elector and the complete mailing address in that section. If the local board does not accept the application, the local board shall return the application to the elector, together with a form prescribed by the secretary of state, specifying the reason or reasons for the return of the application.

(c) Not later than 4:00 p.m. on the eighteenth (18th) day before the day of any election referred to in this chapter or within seven (7) days of receipt by the local board, whichever occurs first, the local board shall certify the applications to the secretary of state through the CVRS system as this procedure is prescribed by the secretary of state. Upon the certification of a mail ballot application to the secretary of state, the local board shall enter on the voting list the fact that a mail ballot application for the voter has been certified and shall cause the delivery of the certified mail ballot applications together with the signed certified listing thereof in sealed packages to the state board of elections.

(d)(1) Upon the ballots becoming available, the secretary of state shall immediately issue and mail, by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a mail ballot to each eligible voter who has been certified. With respect to voters who have applied for these mail ballots under the provisions of § 17-20-2(1), the secretary of state shall include with the mail ballots a stamped, return envelope addressed to the board of elections.

(2) The secretary of state shall include on the mail ballot envelope a numerical or alphabetical code designating the city or town where the voter resides. The secretary of state shall immediately thereafter indicate on the voter’s record that the secretary of state has sent mail ballots; provided that this mark shall serve solely to indicate that a mail ballot has been issued and shall not be construed as voting in the election.

(e) Prior to each election, the secretary of state shall also furnish to the chairperson of the state committee of each political party a list of the names and residence addresses of all persons to whom mail ballots have been issued. The secretary of state shall also furnish to a candidate for political office, upon request, a list of the names and residence addresses of all persons to whom mail ballots have been issued within his or her district.

(f) If a ballot is returned to the secretary of state by the postal service as undeliverable, the secretary of state shall consult with the appropriate local board to determine the accuracy of the mailing address, and the secretary of state shall be required to remail the ballot to the voter using the corrected address provided by the local board. If the local board is unable to provide a different address than that to which the ballot was originally mailed, the ballot shall be reissued by the secretary of state to the board of canvassers in the city or town where the voter resides utilizing the numerical or alphabetical code established in subsection (d) of this section. The board shall then attempt to notify the voter at his or her place of residence that the ballot has been returned as undeliverable. The ballot must be voted and witnessed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(g) The acceptance of a mail ballot application by the board of canvassers and the issuance of a mail ballot by the secretary of state shall not create any presumption as to the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant or as to the applicant’s compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Any inaccuracy in the provided information or irregularity in the application may be raised as a challenge to the ballot before the board of elections at the time of certification. If the challenge raised at that time is meritorious, the ballot shall be voided.

(h) Within two (2) business days of receipt by the local board, the board shall certify emergency mail ballot applications and shall cause the delivery of the emergency mail ballot applications, and certification sheet in sealed packages to the state board of elections.
§ 17-20-10.1. Repealed.
§ 17-20-10.2. Official state blank ballots.

In the event the official ballot is not available for issuance and mailing forty-five (45) days before a general, primary, or special election, persons applying for a mail ballot under subdivision 17-20-2(3) and persons applying for a mail ballot through the use of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) shall be issued an official state blank ballot forty-five (45) days before the election. Additionally, the voter shall be sent the official ballot immediately upon the ballots becoming available. The office of secretary of state shall be responsible for the arrangement, preparation, printing and distribution of the official state blank ballots. The secretary of state shall also be responsible for all accompanying candidate listings to the extent that information is available, instruction sheets, and envelopes.
§ 17-20-11. Safekeeping of lists of applicants.

The copies of certified applications and the certified lists returned to the several local boards shall be safely kept in the custody of the boards until the first day of September in the second (2nd) year after the boards have received the lists.
§ 17-20-12. Secretary of state to furnish forms and supplies.

All mail ballots, application forms, certified envelopes for enclosing ballots, any other envelopes that may be necessary, and instructions as to voting, use of ballots, and affidavits, shall be furnished and supplied by the secretary of state for use in mailing application forms, ballots, and other supplies to mail voters to carry out the provisions of this chapter, but each local board shall print or stamp upon the application form and upon the return envelope the address of the local board. The secretary of state is authorized to interpret and apply the provisions of this chapter in a manner that effects the legislative intention set forth in this chapter.
§ 17-20-13. Form of application.

The application to be subscribed by the voters before receiving a mail ballot shall, in addition to those directions that may be printed, stamped, or written on it by authority of the secretary of state, be in substantially the following form:

STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS APPLICATION OF VOTER FOR BALLOT FOR ELECTION ON……..

(COMPLETE HIGHLIGHTED SECTIONS)

NOTE – THIS APPLICATION MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF YOUR CITY OR TOWN NOT LATER THAN 4:00 P.M ON……..

BOX A (PRINT OR TYPE)

NAME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

VOTING ADDRESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

CITY/TOWN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . STATE RI ZIP CODE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

DATE OF BIRTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PHONE #. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

BOX B (PRINT OR TYPE)

NAME OF INSTITUTION (IF APPLICABLE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ADDRESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ADDRESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

CITY/TOWN . . . . . . . . STATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ZIP CODE . . . . . . . . . .

FACSIMILE NUMBER (if applicable)

I CERTIFY THAT I AM ELIGIBLE FOR A MAIL BALLOT ON THE FOLLOWING BASIS; (CHECK ONE ONLY)

( ) 1. I am incapacitated to such an extent that it would be an undue hardship to vote at the polls because of illness, mental or physical disability, blindness or a serious impairment of mobility. If the ballot is not being mailed to your voter registration address (BOX A above) please provide the Rhode Island address where you are temporarily residing in BOX B above.

( ) 2. I am confined in a hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, rest home, or similar institution within the State of Rhode Island. Provide the name and address of the facility where you are residing in BOX B above.

( ) 3. I am employed or in service intimately connected with military operations or because I am a spouse or dependent of such person, or I am a United States citizen and will be outside the United States. Complete BOX B above or the ballot will be mailed to the local board of canvassers.

( ) 4. I may not be able to vote at the polling place in my city or town on the day of the election. If the ballot is not being mailed to your voter registration address (BOX A above) please provide the address within the United States where you are temporarily residing in BOX B above. If you request that your ballot be sent to your local board of canvassers please indicate so in BOX B above.

BOX D OATH OF VOTER

I declare that all of the information I have provided on this form is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I further state that I am not a qualified voter of any other city or town or state and have not claimed and do not intend to claim the right to vote in any other city or town or state. If unable to sign name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, applicant shall make his or her mark “X”.

SIGNATURE IN FULL……..

Please note: A Power of Attorney signature is not valid in Rhode Island.
§ 17-20-13.1. Form of emergency mail ballot application.

The emergency mail ballot application to be subscribed by the voters before receiving a mail ballot shall, in addition to any directions that may be printed, stamped, or written on the application by authority of the secretary of state, be in substantially the following form:

STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS EMERGENCY APPLICATION OF VOTER FOR BALLOT FOR ELECTION ON. . . . . . . .

(COMPLETE HIGHLIGHTED SECTIONS)

NOTE – THIS APPLICATION MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF YOUR CITY OR TOWN NOT LATER THAN 4:00 P.M. ON. . . . . . . .

BOX A (PRINT OR TYPE)

NAME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

VOTING ADDRESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

CITY/TOWN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . STATE RI ZIP CODE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

DATE OF BIRTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PHONE #. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

BOX B (PRINT OR TYPE)

NAME OF INSTITUTION (IF APPLICABLE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ADDRESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ADDRESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

CITY/TOWN . . . . . . . . STATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ZIP CODE . . . . . . . . . .

I CERTIFY THAT I AM ELIGIBLE FOR A MAIL BALLOT ON THE FOLLOWING BASIS: (CHECK ONE ONLY)

( ) 1. I am incapacitated to such an extent that it would be an undue hardship to vote at the polls because of illness, mental or physical disability, blindness or a serious impairment of mobility. If not voting ballot at local board, ballot will be mailed to the address in BOX A above or to the Rhode Island address provided in BOX B above. If the ballot is to be delivered by the local board of canvassers to a person presenting written authorization to pick up the ballot, complete BOX A above and fill in the person’s name below.

I hereby authorize . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to pick up my ballot at my local board of canvassers.

( ) 2. I am confined in a hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, rest home, or similar institution within the State of Rhode Island. Provide the name and address of the facility where you are residing in BOX B above.

( ) 3. I am employed or in service intimately connected with military operations or because I am a spouse or dependent of such person, or I am a United States citizen who will be outside the United States. If not voting ballot at local board, provide address in BOX B above.

( ) 4. I may not be able to vote at the polling place in my city or town on the day of the election. If the ballot is not being mailed to your voter registration address (BOX A above) please provide the address within the United States where you are temporarily residing in BOX B above. If you request that your ballot be sent to your local board of canvassers please indicate so in BOX B above.

I hereby authorize . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to pick up my ballot at my local board of canvassers.

Under the pains and penalty of perjury, I certify that on account of the following circumstances manifested twenty (20) days or less prior to the election for which I make this application. I will be unable to vote at the polls.

BOX D OATH OF VOTER

I declare that all of the information I have provided on this form is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I further state that I am not a qualified voter of any other city or town or state and have not claimed and do not intend to claim the right to vote in any other city or town or state. If unable to sign name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, applicant shall make his or her mark “X”.

SIGNATURE IN FULL

Please note: A Power of Attorney signature is not valid in Rhode Island.
§ 17-20-14. Voting from hospitals, convalescent homes, nursing homes, rest homes or similar institutions public or private within the State of Rhode Island – Penalty for interference.

(a) The state board of elections shall appoint as many bipartisan pairs of supervisors as are necessary whose duty it shall be to attend each hospital, rest home, nursing home and convalescent home, or similar types of personal care facility in the state within twenty (20) days prior to the election. They shall supervise the casting of votes by persons using mail ballots at a place that preserves their secrecy and shall take acknowledgments or serve as witnesses, and jointly provide assistance, if requested, to assure proper marking, sealing, and mailing of ballots as voted. Every mail ballot cast by a patient in a hospital or convalescent home within this state must be witnessed by the state supervisors. It shall be the duty of the person or persons in charge of hospitals, rest homes, nursing homes and convalescent homes, or similar types of personal care facility to allow the state supervisors to perform their duties as set forth in this section at all reasonable times. Every person who willfully hinders the state supervisors in performing their duties as set forth in this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) It shall be the responsibility of the state board of elections to provide all bipartisan pairs of supervisors with an official identification card. All bipartisan pairs of supervisors will be required to have in their possession their identification card when conducting official business.

(c) Any person who deliberately misrepresents themselves as an official of the board of elections, or who deceives, coerces, or interferes with a voter casting a ballot, shall be subject to prosecution under § 17-20-30.
§ 17-20-14.1. Mail ballots – Local supervision.

Each local board shall be authorized to appoint one or more bipartisan pairs of supervisors in the manner that other bipartisan pairs of supervisors are appointed for each election, whose duty it shall be to attend each person who makes an application for a mail ballot under §§ 17-20-2.1 and 17-20-2.2, who does not fall under the provisions of § 17-20-14, and who requests that a bipartisan pair of supervisors be sent by the board of canvassers to that person’s place of residence for the purpose of supervising or assisting the mail voter in casting his or her vote. The bipartisan pairs of supervisors shall supervise the casting of votes by persons using the mail ballot at a place that preserves their secrecy and shall take acknowledgments or serve as witnesses, and jointly provide assistance, if requested, to assure proper marking, sealing, and mailing of ballots as voted. The failure or neglect of any local board to appoint these bipartisan pairs, or the failure or neglect of any pair to attend any place at which a mail voter’s ballot may be used, or the marking, sealing, or mailing of ballots in the absence of any pair, shall not invalidate any ballot.
§ 17-20-14.2. Voting from board of canvassers.

The local board of canvassers shall appoint as many supervisors as are necessary whose duty it shall be to supervise the casting of votes by persons using mail ballots at a place that preserves their secrecy and to take acknowledgments or serve as witnesses, and jointly provide assistance, if requested, to assure proper marking, sealing, and mailing of ballots as voted. Every certifying envelope containing a mail ballot cast at a board of canvassers must have the signature of the elector notarized by an appointed person authorized by law to administer oaths or before two (2) appointed witnesses who shall set forth their signature on the form. The certifying envelope of any mail ballot voted at the local board of canvassers shall be stamped by the local board to indicate it was voted on in conformance with the law. Every person who willfully hinders the local supervisors in performing their duties as set forth in this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The local board shall transmit a list to the state board of elections containing the names and signatures of people authorized to witness mail ballots.
§ 17-20-15. Repealed.
§ 17-20-16. Time of casting vote.

Mail ballots may be cast in the manner provided by law on or before election day; provided, that no mail ballot shall be counted unless it is received by the state board not later than the time prescribed by § 17-18-11 for the closing of polling places on election day.
§ 17-20-17. Omission of presidential electors.

Every mail ballot previously required by the provisions of law to contain the names of electors for president and vice-president of the United States shall contain the names of all candidates for president and vice-president of the United States preceded by the words “Electors for” in lieu of names of the electors for the officers.
§ 17-20-18. Instructions on ballot.

The secretary of state may, if the secretary deems necessary, cause to be printed at the head of the ballot brief instructions for voting and the use of the ballot. The mail ballots shall, in addition to the official endorsement provided by law, bear the words: “Mail voters”.
§ 17-20-19. Envelopes for return of ballots.

Envelopes for the enclosure and return of mail ballots and their enclosing certified envelope shall have the printed or written address: “Board of Elections, 50 Branch Ave., Providence, Rhode Island 02904-2790”; and shall be forwarded by the secretary of state to each mail voter whose application for the mail ballot has been received and accepted.
§ 17-20-20. Instructions for voting procedure.

The secretary of state shall also cause to be prepared and printed an adequate number of copies of instructions for voting procedure in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or the secretary may cause the instructions to be printed in an appropriate place on the official mail ballots.
§ 17-20-21. Certifying envelopes.

The secretary of state shall cause to be prepared and printed and shall furnish with each mail ballot an envelope for sealing up and certifying the ballot when returned. The envelope shall be printed in substantially the following form:

“After marking ballot or ballots, fold and enclose in this envelope and seal it. Certify to statement hereon. Enclose in envelope addressed to board of elections, which must receive the envelope not later than the time prescribed by § 17-18-11 for the closing of polling places on the day of election.”

Date of Election: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . City/Town of: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Certificate of Voter
Print Name of Voter

I swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that I am:

• I am a United States citizen;

• I am a resident and qualified voter of the State of Rhode Island;

• I am eligible to cast a mail ballot under the provisions of § 17-20-2; and

• I am not qualified to vote elsewhere.

Voter must sign full name here: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(If unable to sign name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, voter shall make his or her mark “(X)”).

I hereby attest under penalty of perjury that the enclosed voted ballot was cast, and the signature or mark on this certifying envelope was made by the voter whose name appears on the label above.

Before me the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . day of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 . . . . . . ., at. . . . . . . . . . . . . . (city or town), county of . . . . . . . . . . . . . ., state of . . . . . . . . . . . . . ., personally appeared the above named voter, to me known and known by me to be the person who affixed his or her signature to this ballot envelope.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Notary Public

Notary must also print his or her name

Witness:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(Signature)(Print Name) (Address)

(Signature)(Print Name) (Address)

Note: Mail ballots must either be sworn to before a notary public or before two (2) witnesses who must sign their names and addresses.
§ 17-20-22. Certification envelopes for mail ballots of persons intimately connected with military service and persons employed outside of the United States.

The distinctively colored certification envelope for persons intimately connected with military service and persons employed outside of the United States shall be printed in substantially the following form:

After marking ballot or ballots, fold and enclose in this envelope and seal it. Certify to statement hereon. Enclose in envelope addressed to board of elections, which must receive the envelope not later than the time prescribed by § 17-18-11 for the closing of polling places on the day of election.

Date of Election……………. City/Town of………………………………

Oath of Elector Casting the Enclosed Ballot or Ballots

Print Name

I do hereby affirm, under penalty of perjury that:

• I am a United States citizen;

• I am a resident and qualified voter of the State of Rhode Island;

• I am eligible to cast a mail ballot, because I am one of the following:

• A member of the Uniformed Services or merchant marine on active duty or an eligible spouse or dependent.

• A U.S. citizen who will be outside the United States.

• I am not qualified to vote elsewhere.

…………………………..

(Signature of voter)
§ 17-20-23. Marking and certification of ballot.

(a) A voter may vote for the candidates of the voter’s choice by making a mark in the space provided opposite their respective names.

(b) In case a voter desires to vote upon a question submitted to the vote of the electors of the state, the voter shall mark in the appropriate space associated with the answer that the voter desires to give.

(c) Voters receiving a mail ballot pursuant to § 17-20-2(1), (2), and (4) shall mark the ballot in the presence of two (2) witnesses or some officer authorized by the law of the place where marked to administer oaths. Voters receiving a mail ballot pursuant to § 17-20-2(3) do not need to have their ballot witnessed or notarized. Except as otherwise provided for by this chapter, the voter shall not allow the official or witnesses to see how he or she marks the ballot and the official or witnesses shall hold no communication with the voter, nor the voter with the official or witnesses, as to how the voter is to vote. Thereafter, the voter shall enclose and seal the ballot in the envelope provided for it. The voter shall then execute before the official or witnesses the certification on the envelope. The voter shall then enclose and seal the certified envelope with the ballot in the envelope addressed to the state board and cause the envelope to be delivered to the state board on or before election day.

(d) These ballots shall be counted only if received within the time limited by this chapter.

(e) There shall be a space provided on the general election ballot to allow the voter to write in the names of persons not in nomination by any party as provided for in §§ 17-19-31 and 17-20-24.
§ 17-20-24. Irregularities not impairing validity of ballots.

(a) No ballot transmitted under the provisions of this chapter shall be rejected for any immaterial addition, omission, or irregularity in the preparation or execution of the computer ballot, nor for failure of the voter to affix sufficient postage. No ballot shall be invalid by reason of mistake or omission in writing in the name of any candidate where the candidate intended by the voter is plainly identifiable. Where, because of any defect in marking, a ballot is held invalid as to any particular candidate for office, it shall remain valid as to the candidates for other offices. No ballot shall be invalid by reason of the voter writing upon the inner envelope the name of a community within a town in place of the name of the town. No defect in the marking of the appropriate space associated with casting a vote shall invalidate any ballot or a vote for any candidate, where the intention of the voter is clearly indicated.

