Early Voting Proposed for Rhode Island - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Early Voting Proposed for Rhode Island

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 

mcurtis@abc6.com 

Last November, some providence polling places were packed for hours, with long lines...and frustrated voters.

Now a state lawmakers is proposing early voting - letting people cast ballots up to three weeks before election day.

State Rep. Deb Ruggiero (D-Rhode Island) said, "It was the perfect storm. You know we had polling places that were reduced. We closed the closing times at polls 8 o'clock versus 9 o'clock.  Some people were confused as to where they voted."

Republicans are worried, saying more voting days may lead to more mistakes.

In last year's primary, one mail-in ballot went missing, and you guessed it, that race was eventually decided by one vote.

State Rep. Joe Trillo (R-Rhode Island) said, "We can't even get our act straight in a one day election. Just imagine how difficult it would be if we had ballots out there for 28 or 30 days."

ABC6 Reporter Mark Curtis said, "Rhode Island may be a bit late to the table on this issue. Thirty–two states and the District of Columbia already allow some form of early voting."

But critics worry that multiple days of voting will just lead to illegal voting.

Rep. Joe Trillo (R-RI) said, "It will open the door for more voter fraud than we already have, that we can't get a handle on."

Supporters of early voting say they've seen no evidence of that.

State Rep. Deb Ruggiero (D-RI) said, "There's never any voter fraud. Usually the issues are in counting the ballots, but it's never with voting."

The proposal would allow people to cast early ballots - every Thursday and Friday - beginning three weeks before Election Day.

Governor Chafee promises to sign it, if it passes the General Assembly.

 

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