Letter: Urge R.I. legislators to pass voting bills

Posted 6/24/21

To the editor:

Our East Providence Representatives Katherine Kazarian and Gregg Amore have introduced a bill in the Legislature, H6003, to make it easier for all Rhode Islanders to vote.  …

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Letter: Urge R.I. legislators to pass voting bills

Posted

To the editor:

Our East Providence Representatives Katherine Kazarian and Gregg Amore have introduced a bill in the Legislature, H6003, to make it easier for all Rhode Islanders to vote.  This, and the companion bill in the Senate, S 516, both must be passed by the committees and sent to the floors of the House and Senate for a vote.

Democracy depends on maximum voter participation. A poll of 500 RI voters conducted in April of 2020 found that 86% thought it was important that voting be made easier in Rhode Island.   The four elections held last year showed that the measures work smoothly and enhance voter turnout.

During the pandemic, Rhode Island instituted a number of successful measures to make voting as easy and safe as possible.  These bills would make the changes permanent:

People will be allowed to vote by mail without an excuse or the need for a notary or two witnesses.  (RI is one of only a handful of states that still require this.) Instead, there is enhanced signature verification. 

Upon request, voters will be able to sign on to automatically receive mail ballots, and can request them on line. Both these measures will save the state money.  The voter registration list will be rigorously maintained and updated.  There will be an early voting period including the weekend before the election so voters do not have to take time off work or find babysitters to vote.  There will be secure drop boxes for ballots in each community so people can vote at any time of day. Finally, the primary date will be moved to August to provide more time to get ballots to military and overseas voters, and more time for election administrators to conduct rigorous audits of the election results. 

Citizens who care about democracy should contact the chair of the House Committee on State Government and Elections, Evan P. Shanley, rep-shanley@rilegislature.gov, to urge the committee pass the H 6003.  You can contact the Chair of the Senate Committee, Cynthia Coyne, at sen-coyne@rilegislature.gov.  If you live in the parts of Riverside that are in her district, be sure to point that out.  The Senate bill is S 516. Ask them to pass these bills and send them to the House or Senate floor for a vote.  If you are not sure who your legislators are, you can find out at https://www.SOS.ri.gov.

Rhode Islanders pride ourselves on being independent.  To control our destiny, we must be able to vote.

Susan Escherich

Riverside

League of Women Voters of Rhode Island

 

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