(b) No ballot shall be rejected if the intention of the voter is clear unless it contains clear evidence of the identity of the voter.
§ 17-20-24.1. Irregularities in obtaining and casting mail ballots.

The requirements set forth by this chapter controlling mail ballot eligibility and the procedure by which mail ballots are obtained and cast shall be strictly applied to assure the integrity of the electoral system. No mail ballot which was not obtained and/or cast in material conformance with the provisions of this title shall be certified by the board of elections. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 34-12-3 to the contrary, any mail ballot application or mail ballot certification notarized by a person who is not in fact a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths and take acknowledgements shall be void. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require the disqualification of a ballot merely because the elector did not sign the elector’s full name as it is listed on the voter registration list, but omitted or included a middle initial or name, abbreviated a first and/or middle name, or made a similar omission or inclusion, as long as the board of elections can reasonably determine the identity of the voter.
§ 17-20-25. Return of unused ballots.

Every voter who has received a mail ballot and has not cast it shall nevertheless return the unvoted ballot and its uncertified enclosing envelope to the state board or local board with a statement that the voter is not using the mail ballot, before eight o’clock (8:00) p.m. on election day.
§ 17-20-26. Opening and counting of ballots.

(a)(1) Beginning prior to and continuing on election day the state board, upon receipt of mail ballots, shall keep the ballots in a safe and secure place that shall be separate and apart from the general public area and shall:

(i) Open the outer envelope and attach the matching ballot application to the inner certifying envelope;

(ii) Beginning fourteen (14) days prior to and continuing on election day, proceed to certify the mail ballots.

(2) Notice of these sessions shall be given to the public on the state board of elections’ website, the secretary of state’s website, and announcements in newspapers of general circulation published at least twenty-four (24) hours before the commencing of any session. All candidates for state and federal office, as well as all state party chairpersons, shall be given notice by telephone or otherwise of the day on which ballots affecting that candidate’s district will be certified; provided, that failure to effect the notice shall in no way invalidate the ballots.

(b) This processing shall be done within a railed space in the room in which it takes place, and the board shall admit within the railed space, in accordance with those rules that the board shall adopt, to witness the processing and certification of the ballots, the interested voter or the voter’s representative, the candidates, or at least one representative of each candidate for whom votes are at the time being processed, and an equal number of representatives of each political party. These representatives shall be authorized in writing by the voter, the candidate, or the chairperson of the state committee of the political party, respectively, as the case may be. The board shall also, in accordance with these rules, admit representatives of the press and newscasting agencies and any other persons that it deems proper.

(c) At these sessions, and before certifying any ballot, the state board shall:

(1) Determine the city or town in which the voter cast his or her ballot and classify accordingly; and

(2) Compare the name, residence, and signature of the voter with the name, residence, and signature on the ballot application for mail ballots and satisfy itself that both signatures are identical.

(d) [Deleted by P.L. 2015, ch. 259, § 1].

(e) The board shall establish guidelines setting forth the grounds for challenging the certification of mail ballots. These guidelines shall recognize that if a ballot can be reasonably identified to be that of the voter it purports to be, and if it can reasonably be determined that the voter was eligible to vote by mail ballot and if the requirements of § 17-20-2.1 were complied with, it should not be subject to frivolous or technical challenge. The burden of proof in challenging a mail ballot as not obtained and/or cast in conformance with this chapter is on the person challenging the ballot. Once the irregularity is shown, the burden of proof shall shift to the person defending the ballot to demonstrate that it is the ballot of the voter it purports to be, that the voter was eligible to vote by mail ballot, and that all of the applicable requirements of § 17-20-2.1 were complied with. The guidelines shall be adopted at a public meeting of the board and shall be made available prior to the start of the certification process for mail ballots.

(f) After processing and certification of the mail ballots, they shall be separated in packages in accordance with their respective cities and towns, in the presence of the board and all other interested parties. Thereupon, in each instance the board shall open the enclosing envelope, and without looking at the votes cast on the enclosed ballot, shall remove the ballot from the envelope. The state board shall proceed to tabulate the ballots through the use of a central count optical-scan unit with the same effect as if the ballots had been cast by the electors in open town or district meetings.

(g) When a local election is held at a time other than in conjunction with a statewide election, the state board, after the processing and certification of the mail ballots cast in the local election, shall package the local ballots to be promptly delivered in sealed packages, bearing upon the seals the signatures of the members of the board, to the appropriate local board which shall [a] thereupon proceed to count the ballots in the same manner and with the same effect as state mail ballots are counted by the state board.

(h) When a local election is held in New Shoreham at a time other than in conjunction with a statewide election, the state board, after the processing and certification of the mail ballots cast in the local election, shall have the authority to count the ballots in the same manner and with the same effect as state mail ballots are counted by the state board in a statewide election. Once the ballots are counted, the results shall be sent via facsimile to the local board in New Shoreham.
§ 17-20-27. Sealing of ballots and voting list.

The state board shall, at the completion of the count of all votes cast at any election, securely store all ballots cast in the election, and after the certification of the results of the elections, the state board shall place all ballots received from mail voters together with the certified envelopes containing the ballots in a steel box or package and shall seal the ballots and envelopes in open meetings of the board by affixing at least four (4) adhesive labels, and the members of the board shall sign the labels by affixing their signatures in ink to each of the labels, and thereafter no steel box or package shall upon any pretense be reopened by any person, except upon order of the general assembly or a court of competent jurisdiction, but shall be held by the board for twenty-two (22) months, when they may then be destroyed. The certified copies of the voting lists of mail voters and the applications referred to in § 17-20-10 shall likewise be safely sealed and kept by the board for the same length of time.
§ 17-20-28. Copies of chapter furnished to local boards.

On or before the fifteenth (15th) day of September in any year in which a general state or congressional district election is held, the secretary of state shall send to the local boards an attested copy of this chapter.
§ 17-20-29. Mail applicant not permitted to vote at polls.

(a) No person, or one claiming to be that person, whose name has been marked upon any voting list, provided for official use at any election, with the mark as provided by § 17-20-10, shall be permitted to vote in person at the election; provided, that the person may re-establish his or her right to vote in person by presenting himself or herself at that person’s local board on or before election day and surrendering his or her mail ballot. Upon that surrender the person’s name shall be restored to the voting list. Any person whose name has been marked on the voting list may also be permitted to vote in person if that person executes and delivers to the local board an affidavit stating that the person did not receive the mail ballot, or that the mail ballot was lost or destroyed.

(b) Each local board shall, immediately after the close of the polls, certify and deliver to the state board the names and addresses of all persons restored to the voting list, together with the affidavits and surrendered ballots received pursuant to this section.
§ 17-20-30. Penalty for violations.

(a) Any person who knowingly makes or causes to be made any material false statement in connection with his or her application to vote as a mail voter, or who votes or attempts to vote under the provisions of this chapter, by fraudulently signing the name of another upon any envelope provided for in this chapter, or who, not being a qualified voter and having knowledge or being chargeable with knowledge of the fact, attempts to vote under this chapter, or who votes the ballot of another voter, or who deliberately prevents or causes to prevent the mail ballot to be received by the voter or to be returned to the board of elections, or who falsely notarizes or witnesses the voter signature on the ballot application or mail ballot, or who deceives, coerces, or interferes with the voter casting his or her ballot, and any person who does or attempts to do, or aid in doing or attempting to do, a fraudulent act in connection with any vote cast or to be cast under the provisions of this chapter, shall be guilty of a felony.

(b) Any person who, having received a mail voter’s ballot and having voted or not voted the mail ballot, votes or fraudulently attempts to vote at any elective meeting within the state held on the day for which the ballot was issued shall be guilty of a felony.

(c) Any officer or other person who intentionally opens a mail voter’s certified envelope or examines the contents before the envelope is opened by the board of elections, as provided in this chapter, shall be guilty of a felony.

(d) The offenses in this section shall be punishable by imprisonment of not more than ten (10) years and/or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5000).
§ 17-20-31. Investigation of complaints.

The board of elections shall consider all complaints that it receives alleging criminal violations of this chapter and shall refer those complaints which it receives which it deems to be more than frivolous to the state police for investigation.
§ 17-20-32. Inquiry by board of elections.

Upon the request of any candidate for public office and upon a showing of good cause for it or upon its own motion, the board of elections shall inquire into any notary public or witness who witnesses the voter signatures on more than fifty (50) mail ballot envelopes in any one election and any notary public or witness who the board has reason to believe has not complied with the provisions of this chapter. The inquiry shall attempt to determine whether the notary public or witness was actually present when the documents were signed by the voters and whether all other applicable requirements set forth in this chapter were complied with. Any criminal violation of this chapter uncovered by the board of elections shall be referred to the state police for further investigation.
§ 17-20-33. Disqualification of ballot by board of elections.

The board of elections shall, on its own motion, disqualify any mail ballot which it determines, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, was not voted by the elector who purportedly cast it, or was voted by an elector who was not eligible to vote by mail ballot, or was not obtained and voted in the manner prescribed by this chapter. The board of elections may take this action even in the absence of a challenge to the ballot and may take this action at any time prior to the separation of the ballot from its application and certifying envelope.
§ 17-20-34. Liberal construction.

This chapter shall be construed liberally to effect the purposes of maintaining the integrity and the secrecy of the mail ballot by assuring that only electors eligible to vote by mail ballot are allowed to utilize that method of voting, by assuring that the procedures set forth in this chapter controlling the application and balloting processes are strictly enforced, and by safeguarding the mail ballot voter from harassment, intimidation, and invasion of privacy.
§ 17-20-35. Severability.

If any provision of this chapter, or the application of the provision to any persons or circumstances, is held invalid, the remainder of the chapter and the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected by the invalidity.
Chapter 17-21 – Voting by Armed Forces
§ 17-21-1. – 17-21-43. Repealed..
Chapter 17-21.1 – Registration and Voting in Federal Elections by Citizens Residing Outside the United States
§ 17-21.1-1. Applicability.

This chapter is enacted pursuant to Public Law 94-203, passed by the congress of the United States and approved on January 2, 1976, and applies to all federal elections to select, nominate, and/or elect candidates for president, vice-president, presidential electors, members of the United States senate, and members of the United States house of representatives.
§ 17-21.1-2. Absentee registration.

(a) Any person otherwise qualified pursuant to this title who is a citizen of the United States and is absent from this state and residing outside the United States shall have the right to register absentee and vote by an absentee ballot in any federal election in this state in any election district of this state in which the person was last domiciled immediately prior to that person’s departure from the United States, notwithstanding that the person does not have a place of abode or other address in this state, and the person’s intent to return to this state may be uncertain, if:

(1) The person has registered pursuant to the provisions of § 17-20-6.1;

(2) The person does not maintain a domicile, is not registered to vote, and does not vote in any other state or election district of a state or territory, or in any territory or possession of the United States; and

(3) The person has a valid passport or card of identity and registration issued under the authority of the secretary of state of the United States.

(b) If the person is a United States citizen and has never lived in the United States, but has a parent who is a qualified elector pursuant to this chapter, then that person shall be eligible to register and vote in federal elections where his or her parent is a qualified elector.
§ 17-21.1-3. Repealed.
§ 17-21.1-4. Repealed.
§ 17-21.1-5. Repealed.
§ 17-21.1-6. Repealed.
§ 17-21.1-7. Repealed.
Chapter 17-22 – Tabulation and Certification of Returns by State Board
§ 17-22-1. Commencement and continuance of tabulations.

The state board shall commence the counting, canvassing, and tabulating of all votes cast, including mail ballots, at eight o’clock (8:00) p.m. on any election day at which mail ballots may be cast and within twenty-four (24) hours after any other election or primary, and shall continue and complete the tabulation with all reasonable expedition by using an optical scan count system.
§ 17-22-2. Public sessions for counting – Persons permitted within railed space.

The sessions of the state board for the counting, canvassing, and tabulating provided for in § 17-22-1, and for the opening of the inner certifying envelopes containing mail ballots and for the counting, canvassing, and tabulating of these ballots, shall be public, but no notice or advertisement of these sessions needs to be given. The opening, counting, canvassing, and tabulating shall be done within a railed space in the room in which it takes place, and the board shall admit within the railed space the candidate, or at least one representative of the candidate, for whom votes are at the time being opened, counted, canvassed, or tabulated who may scrutinize the opening, count, canvass, and tabulation in accordance with the rules which may be adopted by the board. The board shall also admit to the opening, counting, canvassing, and tabulating an equal number of representatives of each political party who shall be party voters of the parties represented by them. These representatives, as well as the representatives of candidates, shall be authorized in writing by the chairperson of the state committees of their respective political parties or by the candidates whom they represent, as the case may be. Insofar as applicable, the procedures provided for in this chapter shall be followed by the local boards in the counting and tabulating of municipal mail ballots, except only that in these instances the representatives of political parties shall be appointed by the chairpersons of the city or town committees of their respective political parties. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prevent the board from admitting, in its discretion, other persons and representatives of the press within the railed space during the opening, counting, canvassing, and tabulating.
§ 17-22-3. Deputy sheriffs attending sessions – Disturbance of proceedings.

The sheriff of Providence County shall assign as many of the sheriff’s deputies as the state board may request to attend upon the board during its sessions to preserve order. The orders of the presiding officer of the board at the meetings shall be obeyed by the deputies, and they shall, at the direction of the presiding officer, remove from the room where any session is being held any person not a member of the board. Any person who disturbs or interferes with the proceedings of any session shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
§ 17-22-4. Investigation of returns of local boards.

In case the return made to the state board by any election officer or officers of any town or district meeting contains any statement or information which makes it desirable or proper, in the opinion of the board, to investigate the conduct of the election in the town or district, the board may investigate the truth of the allegations contained in the returns, and of all the circumstances connected with the holding of the election, and shall use in its count, canvass, and tabulation, as the result of the voting at the meeting, the number of votes for the respective candidates and for and against the propositions or questions voted for or on that the investigation, in the state board’s opinion, proves to be correct.
§ 17-22-5. Certificates of election – Statement to secretary of state.

(a) The state board shall immediately, after the result has been ascertained, furnish to each candidate elected a certificate of that candidate’s election, and shall deliver to the secretary of state, who shall keep it on file in the secretary’s office, a statement of:

(1) The number of votes cast in each voting district, town, and city for each candidate;

(2) The total number cast in the state for each of the candidates for electors and for general officers;

(3) The total number cast in each congressional district for each candidate for representative in congress;

(4) The total number cast in each senatorial and representative district for each candidate for senator and representative in the general assembly;

(5) The number of votes cast in each voting district, town, and city for and against any proposed amendment of the Constitution, or question submitted to the electors of the state;

(6) The total number of votes cast in the state for and against any proposed amendment or question;

(7) The names of the respective candidates elected and the offices to which they have been respectively elected;

(8) Whether or not the proposed amendment has been adopted; and

(9) Whether or not any question has been assented to by the electors of the state.

(b) The certificates and statement shall be signed by the board and shall be final and conclusive evidence of the matters contained in them and of the title of the persons declared elected to the offices for which they have severally received certificates of election, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution of this state.
§ 17-22-5.1. Investigation by board of elections prior to certification.

At any time prior to the certification of the results of a particular election, the state board of elections may, upon its own motion, investigate any allegation of error, irregularity, or impropriety in the conduct of any facet of the election which comes to its attention and may, upon its own motion, take appropriate action based upon the findings of the investigation.
§ 17-22-5.2. Certificates of local elections – Statement to secretary of state.

The local board shall immediately, after the result has been ascertained, furnish to the secretary of state a statement of the number of votes cast in the city or town for each candidate, the total number of votes cast in the city or town for and against any proposed amendment to a charter or question, and the names of the respective candidates elected and the offices to which they have been respectively elected.
§ 17-22-6. Certification of results to governor and secretary of state – Failure to elect to general assembly.

The state board shall, immediately after completing the counting, canvass, and tabulating of the votes cast for general officers and senators and representatives in the general assembly and declaring the result, furnish the governor a certificate of the names of the persons who have been elected general officers for the ensuing year, and shall also furnish to the secretary of state a certificate of the names of the persons elected as senators and representatives in the general assembly. Whenever the count, canvass, and tabulation of the board shows that there has been a failure to elect a senator or representative or any of them in any district, the board shall immediately certify the fact to the secretary of state, specifying which of the officers were not elected.
§ 17-22-7. Books of record of votes – Contents.

(a) The board shall keep separate books of record of the votes cast for the different classes of officers which it is its duty to count, canvass, and tabulate, as follows:

(1) A book of record of votes cast for electors of president and vice-president;

(2) A book of record of votes cast for senators and representatives in congress;

(3) A book of record of votes cast for general officers; and

(4) A book of record of the votes cast for each class of officers that may by law subsequently be required to be counted, canvassed, and tabulated by the board.

(b) Each of the respective books shall contain:

(1) A record of the number of votes cast in each voting district for each candidate according to the counting, canvassing, and tabulating of the board;

(2) The number cast in each voting district for each candidate according to the certificates of the moderators or wardens and clerks;

(3) The total number cast for each candidate in each town and city according to the counting and to the certificates;

(4) The total number cast for each candidate in the state or congressional district, as the case may be, according to the counting and the certificates;

(5) A statement of which candidates are elected; and

(6) Any other pertinent facts that the board deems proper.

(c) The board shall also keep a book of record of the votes cast for and against any proposition of amendment of the Constitution and a book of record of the votes cast for and against all questions submitted to the electors of the state, with like detail as provided in this section in relation to votes cast for officers.

(d) Notwithstanding the above, the state board shall report all write-in votes received by persons, not otherwise qualifying to appear on the ballot and receiving less than five (5) votes in a race, as a composite total of all write-in votes cast for said office.
§ 17-22-8. Lists of absentee voters.

The state board, not later than thirty (30) days after any election day at which voting by mail ballot is permitted by chapter 20 of this title, shall prepare and mail to the local board of each city and town a list of names of every voter of the city or town who has voted by mail ballot.
§ 17-22-9. Oath of members and assistants – Penalty for violations.

