PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Let RI Vote Act has cleared another hurdle as the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed the measure on a 52-13 vote Tuesday.
The goal of the bill is to expand voter access while ensuring integrity in state elections.
“As we saw in 2020, early voting alternatives were used by a large portion of our population and the results of this change in voting patterns produced a smooth and secure election process that ensured that everyone’s vote was safely counted,” said bill sponsor Whip Katherine Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence).
“It is for this reason that I introduced this bill to make these temporary changes in election law permanent, making sure that every voter has the ability to cast their ballot easily, safely and securely,” she added.
Some aspects of the measure include online mail ballot applications, no-excuse mail or emergency ballots and drops a two witness or notarized signature requirement.
The bill was met with opposition from Republican House members who raised several concerns with the bill.
“This bill opens the door to the continuation of third party ballot harvesting by political operations,” said RIGOP Chairwoman Sue Cienki.
“Additionally, it creates two separate systems of voting, with ID’s required for in-person and early voting, and no ID requirement on mail ballots and the acceptance of an “X” as a legitimate signature,” the chairwoman added.
Gov. Dan McKee sent out statement following the House passage supporting the proposal, adding he’s “ready to sign it.”
The legislation will now head to the Senate, where a companion bill was passed last month.
AUTHOR: Matthew Stevens
May 17, 2022