The members, secretary, and assistants of the state board shall be sworn to the faithful and impartial performance of their duties, and any member, secretary, or assistant who willfully neglects to perform the duties devolved upon him or her by this chapter at the times provided, or who makes any fraudulent count, tabulation, certificate, or statement, or in any way willfully performs his or her duties to defeat the obtaining of a correct count and tabulation of the votes cast, shall be guilty of a felony.
Chapter 17-23 – Election Offenses
§ 17-23-1. Signature and labeling of advertising in periodicals.

No person shall publish or cause to be published in any newspaper or other periodical, either in its advertising or reading columns, any paid matter designed or tending to aid, injure, or defeat any candidate for public office or any question submitted to the voters, unless the name of the chairperson or secretary or the names of two (2) officers of the political or other organization inserting the paid matter, or the name of some voter who is responsible for it, with that person’s residence and the street and number, if any, appear in the paid matter in the nature of a signature. The matter inserted in reading columns shall be preceded by or followed by the word “advertisement” in a separate line, in type not smaller than that of the body type of the newspaper or other periodical.
§ 17-23-2. Signature of posters, fliers, and circulars.

No person shall intentionally write, print, post, or distribute, or cause to be written, printed, posted, or distributed, a circular, flier, or poster designed or tending to injure or defeat any candidate for nomination or election to any public office, by criticizing the candidate’s personal character or political action, or designed or tending to aid, injure, or defeat any question submitted to the voters, unless there appears upon the circular, flier, or poster in a conspicuous place the name of the author and either the names of the chairperson and secretary, or of two (2) officers, of the political or other organization issuing the poster, flier, or circular, or of some voter who is responsible for it, with the voter’s name and residence, and the street and numbers, if any.
§ 17-23-3. Penalty for advertising violations.

Whoever violates any provision of § 17-23-1 or § 17-23-2 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
§ 17-23-4. Fraudulent or repeat voting.

Every person who, in any election, fraudulently votes or attempts to vote, not being qualified, notwithstanding that person’s name may be on the voting list at the polling place where the person votes or attempts to vote; or who votes or attempts to vote in the name of some other person, whether that name is that of a person living or dead, or of a fictitious person; or having voted in one town, ward, senatorial district, representative district, or voting district, whether the person’s vote in that case was legal or not, votes or attempts to vote in the same or in another town, ward, senatorial district, representative district, or voting district; or who fraudulently votes or attempts to vote in a town, ward, senatorial district, representative district, or voting district other than in the town, ward, senatorial district, representative district, or voting district in which the person has his or her “residence”, as defined in § 17-1-3.1, at the time of his or her voting or attempting to vote; or who aids, counsels, or procures any other person to so vote or attempt to vote, shall be guilty of a felony, and no person after conviction of this offense, shall be permitted to vote in any election or upon any proposition pending before the people, or to hold any public office. Voting, for the purposes of this chapter, shall consist in the casting of a vote, or attempting to cast a vote, whether or not the vote has been cast.
§ 17-23-5. Bribery or intimidation of voters – Immunity of witnesses in bribery trials.

Every person who directly or indirectly gives, or offers to agree to give, to any elector or to any person for the benefit of any elector, any sum of money or other valuable consideration for the purpose of inducing the elector to give in or withhold that elector’s vote at any election in this state, or by way of reward for having voted or withheld that elector’s vote, or who uses any threat or employs any means of intimidation for the purpose of influencing the elector to vote or withhold that elector’s vote for or against any candidate or candidates or proposition pending at an election, shall be guilty of a felony, and no person after conviction of this offense, shall be permitted to vote in any election or upon any proposition pending before the people, or to hold any public office; and no evidence given by any witness testifying upon the trial of any charge of bribery shall be used against the person giving the evidence.
§ 17-23-6. Improper influence by employers.

(a) Every person being an employer who, within ninety (90) days of a general election, pays any of his or her employees the salary or wages due them in “pay envelopes” upon which there is written or printed, or in which there is inserted: (1) a notice or information, to the effect that if any particular ticket or candidate is elected or defeated, work in the employer’s place or establishment will cease, in whole or in part, or the employer’s establishment will be closed, or the wages of the employer’s employees will be reduced, or (2) any political motto, device, or argument containing threats, expressed or implied, intended or calculated to influence the political actions or opinions of the employees, or who puts up or otherwise exhibits, in the employer’s establishment or place where the employer’s employees are engaged in labor, any handbill or placard containing any such notice or information or threat, shall be guilty of a felony.

(b) Any person, after conviction of this offense, shall forfeit that person’s right to vote in any election or upon any proposition before the people, or to hold any public office, except that a corporation shall forfeit its charter; and no evidence given by any witness testifying in the trial of any charge of violation of this section shall be used against the person giving the evidence.
§ 17-23-7. Protection of names of major parties.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any club or society or association, whether incorporated or not, to include in its name the word “republican” or “democrat” or any designation indicating its affiliation with a political party, unless:

(1) If it is state or congressional district wide in its membership or activities, it has the written consent for the inclusion of the state central committee of the republican or democratic party, as the case may be;

(2) If it is city or town wide in its membership or activities, it has the written consent for the inclusion of the city or town committee of the republican or democratic party, as the case may be, of the city or town in which its activities are or are to be centered;

(3) If it is ward or voting district wide in its membership or activities, it has a written consent for the inclusion of the ward committee of the republican or democratic party, as the case may be, of the ward in which its activities are or are to be centered;

(4) If it is senatorial or representative district wide in its membership or activities, it has the written consent for the inclusion of the district committee of the republican or democratic party, as the case may be, of the senatorial or representative district, as the case may be, in which its activities are or are to be centered.

(b) Every member and every officer of any club, society, or association, whether incorporated or not, violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

(c) Upon the written request of one member of the committee from which consent for the inclusion should have been obtained as provided in this section, the attorney general shall institute appropriate court proceedings to prevent continued violations of this section.
§ 17-23-8. Failure to furnish certificate of election.

Every city or town clerk or local board required by law to furnish any city, town, ward, or voting district officer elect with a proper certificate of the officer’s election who neglects or refuses to do so, as soon as possible after the election, shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
§ 17-23-9. Violations as to nomination papers or withdrawals – Protection of party emblems.

Any person who falsely makes, or willfully defaces or destroys, any certificate of nomination or nomination paper, or any part of it, or any letter of withdrawal, or files any certificate of nomination or nomination paper or letter of withdrawal, knowing it or any part of it to be falsely made, or suppresses any certificate of nomination or nomination paper or letter of withdrawal, or any part of it, which has been duly filed, and any person or persons who prints, stamps, or affixes, or causes to be printed, stamped, or affixed, upon any letterhead, circular, or pamphlet used for political purposes, or upon political literature of any nature, a representation of the chosen emblem or device of any political party in this state without having first obtained the consent, in writing, of the chairperson of the state central committee of the political party whose chosen emblem or device is sought to be used for these purposes, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-23-10. Violations by public officers generally.

Any public officer, upon whom a duty is imposed by this title, who willfully neglects to perform his or her duty, or who performs it in a way that hinders the objects of this title, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
§ 17-23-11. Limitation of prosecutions – Payment to complainant.

All prosecutions for offenses against the provisions of this chapter shall commence within one year after the offenses have been committed, and not afterwards. And upon the presentation of a certificate of the clerk of any court of the final conviction in the court of any person under the provisions of this chapter, the state controller is authorized and directed to draw his or her order on the general treasurer for the sum of fifty dollars ($50), and deliver the sum to the person complainant in the prosecution.
§ 17-23-12. Qualification of person obtaining signatures.

(a) No person, except one qualified to sign a petition for the adoption of a home rule charter as provided in § 6 of article XIII of the Constitution of this state, shall circulate any petition, or obtain signatures on any petition, and any petition circulated, or any signature obtained, by any unqualified person shall be null and void for all purposes.

(b) Nor shall any person not qualified as provided in subsection (a) of this section, obtain signatures on nomination papers of any elector seeking to be a candidate at any election held for the purpose of selecting the members of a charter commission, and any signature appearing on any nomination paper which has been obtained by one not qualified shall be null and void for all purposes.

(c) Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor; and any person who, knowing that he or she is not qualified pursuant to the Constitution, willfully signs any petition for the adoption of a home rule charter, or the nomination papers of any candidate for a position on a charter commission, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.
§ 17-23-13. Sound equipment.

No sound equipment advocating the election or defeat of any candidate or the approval or disapproval of any referenda shall be allowed within five hundred (500) feet of any polling place.
§ 17-23-14. Political advertising.

No newspaper, periodical, radio, or television station shall charge for a political advertisement a sum greater than that charged by the medium for advertisement if it were nonpolitical. The attorney general shall enforce the provisions of this section and, upon conviction, a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500) shall be imposed.
§ 17-23-15. Polling or surveying of voter opinion.

(a) No person shall conduct any form of poll or survey of voter opinion or voter conduct within a building or within fifty (50) feet of the entrance or entrances to a building in which voting is being conducted at any primary or election; provided, that nothing in this section shall be deemed to apply to or to affect the activities of election officials or election inspectors, or “checkers”, “runners”, and “watchers” as defined in § 17-19-22.

(b) Notice of this section shall be posted in a conspicuous place at all polling places.
§ 17-23-16. Guaranteed access in exchange for contributions prohibited.

As defined in § 17-2-1, no general officer and no candidate for a general office shall solicit campaign contributions by guaranteeing to all contributors of a specified minimum amount of money, as a quid pro quo for their contributions, the right to meet with the general officer or candidate on a predetermined number of occasions. The phrase “the right to meet” shall not be construed to include the holding of a one time public fundraising event at which the general officer or candidate is present.
§ 17-23-17. Violations with respect to elections.

(a) Any person is guilty of a felony who:

(1) Makes a declaration of candidacy or obtains, circulates, or causes to be circulated his or her nomination papers for an office, knowing or with good reason to know that he or she is not qualified as provided in this title to be his or her party’s candidate for the office;

(2) Knowingly or without reasonable and proper investigation makes any substantial misstatement in any declaration of candidacy, nomination paper, or affidavit provided for in this title;

(3) Signs a nomination paper when he or she knows that he or she is not qualified to sign;

(4) Votes or attempts to vote at any election when he or she knows or should know that he or she is not qualified to vote;

(5) Votes or attempts to vote more than once at any election, or votes or attempts to vote in more than one political party’s primary on the same day;

(6) Votes or attempts to vote at any election under the name of any other person;

(7) Willfully hinders the orderly conduct of any election;

(8) Gives a false answer to any election official relative to his or her right to vote at the election;

(9) Aids or abets a person not entitled to vote at any election in voting or attempting to vote under a name other than the voter’s name or in voting twice upon the voter’s name;

(10) Willfully alters or makes any change, erasure, or additional check upon the voting list used or to be used at any election; or

(11) Willfully violates any provisions of chapters 12 – 15 of this title for which violation a specific penalty is not provided.

(b) Any person who unlawfully and knowingly signs the name of any other person on any nomination papers shall be guilty of a felony.

(c) Any public officer or officer of a political party who willfully violates any of the provisions of chapters 12 – 15 of this title, or refuses or willfully neglects and omits to perform, in the manner and within the time prescribed, any duty imposed upon the officer by these chapters, or suffers or permits any alteration, erasure, or additional check to be made upon a voting list in the officer’s custody or control, shall be guilty of a felony.
§ 17-23-18. Political advertising from official budgets prohibited.

(a) No elected official shall permit the expenditure of public funds from any official budget under his or her authority for any publication, advertisement, broadcast, or telecast of his or her photograph, voice, or other likeness to be broadcast or distributed to the public during the one hundred and twenty (120) days preceding any primary or general election in which he or she is a candidate.

(b) This section shall not be construed to prohibit an official from appearing on regular capitol television programming operated by the general assembly or on television stations operated by the Rhode Island PBS Foundation during the period of time or programming of regular or special meetings of city or town councils or any local governmental board, agency or other entity.
§ 17-23-19. Referenda advertisements.

Media outlets in Rhode Island that sell time for advertisements pertaining to referenda questions at an election shall require the purchasers of the advertisements to prominently display the state in which the referenda election is to be held.
Chapter 17-24 – Compelling Performance of Election Duties
§ 17-24-1. Mandamus by supreme court – Replacement of officer refusing to obey.

Whenever any person upon whom is imposed any duty connected with the calling, warning, or conducting of any town, ward, or district meeting, or with the canvassing of the lists of voters for use at these meetings, or with the counting of the votes cast at the meetings, or the declaring of the result of the votes, fails, neglects, or refuses to perform his or her duty within the time specified by law for its performance, the supreme court shall immediately, upon the petition of any citizen of the city or town where the failure, neglect, or refusal occurred, issue its writ of mandamus ordering the person failing, neglecting, or refusing to perform the duties in question within twenty-four (24) hours from the time of the issuance of the writ; and if the failure, neglect, or refusal continues beyond the twenty-four (24) hours specified in the writ, the court shall immediately appoint some suitable person to at once perform the duties, and the person refusing to obey the writ of mandamus shall, in addition to the penalties by law for the failure, neglect, or refusal to perform his or her duties, be liable to those further penalties for contempt of court that the court may impose for failure to obey the writ.
§ 17-24-2. Performance of duties by supreme court appointee.

The person appointed by the court, as provided in § 17-24-1, shall immediately proceed to perform the duties devolved upon him or her by the court, and the acts done by him or her in pursuance of his or her appointment shall be as effectual and valid in all respects as if the acts had been done and performed by the person failing, neglecting, or refusing, at the time and in the manner provided by law.
§ 17-24-3. Powers of court appointee – Hindering performance.

The person appointed by the court, as provided in § 17-24-1, shall be deemed an officer of the court and shall have full and free access to all records and papers necessary to enable him or her to perform the duties devolved upon him or her by the court, and any person interfering with or in any way hindering his or her discharge of his or her duties shall be liable to those penalties that may be prescribed by the court for contempt, and it shall be the duty of the sheriffs of the several counties and their deputies to see that the provisions of this chapter are enforced within their respective counties.
Chapter 17-25 – Rhode Island Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting
§ 17-25-1. Short title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Rhode Island Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act”.
§ 17-25-2. Declaration of policy.

It is declared to be in the public interest and to be the policy of the state to require the reporting of certain contributions received and expenditures made to aid or promote the nomination, election, or defeat of all candidates for public office.
§ 17-25-3. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:

(1) “Business entity” means any corporation, whether for profit or not for profit, domestic corporation or foreign corporation, as defined in § 7-1.2-106, financial institution, cooperative, association, receivership, trust, holding company, firm, joint stock company, public utility, sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, or any other entity recognized by the laws of the United States and/or the state of Rhode Island for the purpose of doing business. The term “business entity” shall not include a political action committee organized pursuant to this chapter or a political party committee or an authorized campaign committee of a candidate or office holder. The term “business entity” shall not include any exempt nonprofit as defined herein or any organization described in § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time, for the purposes of chapter 25.3 of title 17.

(2) “Candidate” means any individual who undertakes any action, whether preliminary or final, which is necessary under the law to qualify for nomination for election or election to public office, and/or any individual who receives a contribution or makes an expenditure, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive a contribution or make an expenditure, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to any public office, whether or not the specific public office for which he or she will seek nomination or election is known at the time the contribution is received or the expenditure is made and whether or not he or she has announced his or her candidacy or filed a declaration of candidacy at that time.

(3) “Conduit” or “intermediary” means any person who receives and forwards an earmarked contribution to a candidate or a candidate’s authorized committee, except as otherwise limited in this chapter.

(4) “Contributions” and “expenditures” include all transfers of money, credit or debit card transactions, on-line or electronic payment systems such as “pay pal”, paid personal services, or other thing of value to or by any candidate, committee of a political party, or political action committee or ballot question advocate. A loan shall be considered a contribution of money until it is repaid.

(5) “Earmarked” means a designation, instruction, or encumbrance, whether direct or indirect, express or implied, oral or written, that results in all or any part of a contribution or expenditure being made to, or expended on behalf of, a clearly identified candidate or a candidate’s authorized committee.

(6) “Election” means any primary, general, or special election or town meeting for any public office of the state, municipality, or district, or for the determination of any question submitted to the voters of the state, municipality, or district.

(7) “Election cycle” means the twenty-four month (24) period commencing on January 1 of odd number years and ending on December 31 of even number years; provided, with respect to the public financing of election campaigns of general officers under §§ 17-25-19, 17-25-20, and 17-25-25, “election cycle” means the forty-eight month (48) period commencing on January 1 of odd numbered years and ending December 31 of even numbered years.

(8) “In-kind contributions” means the monetary value of other things of value or paid personal services donated to, or benefiting, any person required to file reports with the board of elections.

(9) “Other thing of value” means any item of tangible real or personal property of a fair-market value in excess of one hundred dollars ($100).

(10) “Paid personal services” means personal services of every kind and nature, the cost or consideration for which is paid or provided by someone other than the committee or candidate for whom the services are rendered, but shall not include personal services provided without compensation by persons volunteering their time.

(11) “Person” means an individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation, union, charity, and/or any other organization. The term “person” shall not include any exempt nonprofit as defined herein or any organization described in § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time, for the purposes of chapter 25.3 of title 17 only.

(12) “Political action committee” means any group of two (2) or more persons that accepts any contributions to be used for advocating the election or defeat of any candidate or candidates. Only political action committees that have accepted contributions from fifteen (15) or more persons in amounts of ten dollars ($10.00) or more within an election cycle shall be permitted to make contributions, and those committees must make contributions to at least five (5) candidates for state or local office within an election cycle.

(13) “Public office” means any state, municipal, school, or district office or other position that is filled by popular election, except political party offices. “Political party offices” means any state, city, town, ward, or representative or senatorial district committee office of a political party or delegate to a political party convention, or any similar office.

(14) “State” means state of Rhode Island.

(15) “Testimonial affair” means an affair of any kind or nature including, but not limited to, cocktail parties, breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, dances, picnics, or similar affairs expressly and directly intended to raise campaign funds in behalf of a candidate to be used for nomination or election to a public office in this state, or expressly and directly intended to raise funds in behalf of any state or municipal committee of a political party, or expressly and directly intended to raise funds in behalf of any political action committee.

(16) “Electioneering communication” means any print, broadcast, cable, satellite, or electronic media communication not coordinated, as set forth in § 17-25-23, with any candidate, authorized candidate campaign committee, or political party committee and that unambiguously identifies a candidate or referendum and is made either within sixty (60) days before a general or special election or town meeting for the office sought by the candidate or referendum; or thirty (30) days before a primary election, for the office sought by the candidate; and is targeted to the relevant electorate.

(i) A communication that refers to a clearly identified candidate or referendum is “targeted to the relevant electorate” if the communication can be received by two thousand (2,000) or more persons in the district the candidate seeks to represent or the constituency voting on the referendum.

(ii) Exceptions: The term “electioneering communication” does not include:

(A) A communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate;

(B) A communication that constitutes a candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to regulations adopted by the board of elections or that solely promotes such a debate or forum and is made by or on behalf of the person sponsoring the debate or forum;

(C) A communication made by any business entity to its members, owners, stockholders, or employees;

(D) A communication over the internet, except for (I) Communications placed for a fee on the website of another person, business entity, or political action committee; and (II) Websites formed primarily for the purpose, or whose primary purpose is, to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or the passage or defeat of a referendum; or

(E) Any other communication exempted under such regulations as the board of elections may promulgate (consistent with the requirements of this paragraph) to ensure the appropriate implementation of this paragraph.

(17) “Independent expenditure” means an expenditure that, when taken as a whole, expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, or the passage or defeat of a referendum, or amounts to the functional equivalent of such express advocacy, and is in no way coordinated, as set forth in § 17-25-23, with any candidate’s campaign, authorized candidate committee, or political party committee. An expenditure amounts to the functional equivalent of express advocacy if it can only be interpreted by a reasonable person as advocating the election, passage, or defeat of a candidate or referendum, taking into account whether the communication mentions a candidate or referendum and takes a position on a candidate’s character, qualifications, or fitness for office. An independent expenditure is not a contribution to that candidate or committee.

(i) Exceptions: The term “independent expenditure” does not include:

(A) A communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate;

(B) A communication that constitutes a candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to regulations adopted by the board of elections or that solely promotes such a debate or forum and is made by or on behalf of the person sponsoring the debate or forum;

(C) A communication made by any business entity to its members, owners, stockholders, or employees;

(D) A communication over the internet, except for (I) Communications placed for a fee on the website of another person, business entity, or political action committee; and (II) Websites formed primarily for the purpose, or whose primary purpose is, to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or the passage or defeat of a referendum; or

(E) Any other communication exempted under such regulations as the board of elections may promulgate (consistent with the requirements of this paragraph) to ensure the appropriate implementation of this paragraph.

(18) “Covered transfer” means any transfer or payment of funds by any person, business entity, or political action committee to another person, business entity, or political action committee if the person, business entity, or political action committee making the transfer: (i) Designates, requests, or suggests that the amounts be used for independent expenditures or electioneering communications or making a transfer to another person for the purpose of making or paying for such independent expenditures or electioneering communications; (ii) Made such transfer or payment in response to a solicitation or other request for a transfer or payment for the making of or paying for independent expenditures or electioneering communications or making a transfer to another person for the purpose of making or paying for such independent expenditures or electioneering communications; (iii) Engaged in discussions with the recipient of the transfer or payment regarding independent expenditures or electioneering communications or making a transfer to another person for the purpose of making or paying for such independent expenditures or electioneering communications; or (iv) Made independent expenditures or electioneering communications in an aggregate amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more during the two-year (2) period ending on the date of the transfer or payment, or knew or had reason to know that the person receiving the transfer or payment made such independent expenditures or electioneering communications in such an aggregate amount during that two-year (2) period.

(A) Exceptions: The term “covered transfer” does not include:

(I) A transfer or payment made by a person, business entity, or political action committee in the ordinary course of any trade or business conducted by the person, business entity, or political action committee or in the form of investments made by the person, business entity, or political action committee; or

(II) A transfer or payment made by a person, business entity, or political action committee if the person, business entity, or political action committee making the transfer prohibited, in writing, the use of such transfer or payment for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers and the recipient of the transfer or payment agreed to follow the prohibition and deposited the transfer or payment in an account that is segregated from any account used to make independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers.

(19) For the purposes of chapter 25.3 of title 17, “donation” means all transfers of money, credit or debit card transactions, on-line or electronic payment systems such as “pay pal”, paid personal services, or other thing of value to or by any person, business entity, or political action committee. A loan shall be considered a donation of money until it is repaid.

(20) For the purposes of chapter 25.3 of title 17, “donor” means a person, business entity, or political action committee that makes a donation.

(21) “Exempt nonprofit” means any organization described in § 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that spends an aggregate annual amount of no more than ten percent (10%) of its annual expenses or no more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000), whichever is less, on independent expenditures, electioneering communications, and covered transfers as defined herein and certifies the same to the board of elections seven (7) days before and after a primary election and seven (7) days before and after a general or special election.

(22) For purposes of chapter 25.3 of title 17, “referendum” means the same as the definition set forth in § 17-5-1.
§ 17-25-4. Applicability.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply in any primary, general, or special election or town meeting for any public office of the state, municipality, or district or for the determination of any question submitted to the voters of the state, municipality, or district.
§ 17-25-5. Duties and powers of the board of elections.

(a) The board of elections is authorized to perform any duties that are necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter. Without limiting the generality of this provision, the board is authorized and empowered to:

(1) Develop forms for the making of the required reports to be filed with the board of elections, which form shall contain a notice setting forth the times and dates when reports are required to be filed;

(2) Prepare and publish a manual for all candidates, political party committees, political action committees and ballot questions advocates prescribing the requirements of the law, including uniform methods of bookkeeping and reporting and requirements as to the length of time that any person required to keep any records pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall retain these records, or any class or category of records, or any other documents;

(3) Adopt rules and regulations to carry out the purposes of this chapter;

(4)(i) Prepare and make available for public inspection, through the office of the board of elections, summaries of all reports grouped according to candidates and political parties;

(ii) Make all campaign finance reports available electronically on the board of election’s website no later than two (2) business days after the reports are received by the board of elections;

(iii) Take any steps that may be necessary or appropriate to make all campaign finance reports available in an electronic searchable format on the board of election’s website no later than one business day after the reports are received by the board of elections commencing with the first quarterly reporting period in 2010.

(5) Prepare and publish, prior to May 1 or as soon as practicable thereafter of each year, an annual report to the general assembly;

(6) Ascertain whether candidates or political party committees, political action committees or ballot questions advocates, have failed to file reports or have filed defective reports; and may for good cause shown extend the dates upon which reports are required to be filed;

(7)(i) Conduct confidential investigations and/or closed hearings in accordance with this title relative to alleged violations of this chapter either on its own initiative or upon receipt of a verified written complaint, which complaint shall, under pain and penalty of perjury, be based upon actual knowledge and not merely on information and belief. Upon completion of its investigation and/or hearings, if the board has reason to believe that a violation of this chapter has occurred or that a complainant has willfully sworn or affirmed falsely, the chairperson of the board of elections is authorized to and shall issue to the person found to be in violation of this chapter a summons pursuant to § 12-7-11 to appear before the division of the district court where the person resides and shall be prosecuted by the attorney general. Any action taken by the board as a result of a written verified complaint shall, whenever possible, be completed no later than five (5) business days after its receipt, and if no violation is found to exist, all records and papers shall be kept confidential unless further legal proceedings are instituted.

(ii) The confidentiality of an audit, investigation, hearing, and/or findings may be waived in writing only by the person or persons complained of or audited. However, once an audit is complete and presented to the board, the audit will be a matter of public record.

(8) Conduct compliance reviews and audits of campaign accounts as necessary, and in a manner consistent with the provisions of this chapter.

(b) The board of elections shall take any steps that may be necessary or appropriate to furnish timely and adequate information, in appropriate printed summaries and in any other form that it may see fit, to every candidate or prospective candidate for public office who becomes or is likely to become subject to the provisions of this chapter, and to every treasurer duly designated under the provisions of this chapter, informing them of their actual or prospective obligations and responsibilities under this chapter.

(c)(1) The board of elections is authorized, upon written request, to render written advisory opinions as to whether a given set of facts and circumstances set forth in the request would constitute a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, or whether a given set of facts and circumstances set forth in the request would render any person subject to any of the reporting requirements of this chapter; provided, that the requirement for a written opinion may be voluntarily waived by the candidate or committee.

(2) Unless an extension of time is consented to by any person who submits a written request for an advisory opinion, the board of elections shall, whenever possible, render its written advisory opinion within five (5) business days of receipt of the request.

(d)(1) For each quarterly report required to be filed, the board shall send a postcard by regular mail to each person and entity required to file a report, which will notify the person or entity that a report required to be filed is due within fourteen (14) days.

(2) The failure to receive this notice shall not absolve the person or entity of the reporting requirements contained in this chapter.
§ 17-25-5.1. Manual of legal requirements.

The board of elections shall prepare and publish a manual prescribing the requirements of the law, and the secretary of state shall have copies of the manual available for individuals filing candidacy papers.
§ 17-25-5.2. Segregation of campaign funds.

(a) All campaign funds received and expended by a candidate, office holder, treasurer, or deputy treasurer, subject to the provisions of this chapter, shall be segregated from all other accounts. The candidate or office holder must maintain a separate campaign account, which shall not contain any non-campaign funds, at a financial institution that has a physical branch within this state. The comingling of a candidate’s personal or business funds with campaign funds is expressly prohibited. As used herein, the term “financial institution” includes a bank or a credit union.

(b) Applicability to political action committees. The provisions of this section shall apply to political action committees, as well as to individual candidates and office holders.
§ 17-25-6. Repealed.
§ 17-25-7. Contents of reports to be filed by treasurers of candidates and committees.

(a) Each campaign treasurer of a candidate, each state and municipal committee of a political party, and each political action committee shall keep accurate records and make a full report, upon a form prescribed by the board of elections, of all contributions received, and expenditures made, by it in excess of a total of one hundred dollars ($100) from any one source within a calendar year, in furtherance of the nomination, election, or defeat of any candidate or the approval or rejection of any question submitted to the voters, or at any financial town meeting, financial town referendum, or other election at which amendments to a city or town charter are proposed, during the period from the date of the last report, or in the case of the initial report, beginning on the date of the appointment of the campaign treasurer for state and municipal committees and political action committees and on the date a person becomes a “candidate” as defined in § 17-25-3(2) for individual candidates. The report shall contain the name, address, and place of employment of each person or source from whom the contributions and expenditures in excess of one hundred dollars ($100) were received or made and the amount contributed or expended by each person or source. The report shall be filed with the board of elections on the dates designated in § 17-25-11. The campaign treasurer of the candidate or committee reporting shall certify to the correctness of each report. Notwithstanding any other provisions contained in this title, this subsection shall apply to any person or entity advocating the approval or rejection of any question presented to voters at any financial town meeting, financial town referendum, or other election at which amendments to a city or town charter are proposed, which shall file reports of contributions or expenditures in accordance with the filing schedule established by § 17-25-11 if the total of the money so expended exceeds one hundred dollars ($100) in a calendar year. As used in this subsection, the word “entity” means any political action committee, political party committee, authorized campaign committee of a candidate or officer holder, corporation, whether for profit, not-for-profit, or exempt nonprofit pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, domestic corporation or foreign corporation, as defined in § 7-1.2-106, financial institution, cooperative, association, receivership, partnership, committee, union, charity, trust, holding company, firm, joint stock company, public utility, sole proprietorship, limited partnership, or any other entity recognized by the laws of the United States and/or the state of Rhode Island.

(b) Each state and municipal committee of a political party shall also file with the board of elections, not later than March 1 of each year, an annual report setting forth in the aggregate all contributions received and all expenditures made during the previous calendar year, whether or not these expenditures were made, incurred, or authorized in furtherance of the election or defeat of any candidate. The treasurer of the committee or organization reporting shall certify to the correctness of each report.

(c) Any report filed pursuant to the provisions of this section shall include contributions received from any “testimonial affair”, as defined in § 17-25-3, held since the date of the most recent report filed.
§ 17-25-7.1. Repealed.
§ 17-25-7.2. Personal use of campaign funds prohibited.

(a) The personal use by any elected public office holder or by any candidate for public office, as defined in § 17-25-3, of campaign funds contributed after April 29, 1992, is prohibited. For the purposes of this section, “personal use” is defined as any use other than expenditures related to gaining or holding public office and for which the candidate for public office or elected public official would be required to treat the amount of the expenditure as gross income under § 61 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. § 61, or any subsequent corresponding Internal Revenue Code of the United States, as from time to time amended.

(b) Expenditures that are specifically prohibited under this chapter include:

(1) Any residential or household items, supplies, or expenditures, including mortgage, rent, or utility payments for any part of any personal residence of a candidate or officeholder or a member of the candidate’s or officeholder’s family;

(2) Mortgage, rent, or utility payments for any part of any non-residential property that is owned by a candidate or officeholder or a member of a candidate’s or officeholder’s family and used for campaign purposes, to the extent the payments exceed the fair-market value of the property usage;

(3) Funeral, cremation, or burial expenses, including any expenses related to deaths within a candidate’s or officeholder’s family;

(4) Clothing, other than items of de minimis value that are used in the campaign;

(5) Tuition payments;

(6) Dues, fees, or gratuities at a country club, health club, recreational facility or other nonpolitical organization, unless they are part of a specific fundraising event that takes place on the organization’s premises;

(7) Salary payments to a member of a candidate’s family, unless the family member is providing bona fide services to the campaign. If a family member provides bona fide services to a campaign, any salary payments in excess of the fair-market value of the services provided is personal use;

(8) Admission to a sporting event, concert, theater, or other form of entertainment, unless part of a specific campaign or officeholder activity;

(9) Payment of any fines, fees, or penalties assessed pursuant to this chapter.

(c) Any expense that results from campaign or officeholder activity is permitted use of campaign funds. Such expenditures may include:

(1) The defrayal of ordinary and necessary expenses of a candidate or officeholder;

(2) Office expenses and equipment, provided the expenditures and the use of the equipment can be directly attributable to the campaign or the officeholder’s duties and responsibilities;

(3) Donations to charitable organizations, provided the candidate or officeholder does not personally benefit from the donation or receive compensation from the recipient organization;

(4) Travel expenses for an officeholder, provided that the travel is undertaken as an ordinary and necessary expense of seeking, holding, or maintaining public office, or seeking, holding, or maintaining a position within the legislature or other publicly elected body. If a candidate or officeholder uses campaign funds to pay expenses associated with travel that involves both personal activities and campaign or officeholder activities, the incremental expenses that result from the personal activities are personal use, unless the person(s) benefiting from this use reimburse(s) the campaign account within thirty (30) days for the amount of the incremental expenses;

(5) Gifts of nominal value and donations of a nominal amount made on a special occasion such as a holiday, graduation, marriage, retirement, or death, unless made to a member of the candidate’s or officeholder’s family;

(6) Meal expenses that are incurred as part of a campaign activity or as a part of a function that is related to the candidate’s or officeholder’s responsibilities, including meals between and among candidates and/or officeholders that are incurred as an ordinary and necessary expense of seeking, holding, or maintaining public office, or seeking, holding, or maintaining a position within the legislature or other publicly elected body;

(7) Food and beverages that are purchased as part of a campaign or officeholder activity;

(8) Communication access expenses that are incurred as part of a campaign activity and operation to ensure that deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens are fully participating, are volunteers, and/or are otherwise maintaining a position with the campaign committee. Examples of communication access expenses include, but are not limited to, the following: captioning on television advertisements; video clips; sign language interpreters; computer-aided real-time (CART) services; and assistive listening devices.

(d) Any campaign funds not used to pay for the expenses of gaining or holding public office may:

(1) Be maintained in a campaign account(s);

(2) Be donated to a candidate for public office, to a political organization, or to a political action committee, subject to the limitation on contributions in § 17-25-10.1;

(3) Be transferred, in whole or in part, into a newly established political action committee or ballot question advocate;

(4) Be donated to a tax-exempt charitable organization as that term is used in § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. § 501, or any subsequent, corresponding internal revenue code of the United States as from time to time amended;

(5) Be donated to the state of Rhode Island; or

(6) Be returned to the donor; provided, however:

(e) Any funds remaining in a campaign account(s) of a candidate or officeholder, or former candidate or former officeholder, who dies, after repayment of loans and accounts payable, shall be disposed, in accordance with the instructions in writing, on a form prescribed by the board of elections, which funds may:

(1) Be donated to a candidate for public office, to a political organization, or to a political action committee, subject to the limitation on contributions in § 17-25-10.1;

(2) Be transferred, in whole or in part, into a newly established political action committee or ballot question advocate;

(3) Be donated to a tax-exempt charitable organization as that term is used in § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. § 501, or any subsequent, corresponding internal revenue code of the United States as from time to time amended; or

(4) Be returned to the donor.

(5) The candidate’s or officeholder’s, or former candidate’s or former officeholder’s, campaign account(s) shall be dissolved by the board of elections;

(6) Any penalties assessed to the candidate or officeholder, or former candidate or former officeholder, that are outstanding at the time of their death shall be waived by the board of elections.
§ 17-25-7.3. Testimonial proceeds intended for personal use prohibited.

It is unlawful for any candidate for public office, as defined in § 17-25-3, or any elected public office holder to accept the proceeds of any testimonial, as defined in § 17-25-3, for personal use, as defined in § 17-25-7.2, which were received after April 29, 1992. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the use of testimonials for the lawful purpose of raising campaign funds.
§ 17-25-7.4. Limitations on repayment of loans.

Campaign contributions received pursuant to this chapter shall not be used to repay cumulative personal loans that were made on or after April 29, 1992, to a campaign by a candidate in excess of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) during an election cycle.
§ 17-25-7.5. Electronic reporting – Declaration of purpose.

The State of Rhode Island is committed to facilitating public access to reports of campaign contributions and expenditures by candidates for public office and other entities required to file campaign finance reports.
§ 17-25-7.6. Electronic reporting.

(a) The filing of campaign finance reports to the board of elections shall commence in accordance with the following schedule:

(1) Candidates for general office shall commence filing campaign finance reports electronically beginning with the report required to be filed for the first quarterly reporting period in 2002.

(2) All other candidates for public office and political parties, other than state political parties, who raise or expend more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) annually, or whose report shows a balance of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or more in their campaign fund shall commence filing campaign finance reports electronically beginning with the second quarterly reporting period in 2008; provided, that all candidates may commence filing campaign finance reports electronically beginning with the first report required to be filed for the first quarterly reporting period in 2002.

(3) State political parties, political action committees and vendors required to file campaign finance reports and who raise or expend more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) annually, or whose report shows a balance of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or more in their campaign fund shall do so commencing with the first report required to be filed for the first quarterly reporting period in 2002.

(b) The board of elections shall have the authority to adopt regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this section.

(c) Notwithstanding anything else in this section and subject to the implementation of an electronic reporting and tracking system, the board of elections shall have the authority to delay implementation of the requirements of this section by up to ninety (90) days.
§ 17-25-8. Appointment of campaign treasurer by candidate – Filings.

(a) Each candidate in an election shall file a “notice of organization” with the board of elections and appoint one campaign treasurer before receiving any contribution or expending any money in furtherance or aid of the candidate’s candidacy. The “notice of organization” shall include the name and address of the candidate, the campaign treasurer and the committee being established.

(b) A candidate may appoint deputy campaign treasurers as required. The candidate shall file the names and addresses of deputy campaign treasurers with the board of elections.

(c) A candidate may remove a campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer. In the case of the death, resignation, or removal of a campaign treasurer, the candidate shall appoint a successor as soon as practicable and shall file his or her name and address with the board of elections within ten (10) days. A candidate may serve as his or her own campaign treasurer, and upon failure to designate a treasurer, the candidate shall be designated his or her own treasurer by the board of elections.
§ 17-25-8.1. Appointment of treasurer by political action committee – Filings.

(a) Each political action committee shall appoint one campaign treasurer before receiving any contribution or expending any money for the purpose of advocating the election or defeat of any candidate.

(b) A campaign treasurer of a political action committee may appoint deputy campaign treasurers as may be required. The committees shall file the names and addresses of the deputy campaign treasurers with the board of elections.

(c) Any political action committee may remove at any time its campaign treasurer. In the case of the death, resignation, or removal of its campaign treasurer, any committee shall appoint a successor as soon as practicable and shall file his or her name and address with the board of elections within ten (10) days.
§ 17-25-9. Designation of campaign treasurer of political party committees – Filings.

(a) Each state and municipal committee of a political party shall, on or before January 31 of each year, designate a campaign treasurer and shall file the name and address of that person with the board of elections.

(b) A campaign treasurer of the state or municipal committee of a political party may appoint deputy campaign treasurers as may be required. The committees shall file the names and addresses of the deputy campaign treasurers with the board of elections.

(c) Any state or municipal committee of a political party may remove at any time its campaign treasurer. In the case of the death, resignation, or removal of its campaign treasurer, any committee shall appoint a successor as soon as practicable and file his or her name and address with the board of elections within ten (10) days.
§ 17-25-10. Lawful methods of contributing to support of candidates – Reporting – Disposition of anonymous contributions.

(a) No contribution shall be made or received, and no expenditures shall be directly made or incurred, to support or defeat a candidate except through:

(1) The candidate or duly appointed campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer of the candidate;

(2) The duly appointed campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer of a political party committee;

(3) The duly appointed campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer of a political action committee.

(b) It shall be lawful for any person, not otherwise prohibited by law and not acting in concert with any other person or group, to expend personally from that person’s own funds a sum that is not to be repaid to him or her for any purpose not prohibited by law to support or defeat a candidate; provided, that any person making the expenditure shall be required to report all of his or her expenditures and expenses, if the total of the money so expended exceeds one hundred dollars ($100) within a calendar year, to the board of elections within seven (7) days of making the expenditure and to the campaign treasurer of the candidate or political party committee on whose behalf the expenditure or contribution was made, or to his or her deputy, within seven (7) days of making the expenditure. The treasurer or his or her deputy shall cause the expenditures and expenses to be included in his or her reports to the board of elections. Whether a person is “acting in concert with any other person or group” for the purposes of this subsection shall be determined by application of the standards set forth in § 17-25-23.

(c) Any anonymous contribution received by a candidate, campaign treasurer, or deputy campaign treasurer shall not be used or expended, but shall be returned to the donor, if the donor’s identity can be ascertained; if not, the contribution shall escheat to the state.
§ 17-25-10.1. Political contributions – Limitations.

(a)(1) No person, other than the candidate to his or her own campaign, nor any political action committee shall make a contribution or contributions to any candidate, as defined by § 17-25-3, or political action committee or political party committee that, in the aggregate, exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) within a calendar year; nor shall any political action committee make such contributions that in the aggregate, exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) within a calendar year; nor shall any candidate or any political action committee or any political party committee accept a contribution or contributions that, in the aggregate, exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) within a calendar year from any one person or political action committee.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, a person or political action committee or political party committee may contribute an amount that in the aggregate, does not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) within a calendar year to a political party committee, which funds can be utilized for organizational and party building activities, but shall not be used for contributions to candidates state and local for public office.

(b) Contributions to a named candidate made to any political committee authorized by that candidate to accept contributions on the candidate’s behalf shall be considered to be contributions made to the candidate. Contributions to a candidate by a political committee for another person shall be considered to be contributions by that person.

(c) Expenditures made by any person in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, the candidate’s authorized political committees, or their agents shall be considered to be a contribution to the candidate.

(d) The financing by any person of the dissemination, distribution, or republication, in whole or in part, of any broadcast or any written, graphic, or other form of campaign materials prepared by the candidate, the candidate’s campaign committees, or their authorized agents shall be considered to be a contribution to a candidate.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict political party committees organized pursuant to this title from making contributions to the candidates of that political party; provided, that these contributions, other than allowable “in-kind” contributions, shall not exceed, in the aggregate, twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) to any one candidate within a calendar year; nor shall any candidate accept a contribution or contributions, other than allowable “in-kind” contributions, that, in the aggregate, exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) within a calendar year from all committees of his or her political party. There shall be no restriction on the amount of “in-kind” contributions that a political party committee may make to a candidate of its political party; provided, that for the purposes of this subsection only, the cost of any preparation and airing of television and/or radio advertisements and the cost of any print advertisements shall not be considered an allowable “in-kind” contribution and shall be subject to the aggregate limitation of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

(f)(1) A contribution from an individual’s dependent children, as defined in § 36-14-2, shall be deemed a contribution from the individual for the purpose of determining whether aggregate contributions exceed either the one hundred dollar ($100) threshold for reporting purposes or the one thousand dollar ($1,000) maximum for contributions to a single candidate or political action committee within a calendar year.

(2) No dependent child shall contribute an amount that, when added to contributions already made by that child’s parent or legal guardian and by other dependent children of that parent or legal guardian, exceed the one thousand dollar ($1,000) maximum for contributions to a single candidate or political action committee within a calendar year.

(g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the amount of money that a candidate can borrow in his or her own name, and subsequently contribute or loan to his or her own campaign.

(h)(1) It shall be unlawful for any corporation, whether profit or non-profit, domestic corporation or foreign corporation, as defined in § 7-1.2-106, or other business entity to make any campaign contribution or expenditure, as defined in § 17-25-3, to or for any candidate, political action committee, or political party committee, or for any candidate, political action committee, or political party committee to accept any campaign contribution or expenditure from a corporation or other business entity. Any contribution made in the personal name of any employee of a corporation or other business entity, for which the employee received or will receive reimbursement from the corporation or other business entity, shall be considered as a contribution by the corporation or other business entity, in violation of this section.

(2) Any voluntary payroll deduction and/or contribution made by employees of a corporation or other business entity shall not be deemed a contribution of a corporation or other business entity, notwithstanding that the contributions were sent to the recipient by the corporation or other business entity.

(i) All contributions of funds shall be by check, money order, or credit card and may be made over the internet, but in each case the source of the funds must be identified; provided, that candidates, political action committees, and political party committees may accept contributions in cash that do not exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) in the aggregate from an individual within a calendar year. The cash contribution must be delivered directly by the donor to the candidate, the campaign treasurer, or deputy treasurer. The treasurer or deputy treasurer shall maintain a record of the name and address of all persons making these cash contributions.

(j) Except as provided in subsection (h) of this section, no entity other than an individual, a political action committee which is duly registered and qualified pursuant to the terms of this chapter, political party committee authorized by this title, or an authorized committee of an elected official or candidate established pursuant to this chapter shall make any contribution to or any expenditure on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate, political action committee, or political party.

(k) For purposes of the limitations imposed by this section, all contributions made by a person, either directly or indirectly, on behalf of a particular candidate, including contributions that are in any way earmarked or otherwise directed through an intermediary or conduit to such candidate, shall be treated as contributions from such person to such candidate. The intermediary or conduit shall report the original source and the intended recipient of such contribution to the board of elections and to the intended recipient, in accordance with regulations and reporting requirements promulgated by the board of elections.
§ 17-25-11. Dates for filing of reports by treasurers of candidates or of committees.

(a) During the period between the appointment of the campaign treasurer for state and municipal committees and political action committees, or in the case of an individual the date on which the individual becomes a “declared or undeclared candidate” as defined in § 17-25-3(2), except when the ninety-day (90) reporting period ends less than forty (40) days prior to an election in which case the ninety-day (90) report shall be included as part of the report required to be filed on the twenty-eighth (28th) day next preceding the day of the primary, general, or special election pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection, and the election, with respect to which contributions are received or expenditures made by him or her in behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate, the campaign treasurer of a candidate, a political party committee, or a political action committee shall file a report containing an account of contributions received, and expenditures made, on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate:

(1) At ninety-day (90) intervals commencing on the date on which the individual first becomes a candidate, as defined in § 17-25-3(2);

(2) In a contested election, on the twenty-eighth (28th) and seventh (7th) days next preceding the day of the primary, general, or special election; provided, that in the case of a primary election for a special election where the twenty-eighth (28th) day next preceding the day of the primary election occurs prior to the first day for filing declarations of candidacy pursuant to § 17-14-1, the reports shall be due on the fourteenth (14th) and seventh (7th) days next preceding the day of the primary election for the special election; and

(3) A final report on the twenty-eighth (28th) day following the election. The report shall contain:

(i) The name and address and place of employment of each person from whom contributions in excess of a total of one hundred dollars ($100) within a calendar year were received;

(ii) The amount contributed by each person;

(iii) The name and address of each person to whom expenditures in excess of one hundred dollars ($100) were made; and

(iv) The amount and purpose of each expenditure.

(b) Concurrent with the report filed on the twenty-eighth (28th) day following an election, or at any time thereafter, the campaign treasurer of a candidate, or political party committee, or political action committee, may certify to the board of elections that the campaign fund of the candidate, political party committee, or political action committee having been instituted for the purposes of the past election, has completed its business and been dissolved or, in the event that the committee will continue its activities beyond the election, that its business regarding the past election has been completed. The certification shall be accompanied by a final accounting of the campaign fund, or of the transactions relating to the election, including the final disposition of any balance remaining in the fund at the time of dissolution or the arrangements that have been made for the discharge of any obligations remaining unpaid at the time of dissolution.

(c)(1) Once the campaign treasurer certifies that the campaign fund has completed its business and been dissolved, no contribution that is intended to defray expenditures incurred on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate during the campaign can be accepted. Until the time that the campaign treasurer certifies that the campaign fund has completed its business and been dissolved, the treasurer shall file reports containing an account of contributions received and expenditures made at ninety-day (90) intervals commencing with the next quarterly report following the election; however, the time to file under this subsection shall be no later than the last day of the month following the ninety-day (90) period, except when the last day of the month filing deadline following the ninety-day (90) reporting period occurs less than twenty-eight (28) days before an election, in which case the report shall be filed pursuant to the provisions of subdivisions (a)(1) and (2) of this section. Provided, however, if the last day of the month falls on a weekend or a holiday, the report shall be due on the following business day.

(2) In addition to the reports required pursuant to this section, a candidate or office holder shall also file with the board of elections a paper copy of the account statement from the office holder’s campaign account, which account statement shall be the next account statement issued by their financial institution after the filing of the fourth quarterly campaign expense report. The account statement shall be submitted to the board within thirty (30) days of its receipt by the candidate, officeholder, treasurer, or deputy treasurer. The account statement shall not be deemed a public record pursuant to the provisions of chapter 2 of title 38. The board of elections, its agents, and employees shall not publish, deliver, copy, or disclose, to any person or entity any account statement or information contained therein for any candidate, former candidate, officeholder, party, or political action committee. Provided, as to state and municipal political parties, the requirements of this subsection (c)(2) shall apply to the annual report required pursuant to § 17-25-7.

(d)(1) There shall be no obligation to file the reports of expenditures required by this section on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate if the total amount to be expended in behalf of the candidacy by the candidate, by any political party committee, by any political action committee, or by any person shall not in the aggregate exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(2) However, even though the aggregate amount expended on behalf of the candidacy does not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), reports must be made listing the source and amounts of all contributions in excess of a total of one hundred dollars ($100) from any one source within a calendar year. Even though the aggregate amount expended on behalf of the candidacy does not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) and no contribution from any one source within a calendar year exceeds one hundred dollars ($100), the report shall state the aggregate amount of all contributions received. In addition, the report shall state the amount of aggregate contributions that were from individuals, the amount from political action committees, and the amount from political party committees.

(e) On or before the first date for filing contribution and expenditure reports, the campaign treasurer may file a sworn statement that the treasurer will accept no contributions nor make aggregate expenditures in excess of the minimum amounts for which a report is required by this chapter. Thereafter, the campaign treasurer shall be excused from filing all the reports for that campaign, other than the final report due on the twenty-eighth (28th) day following the election.

(f) A campaign treasurer must file a report containing an account of contributions received and expenditures made at the ninety-day (90) intervals provided for in subsection (c) of this section for any ninety-day (90) period in which the campaign received contributions in excess of a total of one hundred dollars ($100) within a calendar year from any one source and/or made expenditures in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000) within a calendar year; however, the time to file under this subsection shall be no later than the last day of the month following the ninety-day (90) period, except when the last day of the month filing deadline following the ninety-day (90) reporting period occurs less than twenty-eight (28) days before an election, in which case the report shall be filed pursuant to the provisions of subdivisions (a)(1) and (2) of this section. Provided, however, if the last day of the month falls on a weekend or a holiday, the report shall be due on the following business day.

(g)(1) The board of elections may, for good cause shown and upon the receipt of a written or electronic request, grant a seven-day (7) extension for filing a report; provided, that the request must be received no later than the date upon which the report is due to be filed.

(2) Any person or entity required to file reports with the board of elections pursuant to this section and who or that has not filed the report by the required date, unless granted an extension pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection, shall be fined twenty-five dollars ($25.00). Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this section, the board of elections shall have the authority to waive late filing fees for good cause shown.

(3) The board of elections shall send a notice of non-compliance, by certified mail, to any person or entity who or that fails to file the reports required by this section. A person or entity who or that is sent a notice of non-compliance and fails to file the required report within seven (7) days of the receipt of the notice, shall be fined two dollars ($2.00) per day from the day of receipt of the notice of non-compliance until the day the report has been received by the state board. Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this section, the board of elections shall have the authority to waive late filing fees for good cause shown.
§ 17-25-11.1. Preservation of candidate or committee records.

(a) For every report filed after the effective date of this chapter, the campaign treasurer of each candidate seeking nomination for election or election to public office shall maintain and preserve all records and supporting documentation for a period of four (4) years from the filing date.

(b) For every report filed after the effective date of this chapter, the treasurer of each political party committee and political action committee shall be required to maintain and preserve all records in support of the committee reports filed pursuant to § 17-25-11 for a period of four (4) years from the filing date.
§ 17-25-11.2. Requirements for appointment of a treasurer or deputy treasurer – Examination and certification of accounts.

(a) Appointment of treasurer or deputy treasurer. Whenever a campaign account containing campaign funds received and expended by a candidate, office holder, or treasurer, subject to the provisions of this chapter, receives or expends at least ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in any year, the account shall require the appointment of a treasurer or deputy treasurer, who shall be a person other than the candidate. For such accounts, a candidate may remain as either a treasurer or deputy treasurer on his or her campaign account; provided, the treasurer or deputy treasurer who is not the candidate shall examine all campaign account records and shall certify to the substantial accuracy of the campaign finance report at the time of filing with the board of elections, on a form to be prepared by the board of elections.

(b) Applicability to political action committees. The provisions of this section as to examination and certification shall be applicable to political action committees.
§ 17-25-12. Prohibited contributions.

No contributions shall be made, and no expenditure shall be made or incurred, whether anonymously, in a fictitious name, or by one person or group in the name of another, to support or defeat a candidate in a primary, general, or special election. No treasurer or candidate shall solicit or knowingly accept any contribution contrary to the provisions of this section.
§ 17-25-13. Penalties.

(a) Any person who willfully and knowingly violates the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation.

(b) The state board may fine any person or entity who violates the provisions of this chapter in an amount not more than one hundred dollars ($100) per violation.

(c) Fines, fees and penalties imposed by the state board for violations of this chapter shall be paid for by the candidate, officeholder or entity against whose campaign the fines, fees or penalties have been levied. Fines, fees and penalties levied by the state board pursuant to this chapter shall not be paid for from contributions or funds available in a campaign account.
§ 17-25-14. Maintenance of party organization.

Any state or municipal committee of any political party may receive and disburse moneys for the general purposes of maintaining the organization during the whole or any part of the year.
§ 17-25-15. Political action committee – Notice of formation.

(a) No political action committee shall accept any contributions or make any expenditures prior to filing notice of its organization with the board of elections. The notice shall contain:

(1) The name or names of any candidates whose election or defeat the committee intends to advocate;

(2) The names and addresses of all officers of the committee;

(3) The mailing address or addresses of the committee;

(4) The goals and purposes of the political action committee; and

(5) A statement indicating whether the membership and/or contributor base of the political action committee is derived primarily from the employees of one corporation or business entity or from one business or professional group or association or labor union and, if so, the identity of that employer or group or association or union.

(b) No committee shall advocate the election or defeat of any candidate other than that set forth in its notice of organization or amendment to the notice. A political action committee may amend its notice of organization at any time. The board of elections shall prescribe forms in compliance with this section.

(c) In addition to all other reporting requirements, each political action committee shall include in each report required to be filed by this chapter:

(1) The source and amount of all funds received by the committee in excess of one hundred dollars ($100) in the aggregate from a single source in a calendar year; provided, that funds received through a regular payroll check-off plan in which the aggregate contribution from each individual does not exceed one hundred dollars ($100) per calendar year shall report the name and address of each entity transferring the funds to the committee, the aggregate amount received from the payroll check-off, and the total number of contributors; and provided also, that funds received by the political action committee of a labor organization from the members of the labor organization in amounts not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per calendar year from a single source shall be reported by the aggregate amount received and the total number of members of the labor organization contributing;

(2) The name and address of each person to whom expenditures were made, and the amount and purpose of each expenditure; and

(3) The name and address of each elected official and candidate for elected office to whom a contribution was made, and the amount of the contribution.

(d) The board of elections may reject the use by a political action committee of a name which is misleading and/or does not accurately identify the membership or contributor base of the committee.

(e) If a political action committee derives more than fifty percent (50%) of its funds from the employees, officers, directors, investors, and/or stockholders of a corporation or other business entity, the name of the political action committee must incorporate the name of that corporation or business entity. If a political action committee derives more than fifty percent (50%) of its funds from persons affiliated with one industry, profession, trade organization, or association or labor union, the name of the political action committee must identify that industry, profession, trade organization or association, or labor union.
§ 17-25-16. Enjoining of illegal acts – Forfeiture of contributions.

(a) Whenever the board of elections has reason to believe that a candidate, political party committee, or political action committee, or the campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer of the candidate or committee, has accepted a contribution or made an expenditure in violation of the provisions of this chapter, or willfully and knowingly has made a false statement in any of the reports required under this chapter or failed to file any report, or has otherwise violated this chapter, the board may, in addition to all other actions authorized by law, request the attorney general to bring an action in the name of the state of Rhode Island in the superior court against the person and/or committee to enjoin them from continuing the violation, or doing any acts in furtherance of the violation, and for any other relief that the court deems appropriate. In addition, the court may order the forfeiture of any or all contributions accepted in violation of and/or not reported as required by this chapter. All contributions so forfeited shall become the property of the state.

(b) The court shall also impose a civil penalty not exceeding three (3) times the amount of:

(1) Contributions made or accepted in violation of this chapter;

(2) Expenditures made in violation of this chapter; and/or

(3) Contributions or expenditures not reported as required by this chapter.

(c) All funds collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the fund established for the public financing of the electoral system pursuant to this chapter.
§ 17-25-17. Severability.

(a) If the provisions of this chapter or their application to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of the chapter are declared to be severable.

(b) Without limiting the generality of subsection (a) of this section, if the application of any provision of this chapter to contributions and/or expenditures made in regard to ballot questions is held invalid, the provision shall remain applicable to contributions and/or expenditures made in regard to candidates.
§ 17-25-18. Public financing of election campaigns – General purpose.

Whereas, the general assembly finds that the cost of running for statewide office has risen over the last decade at a rate far in excess of the increase in the cost of living; and

Whereas, the general assembly finds that the need to raise ever larger sums of money to effectively compete for general office threatens the essence of our democratic system by excluding many well qualified candidates; and

Whereas, the general assembly finds that the candidate’s need to raise large sums of money can result in disproportionate and inappropriate influence being obtained by those who possess the financial ability to make large contributions to campaigns; and

Whereas, the general assembly finds that the state cannot impose limitations on the amount of private funds raised and expended for election purposes by a candidate unless it provides for at least partial public financing of campaigns;

Therefore, the general assembly determines that it is in the best interest of the citizens of the state to provide public financing to qualified candidates for general office.
§ 17-25-19. Public financing of election campaigns – Outlined.

(a) To effectuate the purpose stated in § 17-25-18, public funds shall be made available under the terms and conditions of this section and §§ 17-25-20 – 17-25-27 to qualifying candidates for general office who agree to abide by a limitation on the total amount of campaign contributions received and expenditures made for election purposes.

(b) Candidates for general office shall be eligible to receive two dollars ($2.00) of public funds for each qualified dollar ($1.00) of private funds contributed which do not exceed an aggregate of five hundred dollars ($500) from a single source within an election cycle and one dollar ($1.00) of public funds for each qualified dollar ($1.00) of private funds contributed which exceed an aggregate of five hundred dollars ($500) from a single source within an election cycle but do not exceed the limitations on aggregate contributions which are eligible to be matched set in subdivision 17-25-20(3), subject to the provisions of subdivision 17-25-20(2). The total amount of public funds provided to a candidate shall not exceed seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000) in matching funds for a total of one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) for candidates for governor; and one hundred eighty-seven thousand five hundred dollars ($187,500) in matching funds for a total of three hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ($375,000) for candidates for other general offices.

(c) In order to be eligible for matching public funds, each candidate at the time he or she becomes a candidate, as defined in subdivision 17-25-3(2), but no later than 4:00 pm on the last day for filing declarations of candidacy for general office, must sign a statement under oath pledging to comply with the limitations on campaign contributions and expenditures and with all of the terms and conditions set forth in this chapter. Any candidate who fails to file the statement with his or her declaration for office shall be ineligible to receive public funds.
§ 17-25-20. Eligibility criteria for matching public funds.

In order to receive matching public funds under § 17-25-19, a qualifying candidate must comply with the following requirements:

(1) The candidate must sign a statement under oath, as provided for in § 17-25-19, pledging to comply with the limitations on contributions and expenditures for election purposes and with all the terms and conditions set forth in this chapter. Upon the filing of the statement, a candidate for general office shall be bound to abide by the limitations on contributions and expenditures set forth in this chapter and may not withdraw from his or her obligation to abide by these restrictions.

(2)(i) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (ii) of this subdivision, no participating candidate shall either receive or expend for election purposes more than a total of public and private funds in the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) in an election cycle. No participating candidate for general office other than governor shall receive or expend for election purposes more than a total of public and private funds in the sum of three hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ($375,000) in an election cycle.

(ii) The limitations on contributions received from private sources, matching funds available from the state, and total permitted expenditures shall apply in the 1994 general election and, subject to appropriations by the general assembly, shall increase by a percentage to be determined by the board of elections in January of each year in which a general election involving general offices is held, beginning in 1998. In no case shall the increase exceed the total increase in the consumer price index since the month in which the previous general election involving general was held.

(3)(i) Only the first two thousand dollars ($2,000) of the aggregate private monetary contributions from a single private source within an election cycle shall be eligible for matching public funds for candidates for governor; provided, that the entire amount contributed shall be considered toward the dollar limits provided in subdivision (2) of this section.

(ii) Only the first one thousand dollars ($1,000) of the aggregate private monetary contributions from a single private source within an election cycle shall be eligible for matching public funds for candidates for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and general treasurer; provided, that the entire amount contributed shall be considered toward the dollar limits provided for in subdivision (2) of this section.

(iii) Any private funds lawfully contributed during the current election cycle shall be eligible for matching public funds subject to the terms and conditions of this section, and private funds donated during a preceding election cycle shall not be eligible for matching public funds.

(4) The direct costs incurred in connection with raising campaign funds on behalf of a candidate shall not be deemed to be expenditures for the purposes of the limitations on expenditures set forth in subdivision (2) of this section. Direct costs shall include costs of printing and mailing invitations to fundraising events, solicitations for contributions, costs of hosting fundraising events, and travel to those events, but shall not include any portion of the salary or wages of campaign employees, nor the cost of any radio, television, computer/Internet/electronic device, or printed advertisement. The cost of a fundraising event must be less than the amount of money realized from the gross proceeds generated by the fundraising event in order to qualify for this exclusion.

(5) If a candidate who has accepted public funds makes expenditures in excess of the permitted amounts, the candidate shall be liable for a civil assessment payable to the state in an amount equal to three (3) times the amount of excess funds expended. In addition, the candidate shall be ineligible for further participation in the public financing program during the same election cycle.

(6) In order to receive payments under this section, any candidate for general office shall first meet the following additional minimum requirements:

(i) Raise an amount in qualified private contributions equal to twenty percent (20%) of the total amount eligible to be matched for election as to the office sought;

(ii) Receive private contributions from a minimum of two hundred fifty (250) individuals contributing at least twenty-five dollars ($25.00) each for candidates for governor and receive private contributions from a minimum of one hundred (100) individuals contributing at least twenty- five dollars ($25.00) each, for candidates for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and general treasurer; and

(iii) Comply with any and all applicable nomination provisions in this title and qualify for the general election ballot pursuant to the process set forth in this title.

(7) No public funds received by any candidate pursuant to §§ 17-25-19 – 17-25-27 of this chapter and no private funds used to qualify for the public funds shall be expended by the candidate for any purpose except to pay reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to the candidate’s campaign.

(8) No public funds shall be expended by the candidate, except for one or more of the following uses directly related to the campaign of the candidate:

(i) Purchase of time on radio or television stations; provided, however, the content of all television time shall include captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing and the content of all radio time must be available in a written or text format at the time of request;

(ii) Purchase of rental space on outdoor signs or billboards;

(iii) Purchase of advertising space on the computer/Internet/electronic device and in newspapers and regularly published magazines and periodicals;

(iv) Payment of the cost of producing the material aired or displayed on radio, television, outdoor signs or billboards, and computer/Internet/electronic device and in newspapers, regularly published magazines, and periodicals;

(v) Payment of the cost of printing and mailing campaign literature and brochures;

(vi) Purchase of signs, bumper stickers, campaign buttons, and other campaign paraphernalia;

(vii) Payment of the cost of legal and accounting expenses incurred in complying with the public financing law and regulations as required by this chapter;

(viii) Payment of the cost of telephone deposits, installation charges, and monthly billings in excess of deposits;

(ix) Payment of the costs of public opinion polls and surveys; and

(x) Payment of rent, utilities and associated expenses connected with the operation of an election headquarters or satellite election offices.

(9) Contributions received and expended by any candidate for the purpose of defraying any expense or satisfying any loan obligations incurred prior to January 1, 1991, by the candidate in furtherance of his or her candidacy in a previous election cycle, as defined in subdivision 17-25-3(7), shall not be counted toward any contribution or expenditure limitation in §§ 17-25-18 – 17-25-27.

(10) No candidate who has elected to receive public funds shall contribute to or loan to his or her own campaign a sum in excess of five percent (5%) of the total amount that a candidate is permitted to expend in a campaign for the office pursuant to §§ 17-25-19 and 17-25-21.
§ 17-25-21. Primary elections.

Any candidate eligible to receive public funds and electing to receive these funds who is challenged for nomination for general office in a political party primary shall be permitted to raise and expend an additional amount of private funds equal to one-third ( 1 / 3 ) of the maximum allowable expenditure amount for the office or equal to the total amount spent by the candidates’ opponent or opponents in the primary, whichever amount is less. The additional amount received in contributions must be expended prior to the primary election. The additional private contributions shall not be eligible for matching public funds.
§ 17-25-22. Time period for payment of public funds.

(a) No public funds shall be dispersed to candidates until after the date of the primary election. In order to receive matching public funds, the candidate must be a candidate for general office who meets all of the requirements set forth in subdivision 17-25-20(6). The candidate must submit to the board of elections proof of receipt of qualifying private contributions and supporting documentation as required by the board. The board of elections shall, within five (5) business days of the receipt of the request for payment of matching funds, either pay over funds to the candidate or disallow all or a portion of the request and state in writing the reasons for the disallowance.

(b) A candidate may submit supplemental applications for public funds until the time that the permitted limits are reached.
§ 17-25-23. Funds expended by person, committee of a political party, or political action committee – Private expenditure.

For the purposes of §§ 17-25-19 and 17-25-20, any funds expended by a person, committee of a political party, or political action committee to directly influence the outcome of the electoral contest involving the candidate shall be considered a contribution received by or an expenditure made by the candidate for general office, if one or more of the following relationships between the candidate and the person, committee of a political party, or political action committee is present:

(1) There is any arrangement, coordination, or direction with respect to the expenditure between the candidate or the candidate’s agent and the person making the expenditure;

(2) In the same election cycle, the person making the expenditure, including any officer, director, employee, or agent of the person, is or has been authorized to raise or expend funds on behalf of the candidate or the candidate’s authorized committees, or is or has been an officer of the candidate’s authorized committees, or is or has been receiving any form of compensation or reimbursement from the candidate, the candidate’s authorized committees, or the candidate’s agent;

(3) The person making the expenditure, including any officer, director, employee, or agent of the person, has communicated with, advised, or counseled the candidate or the candidate’s agents at any time on the candidate’s plans, projects, or needs relating to the candidate’s pursuit of election to general office in the same election cycle, including any advice relating to the candidate’s decision to seek election to general office;

(4) The person making the expenditure retains the professional services of any individual or other person also providing those services to the candidate in connection with the candidate’s pursuit of election to general office in the same election cycle, including any services relating to the candidate’s decision to seek election to general office;

(5) The person making the expenditure, including any officer, director, employer, or agent of the person, has communicated or consulted at any time during the same election cycle about the candidate’s plans, projects, or needs relating to the candidate’s pursuit of election to general office, with:

(i) Any officer, director, employee, or agent of a party committee that has made or intends to make expenditures or contributions, in connection with the candidate’s campaign; or

(ii) Any person whose professional services have been retained by a political party committee that has made or intends to make expenditures or contributions;

(6) The expenditure is based on information provided to the person making the expenditure directly or indirectly by the candidate or the candidate’s agents about the candidate’s plans, projects, or needs; provided, that the candidate or the candidate’s agents are aware that the other person has made or is planning to make expenditures expressly advocating the candidate’s election; or

(7) The expenditure is made by a person with the intention of seeking or obtaining any governmental benefit or consideration from the candidate by reason of the expenditure.
§ 17-25-24. Additional expenditures.

Any candidate eligible to receive public funds and electing to receive these funds whose opponent does not elect to receive public funds shall be permitted to raise additional private contributions and make additional expenditures for election purposes in an amount in excess of the candidate’s maximum allowable expenditure limit equal to the amount by which the expenditures of the opponent exceed the maximum allowable expenditure limit that would have applied to the opponent’s expenditures had the opponent elected to receive public funds.
§ 17-25-25. Surplus campaign funds.

Any candidate receiving public funds during any election cycle under the provisions of this chapter shall, within ninety (90) days after the completion of the election cycle, transfer to the general treasurer for deposit in the general fund fifty percent (50%) of any amount of the candidate’s total campaign funds unexpended as of the last day of the election cycle. The candidate may convert the remaining fifty percent (50%) of the amount to use for any political purposes not otherwise prohibited by law. The remaining fifty percent (50%) of that amount may not be converted to personal use by the candidate.
§ 17-25-26. Equal apportionment of expenditures for joint advertisements.

Any expenditure jointly made by any two (2) or more candidates for any newspaper, radio, or television advertisement primarily benefiting the candidate shall be attributed to and apportioned equally among those candidates who are clearly identified in that advertisement. The apportionments shall constitute campaign expenditures subject to all reporting requirements of this chapter and shall be counted toward any total campaign expenditures limit that may apply to each or any of the candidates.
§ 17-25-27. Post-audit of accounts – Publication.

The board may conduct a post-audit of all accounts and transactions for any election cycle and may conduct any other special audits and post-audits that it may deem necessary. The board shall publish a summary of the reports filed by candidates for general office pursuant to the public financing provision of this chapter on or before April 1 of the year following any year in which elections are held for statewide elective office.
§ 17-25-28. Board of elections – Regulation and auditing of matching fund program.

In addition to all other powers and duties established by law, the board of elections is empowered to adopt and enforce rules, regulations, and auditing procedures required to fulfill the mandates of §§ 17-25-19 – 17-25-27. The board is empowered, among other things, to:

(1) Ascertain whether any contributions to or expenditures for candidates for general office have exceeded limits prescribed by §§ 17-25-18 – 17-25-27. Ascertain the amount and source of contributions received and expenditures made by all candidates for general offices, whether or not the candidate chose to participate in public financing.

(2) Issue advisory opinions upon its own initiative or upon application of any candidate.

(3)(i) Conduct investigations and/or hearings relative to alleged violations of §§ 17-25-18 – 17-25-27, either on its own initiative or upon receipt of a verified written complaint, which complaint shall, under pain and penalty of perjury, be based upon actual knowledge and not merely on information and belief.

(ii) Upon receipt of a verified written complaint, or upon receipt of evidence which is deemed sufficient by the board, the board may initiate a preliminary investigation into any alleged violation of §§ 17-25-18 – 17-25-27. All board proceedings and records relating to a preliminary investigation shall be confidential, except that the board may turn over to the attorney general evidence that may be used in a criminal proceeding. The board shall notify any person who is the subject of the preliminary investigation of the existence of the investigation and the general nature of the alleged violation by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, within seven (7) days of the commencement of the investigation.

(iii) If a preliminary investigation fails to indicate reasonable cause for belief that §§ 17-25-18 – 17-25-27 have been violated, the board shall immediately terminate the investigation and notify, in writing, the complainant, if any, and the person who had been the subject of the investigation.

(iv) If a preliminary investigation indicates reasonable cause for belief that §§ 17-25-18 – 17-25-27 have been violated, the board may, upon a majority vote, initiate a full investigation and appropriate proceedings to determine whether there has been a violation.

(v) All testimony in board proceedings shall be under oath. All parties shall have the right to call and examine witnesses, to introduce exhibits, to cross-examine witnesses who testify, to submit evidence, and to be represented by counsel. Before testifying, all witnesses shall be given a copy of the regulations governing board proceedings. All witnesses shall be entitled to be represented by counsel.

(vi) Any person whose name is mentioned during a proceeding of the board and who may be adversely affected by it may appear personally before the board on his or her own behalf or file a written statement for incorporation into the record of the proceeding.

(vii) Within fourteen (14) days after the end of proceedings, the board shall meet in executive session for the purpose of reviewing the evidence before it. Within thirty (30) days after completion of deliberations, the board shall publish a written report of its findings and conclusions.

(viii)(A) Upon a finding that there has been a violation of §§ 17-25-18 – 17-25-27 or any other campaign finance law, the board may issue an order requiring the violator to:

(I) Cease and desist from the violation;

(II) File any report, statements or other information as required by this chapter; and/or

(III) Pay a civil fine for each violation of any section of this chapter in an amount authorized by that section or, if no authorization exists, in amount not to exceed the greater of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or three (3) times the amount the violator failed to properly report or unlawfully contributed, expended, gave, or received.

(B) The board may turn over to the attorney general any evidence that may be used in a subsequent criminal proceeding against any violator.

(ix) The board may file a civil action in superior court to enforce an order issued by it pursuant to this section.

(x) Any final action by the board made pursuant to this chapter shall be subject to review in superior court upon petition of any interested person filed within thirty (30) days after the action for which review is sought. The court shall enter a judgment enforcing, modifying, or setting aside the order of the board, or it may remand the proceeding to the board for any further action that the court may decide.
§ 17-25-29. Appropriations.

In the event the funds generated by the tax credit of § 44-30-2(d) fail to produce sufficient money to meet the requirements of the public financing of the electoral system as set forth in §§ 17-25-19 – 17-25-27, then funds sufficient to meet the levels of the public financing as set forth in this chapter shall be supplied from the general fund of the state treasury. There is appropriated from the general treasury those sums that may be necessary for carrying out the purposes of the public financing of the electoral system, and an amount equal to the total of all maximum amounts of matching public funds available to all party and independent candidates for general office qualifying and electing to receive public funds in an election shall be transferred to the board of elections no later than September 1 of each election year and deposited in a manner that will secure the highest rate of interest available consistent with the safety of the sums and with the requirement that all sums on deposit be available for immediate payment to eligible candidates at any time after the date of the primary election. The state controller is authorized and directed to draw his or her orders upon the general treasurer for transfer of all sums the board deems necessary to comply with this section. There shall also be transferred to the board any additional sums that may be required until the permitted limits are reached. The board shall account for all funds disbursed pursuant to this chapter and transfer upon the conclusion of any election for general office any and all undisbursed sums to the general treasurer for deposit in the general fund by December 1 in any year in which the election is held.
§ 17-25-30. Public financing of election campaigns – Compliance benefits.

Any candidate eligible to receive public funds who complies in full with eligibility criteria for receipt of the funds shall be:

(1) Entitled to an additional benefit of free time on community antenna television to be allocated pursuant to rules determined by the administrator for the division of public utilities. During all allocated free time, the candidate shall personally appear and present the message of the advertisement; provided, however, the content of all television time shall include captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing and the content of all radio time must be available in a written or text format at the time of request; and

(2) Entitled to an additional benefit of free time on any public broadcasting station operating under the jurisdiction of the Rhode Island PBS foundation pursuant to rules determined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). During all allocated free time, the candidate shall personally appear and personally present the message of the advertisement; provided, however, the content of all television time shall include captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing and the content of all radio time must be available in a written or text format at the time of request.
§ 17-25-30.1. Community antenna television – Rules and regulations.

The administrator for the division of public utilities for the state of Rhode Island shall formulate rules and regulations concerning the allocation of advertising time to be used by those candidates for public office who are eligible to receive public funds and who comply in full with all eligible criteria for receipt of the funds.
Chapter 17-25.1 – Gambling Referenda
§ 17-25.1-1. Repealed.
§ 17-25.1-1.1. Gambling referenda – Ballot question advocates.

Any “ballot question advocate”, as defined in chapter 25.2 of title 17, advocating the passage or defeat of any gambling question shall, in addition to complying with and being subject to the provisions of chapter 25.2 of title 17, include in its reports filed under said chapter the following: (i) the name, address and, if applicable, the place of employment of every person making a contribution or contributions that in the aggregate exceed one thousand eight hundred dollars ($1,800) per election cycle to such ballot question advocate; and (ii) whether or not such contributor has any direct or indirect affiliation with any entity or person that operates or owns any type or kind of gambling facility or entity in any jurisdiction and, if so, the name of such facility or entity. “Gambling question” means any referendum that relates to a proposal to institute a casino within the state or to otherwise expand gambling in any form.
§ 17-251-2 – 17-25.1-6. Repealed.
Chapter 17-25.2 – Ballot Question Advocacy and Reporting
§ 17-25.2-1. Short title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Rhode Island Ballot Question Advocacy and Reporting Act”.
§ 17-25.2-2. Declaration of policy.

It is declared to be in the public interest and to be the policy of the state to foster greater participation in ballot question advocacy in a transparent and open manner and to provide the public with sufficient information regarding the source of contributions received and expenditures made for ballot question advocacy.
§ 17-25.2-3. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:

(1) “Ballot question” means any question, charter change, constitutional amendment, referendum or voter initiated petition placed on any state, district, city, town or municipal ballot for a general or special election.

(2) “Ballot question advocacy” means advocating the passage or defeat of a ballot question.

(3) “Ballot question advocate” means (i) for purposes of referenda as defined in § 17-5-1 of the general laws only, any exempt nonprofit as defined in § 17-25-3 or any organization described under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States; and (ii) for all other ballot questions as defined herein, any person making an expenditure with a cumulative total that exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000) in a calendar year for ballot-question advocacy on a particular ballot question.

(4) “Contributions” means donations to a ballot-question advocate in the form of money, gifts, loans, paid personal services, or in-kind contributions as defined herein.

(5) “In-Kind Contributions” means the monetary value of other things of value or paid personal services donated to any person required to file reports with the board of elections, except for newsletters and other communications paid for and transmitted by an organization to its own members and not to the general public;

(6) “Paid personal services” means personal services of every kind and nature, the cost or consideration for which is paid or provided by someone other than the ballot-question advocate for whom the services are rendered, but shall not include personal services provided without compensation by persons volunteering their time.

(7) “Expenditures” means the payment for any goods and services for the purpose of ballot-question advocacy as set forth in this paragraph:

(i) Any media advertising services or products, including, but not limited to, newspapers, radio stations or television stations;

(ii) General advertising in letters, brochures, flyers, handbills, lawn signs, posters, bumper stickers, buttons or other materials except for newsletters and other communications paid for and transmitted by an organization to its own members and not to the general public; or

(iii) Paid personal services donated to any ballot-question advocate including advertising agency services or other professional services including accounting services, printing, secretarial services, public opinion polls, research and professional campaign consultation or management, media production or computer services. A written contract, agreement or promise to make an expenditure, is an expenditure as of the date such contract expenditure or obligation is made.

(8) “Person” means any individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation, city, town, or other governmental unit and any other organization.

(9) “Election cycle” means the twenty-four (24) month period commencing on January 1 of odd number years and ending on December 31 of even number years.
§ 17-25.2-4. No limitations on contributions or expenditures.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to limit the amount of monies contributed to or expended by a ballot-question advocate for the purpose of ballot-question advocacy.
§ 17-25.2-5. Reporting by ballot question advocates.

(a) Every ballot-question advocate shall file periodic reports signed by an individual responsible for its contents on a form prescribed by the board of elections setting forth the name and address of the ballot-question advocate, including any other name under which the ballot-question advocate conducts ballot-question advocacy, the name and address of the person filing the report; and

(1) The name, address and, if applicable, the place of employment of each person making a contribution or contributions that in the aggregate exceed one thousand-eight hundred dollars ($1,800) per election cycle to a ballot-question advocate for purposes of ballot question advocacy and the amount contributed by each person or source; provided, however, this information shall be reported only if:

(i) The contributions received by a ballot-question advocate are solicited in any way, including by written, electronic, or verbal means, by the ballot-question advocate specifically for ballot-question advocacy; or

(ii) The contributions were specifically designated by the contributor for ballot-question advocacy; or

(iii) The ballot question advocate knew or had reason to know that the contributor intended or expected that the majority of the contributions be used for ballot question advocacy; and

(2) The name and address of every person or entity receiving an expenditure for ballot-question advocacy, which in the aggregate exceeds one hundred dollars ($100), the amount of each expenditure for ballot-question advocacy, and the total amount of expenditures for ballot-question advocacy made by the ballot-question advocate as of the last report date; and

(3) A statement of the position of the ballot-question advocate in support of or opposition to the ballot-question; and

(4) The names and addresses of all identified members or endorsing organizations, corporations, and/or associations that authorize the ballot-question advocate to represent to the public that they support the positions of the ballot-question advocate; and

(5) The name and address of at least one of the officers of the ballot question advocate, if any, or one individual that is responsible for the ballot question advocate’s compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

(b) The first report must be filed by a ballot-question advocate for the period beginning when the ballot-question advocate expends a cumulative total that exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000) for ballot-question advocacy and ending the last day of the first full month following such date, to be filed with the board of elections due no later than seven (7) days after the end of the month. A ballot-question advocate must thereafter file calendar month reports with the board of elections due no later than seven (7) days after the end of the month; provided, that in lieu of filing for the last full calendar month preceding the ballot question election, a report must be filed due no later than seven (7) days before the election.

(c) A ballot-question advocate must file a final report of contributions received and expenditures made for ballot-question advocacy no later than thirty (30) days after the election for the ballot question is held subject to the provisions of § 17-25.2-6. All reports filed with the board of elections must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. on the due date.

(d)(1) The board of elections may, for good cause shown and upon receipt of a written or electronic request, grant a seven (7) day extension for filing a report; provided, however, that the request must be received no later than the date and time upon which the report is due to be filed, and further if the election for the ballot question is to be held less than seven (7) days from the report due date and time, the report must be filed prior to the election date.

(2) Any ballot-question advocate required to file reports with the board of elections pursuant to this section and who has not filed the report by the required date and time, unless granted an extension by the board, shall be fined twenty-five dollars ($25.00).

(3) The board of elections shall send a notice of noncompliance, by certified mail, to the ballot-question advocate who fails to file the reports required by this section. A ballot-question advocate that has been sent a notice of noncompliance and fails to file the required report within seven (7) days of the receipt of the notice shall be fined two dollars ($2.00) per day from the date of the receipt of the notice of noncompliance until the day the report is received by the board of elections. Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this section, the board of election shall have the authority to waive late filing fees for good cause shown.
§ 17-25.2-6. Monies not expended on ballot measure.

(a) At the time of the filing of the final report required by subsection 17-25.2-5(c), any contributions received for ballot question advocacy and remaining with a ballot question advocate that exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) and have not been expended shall be disbursed in one or more of the following four (4) manners:

(1) Transferal in whole or in part into another ballot question advocate account which has a purpose related to or consistent with that of the donating ballot question advocate;

(2) Donations to or retention by a nonprofit organization recognized under § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. § 501, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States as from time to time amended;

(3) Donations to the state of Rhode Island; or

(4) Refund to the donor.

(b) The ballot question advocate must annually report to the board of elections by June 30 of the calendar year any such remaining contributions and shall report distributions of any such remaining contributions within thirty (30) days of such distributions.
§ 17-25.2-7. Disclosure of true origin of contributions required.

(a) No person shall make a contribution to a ballot-question advocate for the purpose of ballot-question advocacy in any name except its own or in any manner for the purpose of disguising the true origin of the contribution.

(b) No person shall form or use a corporation or other legal entity to advocate for the approval or defeat of a ballot question with the intent to:

(1) Disguise the true origin of the funds; or

(2) Evade the reporting requirements of this chapter.
§ 17-25.2-8. Duties and powers of the board of elections.

The board of elections is authorized to perform any duties that are necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter. Without limiting the generality of this provision, the board of elections is authorized and empowered to undertake all actions set forth in § 17-25-5.
§ 17-25.2-9. Penalties for violation.

(a) Whenever the board of elections has reason to believe that a ballot-question advocate willfully and knowingly made a false statement in any report required under this chapter or failed to file any report, or has otherwise violated this chapter, the board of elections may, in addition to all other actions authorized by law, request the attorney general to bring an action in the name of the state of Rhode Island in the superior court against the person signing any such report and/or organization to enjoin them from continuing the violation, or doing any acts in furtherance of the violation, and for any other relief the court deems appropriate. In addition, the court may order the forfeiture of any and all contributions not reported in violation of this chapter.

(b) The court may also impose a civil penalty for any violation of this chapter up to but not exceeding three (3) times the amount of:

(1) Contributions and/or expenditures made or accepted in violation of this chapter; and/or

(2) Contributions or expenditures not reported as required by this chapter.

(c) All funds collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the fund established by the state for public information and education regarding the election process.
§ 17-25.2-10. Severability.

If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof shall for any reason be judged invalid, that judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of the law, but shall be confined in its effect to the provisions or application directly involved in the controversy giving rise to the judgment.
Chapter 17-25.3 – Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications
§ 17-25.3-1. Independent expenditures and electioneering communications for elections.

(a) It shall be lawful for any person, business entity or political action committee, not otherwise prohibited by law and not acting in coordination with a candidate, authorized candidate campaign committee, political action committee, or political party committee, to expend personally from that person’s own funds a sum which is not to be repaid to him or her for any purpose not prohibited by law to support or defeat a candidate or referendum. Whether a person, business entity or political action committee is “acting in coordination with a candidate, authorized candidate campaign committee, political action committee or political party committee” for the purposes of this subsection shall be determined by application of the standards set forth in § 17-25-23. All terms used in this chapter shall have the same meaning as defined in § 17-25-3.

(b) Any person, business entity or political action committee making independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers shall report all such campaign finance expenditures and expenses to the board of elections, provided the total of the money so expended exceeds one thousand dollars ($1000) within a calendar year, to the board of elections within seven (7) days of making the expenditure.

(c) A person, business entity or political action committee who makes or contracts to make independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers with an aggregate value of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more shall electronically file a campaign finance report to the board of elections describing the expenditures.

(d) After a person, business entity or political action committee files a report under subsection (b), the person, business entity or political action committee shall file an additional report after each time the person, business entity or political action committee makes or contracts to make independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers aggregating an additional one thousand dollars ($1,000) with respect to the same election as that to which the initial report relates.

(e) When a report is required by subsection (c) or (d) of this section within thirty (30) days prior to the election to which the expenditure was directed, it shall be filed with twenty-four (24) hours of the expenditure. When such a report is required at any other time, it shall be filed within seven (7) days after the expenditure.

(f) Reports of independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers by a person shall contain the name, street address, city, state, zip code, occupation, employer (if self-employed, the name and place of business), of the person responsible for the expenditure, the name, street address, city, state, and zip code of the person receiving the expenditure the date and amount of each expenditure, and the year to date total.

(g) The report shall also include a statement identifying the candidate or referendum that the independent expenditure or electioneering communication is intended to promote the success or defeat, and affirm under penalty of false statement that the expenditure is not coordinated with the campaign in question, and provide any information that the board of elections requires to facilitate compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

(h) Reports of independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers by a person, business entity or political action committee shall also disclose the identity of all donors of an aggregate of one thousand dollars ($1000) or more to such person, business entity or committee within the current election cycle, if applicable, unless the person, business entity or political action committee has established a separate campaign-related account for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, and covered transfers as detailed in § 17-25.3-2 in which case this paragraph applies only to donors to the person’s, business entity’s or political action committee’s separate campaign-related account; provided that no person, business entity, or political action committee shall be required to disclose in a report to the board of elections the identity, which includes name, address, place of employment, and donation amount, of any donor who makes no donation to such person, business entity, or political action committee after the date of enactment of this section.

(i) If a person, business entity or political action committee and a donor mutually agree, at the time a donation, payment, or transfer to the person, business entity or political action committee which is required to disclose the identification under subsection (f) that the person, business entity or political action committee will not use the donation, payment, or transfer for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers, then not later than thirty (30) days after the person, business entity or political action committee receives the donation, payment, or transfer the person, business entity or political action committee shall transmit to the donor a written certification by the chief financial officer of the person, business entity or political action committee (or, if the organization does not have a chief financial officer, the highest ranking financial official of the organization) that:

(1) The person, business entity or political action committee will not use the donation, payment, or transfer for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers; and

(2) The person, business entity or political action committee will not include any information on the donor in any report filed by the person, business entity or political action committee under this section with respect to independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers, so that the donor will not be required to appear in the list of donors.

(3) Exception for payments made pursuant to commercial activities. Subsections (e) and (f) do not apply with respect to any payment or transfer made pursuant to commercial activities in the regular course of a person’s, business entity’s or political action committee’s business.

(j) For the purposes of this chapter, two (2) or more entities (other than an exempt nonprofit as defined in § 17-25-3 or an organization described in § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time) are treated as a single entity if the entities:

(1) Share the majority of members on their boards of directors;

(2) Share two (2) or more officers;

(3) A candidate committee and a political committee other than a candidate committee are for the purposes of this section treated as a single committee if the committees both have the candidate or a member of the candidate’s immediate family as an officer;

(4) Are owned or controlled by the same majority shareholder or shareholders or persons;

(5) Are in a parent-subsidiary relationship; or

(6) Have bylaws so stating.
§ 17-25.3-2. Optional use of separate campaign-related account by person, business entity or political action committee for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, and covered transfers.

(a) A person, business entity or political action committee may make disbursements for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers using amounts from a bank account established and controlled by the person, business entity or political action committee to be known as the separate campaign-related account (hereafter in this section referred to as the “account”), which shall be maintained separately from all other accounts of the person, business entity or political action committee and which shall consist exclusively of funds that were paid directly to such account by one or more person, business entity, or political action committee other than the person, business entity, or political action committee that controls the account. A person, business entity, or political action committee shall not make transfers from its general treasury into an account established under this section that such person, business entity, or political action committee controls.

(b) Mandatory use of account after establishment. If a person, business entity or political action committee establishes an account under this section, it may not make disbursements for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers from any source other than amounts from the account.

(c) Exclusive use of account for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, and covered transfers. Amounts in the account shall be used exclusively for disbursements by the person, business entity or political action committee for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers. After such disbursements are made, information with respect to deposits made to the account shall be disclosed in accordance with subsection 17-25.3-1(f).
§ 17-25.3-3. Disclaimers.

(a) No person, business entity or political action committee shall make or incur an independent expenditure or fund an electioneering communication for any written, typed, or other printed communication, unless such communication bears upon its face the words “Paid for by” and the name of the entity, the name of its chief executive officer or equivalent, and its principal business address. In the case of a person, business entity or political action committee making or incurring such an independent expenditure or electioneering communication, which entity is a tax-exempt organization under § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (other than an organization described in § 501(c)(3) of such Code) or an exempt nonprofit as defined in § 17-25-3, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time, or an organization organized under Section 527 of said code, such communication shall also bear upon its face the words “Top Five Donors” followed by a list of the five (5) persons or entities making the largest aggregate donations to such person, business entity or political action committee during the twelve (12) month period before the date of such communication, provided that no donor shall be listed who is not required to be disclosed in a report to the board of elections by the person, business entity, or political action committee.

(b) The provisions of subsections (a) of this section shall not apply to:

(1) Any editorial, news story, or commentary published in any newspaper, magazine or journal on its own behalf and upon its own responsibility and for which it does not charge or receive any compensation whatsoever;

(2) Political paraphernalia including pins, buttons, badges, emblems, hats, bumper stickers or other similar materials; or

(3) Signs or banners with a surface area of not more than thirty-two (32) square feet.

(c) No person, business entity or political action committee shall make or incur an independent expenditure or fund an electioneering communication for paid television advertising or paid Internet video advertising, unless at the end of such advertising there appears simultaneously, for a period of not less than four (4) seconds:

(1) A clearly identifiable video, photographic or similar image of the entity’s chief executive officer or equivalent; and

(2) A personal audio message, in the following form: “I am …….. (name of entity’s chief executive officer or equivalent), ……………. (title) of …….. (entity), and I approved its content.”

(3) In the case of a person, business entity or political action committee making or incurring such an independent expenditure or electioneering communication, which person, business entity or political action committee is a tax-exempt organization under § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (other than an organization described in § 501(c)(3) of such Code) or an exempt nonprofit as defined in § 17-25-3, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time, or an organization organized under Section 527 of said code, such advertising shall also include a written message in the following form: “The top five (5) donors to the organization responsible for this advertisement are” followed by a list of the five (5) persons or entities making the largest aggregate donations during the twelve (12) month period before the date of such advertisement, provided that no donor shall be listed who is not required to be disclosed in a report to the board of elections by the person, business entity, or political action committee.

(d) No person, business entity or political action committee shall make or incur an independent expenditure or fund an electioneering communication for paid radio advertising or paid Internet audio advertising, unless the advertising ends with a personal audio statement by the entity’s chief executive officer or equivalent;

(1) Identifying the entity paying for the expenditure; and

(2) A personal audio message, in the following form: “I am …….. (name of entity’s chief executive officer or equivalent), ……………. (title), of …….. (entity), and I approved its content.”

(3) In the case of a person, business entity or political action committee making or incurring such an independent expenditure or electioneering communication, which entity is a tax-exempt organization under § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (other than an organization described in § 501(c)(3) of such Code) or an exempt nonprofit as defined in § 17-25-3, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time, or an organization organized under Section 527 of said code, such advertising shall also include:

(A) An audio message in the following form: “The top five (5) donors to the organization responsible for this advertisement are” followed by a list of the five (5) persons or entities making the largest aggregate donations during the twelve (12) month period before the date of such advertisement, provided that no donor shall be listed who is not required to be disclosed in a report to the board of elections by the person, business entity, or political action committee; or

(B) In the case of such an advertisement that is thirty (30) seconds in duration or shorter, an audio message providing a website address that lists such five (5) persons or entities, provided that no contributor shall be listed who is not required to be disclosed in a report to the board of elections by the person, business entity, or political action committee. In such case, the person, business entity or political action committee shall establish and maintain such a website with such listing for the entire period during which such person, business entity or political action committee makes such advertisement.

(e) No person, business entity or political action committee shall make or incur an independent expenditure or fund an electioneering communication for automated telephone calls, unless the narrative of the telephone call identifies the person, business entity or political action committee making the expenditure and its chief executive officer or equivalent. In the case of a person, business entity or political action committee making or incurring such an independent expenditure, which entity is a tax-exempt organization under § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (other than an organization described in § 501(c)(3) of such Code) or an exempt nonprofit as defined in § 17-25-3, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time, or an organization organized under Section 527 of said code, such narrative shall also include an audio message in the following form: “The top five (5) donors to the organization responsible for this telephone call are” followed by a list of the five (5) persons or entities making the largest aggregate donations during the twelve (12) month period before the date of such telephone call, provided that no donor shall be listed who is not required to be disclosed in a report to the board of elections by the person, business entity, or political action committee.
§ 17-25.3-4. Penalties.

(a) Any person who willfully and knowingly violates the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation.

(b) The state board of elections may impose a civil penalty upon any person, business entity, or political action committee who violates the provisions of this chapter in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or up to one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the aggregate amount of the independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers per violation, whichever is greater.
Chapter 17-26 – Penalties
§ 17-26-1. Felonies.

Every person who is convicted of any offense under this title which has been classified by the general assembly as a felony shall be imprisoned for a term of not more than ten (10) years, or fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both, for each offense.
§ 17-26-2. Misdemeanors.

Every person who is convicted of any offense under this title which has been classified by the general assembly as a misdemeanor shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding one year, or fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.
§ 17-26-3. Petty misdemeanors.

Every person who is convicted of any offense under this title which has been classified by the general assembly as a petty misdemeanor shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding six (6) months, or fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both.
Chapter 17-27 – Reporting of Political Contributions by State Vendors
§ 17-27-1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) “Aggregate amount” means the total of all contributions made to a particular general officer, candidate for general office, or political party within the time period set forth;

(2) “Business entity” means a sole proprietorship, partnership, firm, corporation, holding company, joint stock company, receivership, trust, or any other entity recognized in law through which business for profit is conducted;

(3) “Contribution” means a transfer of money, paid personal services, or other thing of value reportable under the terms of chapter 25 of this title;

(4) “Executive officer” means any person who is appointed or elected as an officer of a business entity by either the incorporators, stockholders, or directors of the business entity who is in charge of a principal business unit, division, or function of the business entity, or participates or has authority to participate other than in the capacity of a director in major policymaking functions of the business entity or who is actively engaged in soliciting business from the state or conducting, other than in a ministerial capacity, business with the state; provided, that officers of the business entity who are located outside the state, are not residents of the state, and do not participate in the business of the business entity within this state shall be exempted from the requirements of this chapter;

(5) “Goods or services” shall not include services provided to a state agency by:

(i) Any public utility company; or

(ii) A federal or state banking institution or other depository institution solely in connection with depository accounts held by the institution on behalf of a state agency;

(6) “State agency” means a branch, department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, or authority of the government of the state of Rhode Island;

(7)(i) “State vendor” means:

(A) A person or business entity that sells goods or provides services to any state agency,

(B) A person or business entity which has an ownership interest of ten (10%) percent or more in a business entity that sells goods or provides services to any state agency, or

(C) A person who is an executive officer of a business entity that sells goods or provides services to any state agency,

(D) The spouse or minor child of a person qualifying as a state vendor under the terms of subparagraphs (A), (B) or (C) of this paragraph, unless the spouse works for a vendor in competition for state business with the reporting business entity, or

(E) A business of the business entity that is a parent or subsidiary of a business entity that sells goods or provides services to any state agency.

(ii) “State vendor” does not mean:

(A) A municipality,

(B) A corporation established pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3),

(C) A hospital,

(D) A state or federal agency, or

(E) A person receiving reimbursement for an approved state expense. The director of administration is authorized to provide as a public record a list of further exemptions consistent with the purposes of this chapter.
§ 17-27-2. Affidavits required.

In connection with contracts for goods or services to be provided at a cost of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more between a state vendor and a state agency, whether written or unwritten, the state vendor shall execute, under oath, an affidavit concerning reportable contributions pursuant to chapter 25 of this title. If the state vendor has, within the twenty-four (24) months preceding the date of the contract, contributed an aggregate amount in excess of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) within a calendar year to any general officer, any candidate for a general office, any member of the general assembly or candidate for the general assembly, or any political party; the state vendor shall file the affidavit with the board of elections and shall list the name of the general officer, member of the general assembly or candidate or political party, the amount and date of each contribution made during the preceding twenty-four (24) months and the total gross amount, in dollars, of contracts entered into between the state vendor and all state agencies during that period of time.
§ 17-27-3. Filing of affidavits.

(a) The affidavit required by § 17-27-2 shall be filed, together with a copy of the contract or a written summary of the principal terms of the contract, with the board of elections. If the contract is in writing, then the affidavit shall be filed within sixty (60) days of the execution of the contract; if the contract is not in writing, then the affidavit shall be filed within sixty (60) days of the date when the state vendor first is notified that they have reached the five thousand dollar ($5,000) threshold established by § 17-27-2.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any state vendor who has a reasonable belief that it would be required to make two (2) or more filings in any calendar year pursuant to this section will be deemed to have satisfied its obligations under this section if it files a notice certifying that belief with the board of elections and subsequently files an affidavit meeting the requirements of this section on or before July 31 with respect to the preceding six (6) months ending on June 30 and on or before January 31 for the six (6) month period of the preceding year ending December 31.

(c) Parent, affiliate, or subsidiary entities of a state vendor which are required to report pursuant to this chapter may do so in the form of a consolidated report which contains the required information for both the vendor, its parent, subsidiary, or affiliated entity. All affidavits filed by state vendors pursuant to this chapter shall be public documents.

(d) The board of elections shall maintain on its website a report of all vendors submitting affidavits as required under this chapter which report shall include: the name of the vendor, a summary description of the vendor contract, if written, or the services performed or goods purchased and their cost, and the amount of reportable contributions pursuant to chapter 25 of this title.
§ 17-27-4. Notification and enforcement.

(a) The board of elections shall prepare a form affidavit for use by state vendors in compliance with the requirements of § 17-27-2.

(b) Each state agency which solicits or contracts with state vendors shall establish procedures for informing state vendors and potential state vendors of the requirements of this chapter.

(c) The board of elections shall be responsible for the enforcement of this chapter.
§ 17-27-5. Civil penalties.

(a) Any state vendor found by the board of elections to have willfully and knowingly violated the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) per offense.

(b) Any state vendor found by the board of elections to have willfully and knowingly violated the provisions of this chapter: (1) in connection with the commission of or in an attempt to commit fraud or bribery, (2) to conceal any political contribution unlawful under the provisions of chapter 25 of this title or any conduct prohibited by § 36-14.1-2, or (3) in an effort to induce any public official to violate any provision of chapter 14 of title 36, may be declared ineligible for the award of any additional state contracts for a period of time that the board of elections reasonably deems proportionate to the severity of the subject violation.
Chapter 17-28 – Address Confidentiality for Victims of Domestic Violence
§ 17-28-1. Purpose.

The general assembly finds that persons attempting to escape from actual or threatened domestic violence frequently establish new addresses in order to prevent their assailants or probable assailants from finding them. The purpose of this chapter is to enable victims of domestic violence and members of their household to participate in the electoral process by providing address confidentiality.
§ 17-28-2. Definitions.

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

(a) “Address” means a residential street address, of an individual, as specified on the individual’s application to be a program participant under this chapter.

(b) “Program participant” means a person certified as a program participant under § 17-28-3.

(c) “Victim of domestic violence” means an individual who has a restraining order issued by the family, superior, or district court pursuant to §§ 15-15-1, 15-15-9, or 8-8.1-3 or a domestic violence no contact order issued by the superior or district court pursuant to § 12-29-4 or a restraining order or no contact order issued by a court in another state for their protection and any individual living within the same household as the recipient of the restraining order or no contact order.
§ 17-28-3. Address confidentiality program – Application – Certification.

(a) An adult person who is a victim of domestic violence and any member of his/her household may apply to the secretary of state to have an address designated by the secretary of state serve as the person’s address. The secretary of state shall approve an application if it is filed in the manner and on the form prescribed by the secretary of state and if it contains:

(1) A sworn statement by the applicant:

(i) That the applicant is a victim of domestic violence, as defined in § 17-28-2(c) of this chapter;

(ii) That the applicant fears for his or her safety or his or her children’s safety, or;

(iii) That the applicant resides in the same household as a victim of domestic violence, as defined in subsection 17-28-2(c); and

(iv) That the individual who committed the domestic violence has knowledge that the applicant lives in the same household as the victim of domestic violence, as defined in subsection 17-28-2(c).

(2) The mailing address where the applicant can be contacted by the secretary of state, and the phone number or numbers where the applicant can be called by the secretary of state;

(3) The new address or addresses that the applicant requests not be disclosed for the reason that disclosure will increase the risk of domestic violence;

(4) The signature of the applicant, and of any individual or representative of any office designated in writing under § 17-28-6 who assisted in the preparation of the application, and the date on which the applicant signed the application.

(b) Applications shall be filed with the office of the secretary of state.

(c) Upon filing a properly completed application, the secretary of state shall certify the applicant as a program participant. Applicants shall be certified for four (4) years following the date of filing unless the certification is withdrawn or invalidated before that date. The secretary of state shall establish by rule a renewal procedure.

(d) A person who falsely attests in an application that disclosure of the applicant’s address would endanger the applicant’s safety or the safety of the applicant’s children, or who knowingly provides false or incorrect information upon making an application, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500).
§ 17-28-4. Certification cancellation.

(a) If the program participant obtains a name change, he or she shall lose certification as a program participant.

(b) The secretary of state may cancel a program participant’s certification if there is a change in the residential address from the one listed on the application, unless the program participant provides the secretary of state with seven (7) days’ prior notice of the change of address.

(c) The secretary of state may cancel certification of a program participant if mail forwarded by the secretary to the program participant’s address is returned as non-deliverable.

(d) The secretary of state shall cancel certification of a program participant who applies using false information.
§ 17-28-5. Voting by program participant – Use of designated address by board of canvassers.

(a) A program participant qualified to vote may apply for a mail ballot for all elections in the city or town in which that individual resides in the same manner as mail ballot voters who qualify under § 17-20-1 et seq. The program participant may use his or her designated address on the mail ballot application. The board of canvassers shall transmit the ballot to the program participant at the address designated in the application. Neither the name nor the address of a program participant shall be included in any list of registered voters available to the public.

(b) The board of canvassers may not make the participant’s address contained in voter registration records available for public inspection or copying except under the following circumstances:

(1) If requested by a law enforcement agency, to the law enforcement agency; and

(2) If directed by a court order, to a person identified in the order.
§ 17-28-6. Disclosure of address prohibited – Exceptions.

The secretary of state may not make a program participant’s address, other than the address designated by the secretary of state, available for inspection or copying, except under the following circumstances:

(1) If requested by a law enforcement agency, to the law enforcement agency;

(2) If directed by a court order, to a person identified in the order; and

(3) If certification has been canceled.
§ 17-28-7. Assistance for program applicants.

The secretary of state shall designate state and local agencies and nonprofit agencies that provide counseling and shelter services to victims of domestic violence to assist persons applying to be program participants. Any assistance and counseling rendered by the office of the secretary of state or its designee to applicants shall in no way be construed as legal advice.
§ 17-28-8. Adoption of rules.

The secretary of state and board of elections shall adopt rules to facilitate the administration of this chapter by state and local agencies and boards of canvassers.
Chapter 17-29 – Voter Choice Act
§ 17-29-1. Short title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Voter Choice Act.”
§ 17-29-2. Legislative declaration.

(a) The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:

(1) Majority rule is a fundamental principle of representative democracy, and the state’s election laws should uphold and facilitate this principle.

(2) In an election where more than two (2) candidates are running for an office, the candidate who receives a plurality of the votes may actually be opposed by the majority of voters.

(3) The state’s current voting method limits voters’ choices and contributes to lower voter participation.

(4) It is in the public interest to examine Rhode Island’s voting method and consider comprehensive reforms that would expand the choices realistically available to voters, increase participation, address the concerns of the major political parties, save money, and increase accountability.

(b) The general assembly further finds and declares that instant runoff voting and other advanced voting methods have the potential to:

(1) Expand the range of choices available to voters by allowing them to vote for candidates of minor political parties or unaffiliated candidates without fear of giving an advantage to the candidate they least prefer;

(2) Reduce both election administration costs and campaign expenditures by combining primary and general elections; and

(3) Promote campaigns that are more positive and focused on issues because candidates will seek to appeal to opponents’ supporters as a second choice.
§ 17-29-3. Voter choice study commission – Established – Definitions.

(a) The voter choice study commission is hereby established for the purpose of studying instant runoff voting and other advanced voting methods.

(b) As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, “Advanced voting method” means a voting method that allows an elector to indicate a preference for more than one candidate in an election and that determines the winner of the election by majority vote. “Advanced voting method” includes, but is not limited to, instant runoff voting, approval voting, range voting, and proportional voting.

(c) The voter choice study commission shall consist of sixteen (16) members selected as follows:

(1) Eight (8) members to be appointed by the speaker of the house, no more than five (5) of whom shall be from the same political party, and at least three (3) of whom shall be the clerk of a city or town of this state;

(2) Eight (8) members to be appointed by the president of the senate, no more than five (5) of whom shall be from the same political party, at least three (3) of whom shall be the clerk of a city or town of this state; and

(3) Provided, that all members of the study commission shall be registered voters of this state at the time of their selection and at all times while they remain on said study group.

(d) Members of the voter choice study group shall be appointed no later than August 1, 2012.

(e) The voter choice study commission shall:

(1) Study advanced voting methods;

(2) Analyze the requirements for implementing advanced voting methods, including public education, voting equipment and technology, ballot designs, the costs of conducting the pilot project established by this chapter and using advanced voting methods in elections for state and federal offices, and savings due to the elimination of primary elections;

(3) Determine the level of public support for a change in voting methods;

(4) Review the experience of other states in conducting elections using advanced voting methods;

(5) Recommend statutory changes to implement advanced voting methods in elections for state and federal offices to be held in the state in 2014;

(6) Make recommendations on making all voting systems used in the state compatible with advanced voting methods by 2014, including a review of the availability and costs of necessary voting equipment;

(7) Make recommendations to the governing bodies and designated election officials of political subdivisions of the state on preparing to conduct an election using an advanced voting methods; and

(8) Consider changes to the state’s statutes governing access to the ballot for presidential candidates.

(f) The voter choice study commission shall present a report on its work to the general assembly, the governor, and the secretary of state no later than November 1, 2013.

(g) The director of research of the legislative council and the director of the office of legislative legal services shall provide staff assistance to the voter choice study commission.

(h) The members of the voter choice study commission shall serve without compensation; except that the members shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.