AN ACT RELATING TO ELECTIONS -- NOMINATION OF PARTY AND INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES
Amends several election statutes to require votes received by declared write-in candidates to be reported, requires a declaration to be filed by candidates to be elected by write-in and considers ballots cast for no office to be "irregular ballots".
2019-02-27: Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
2019-04-05: Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (04/10/2019)
2019-04-10: Committee recommended measure be held for further study
2019-06-21: Scheduled for consideration
2019-06-21: Scheduled for consideration (06/24/2019)
2019-06-24: Placed on House Calendar
2019-06-24: Placed on House Calendar (06/26/2019)
2019-06-24: Committee recommends passage
2019-06-26: House read and passed
2019-06-27: House voted to reconsider
2019-06-27: House passed as amended (floor amendment)
2019-06-28: Referred to Senate Judiciary
Changes since original draft
2019 – H 5709
S TATE OF RHODE IS L AND
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2019
A N A C T
RELATING TO ELECTIONS – NOMINATION OF PARTY AND INDEPENDENT
Introduced By: Representatives Vella-Wilkinson, Morin, Almeida, Williams, and Ucci
Date Introduced: February 27, 2019
Referred To: House Judiciary
(Board of Elections)
It is enacted by the GeneralAssembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 17-14 of the General Laws entitled "Nomination of Party and Independent Candidates" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
17-14-18. Declaration of intent of write-in candidacy.
(a) No later than four p.m. (4:00) on the first Friday preceding any presidential preference primary, primary or general election or election regularly scheduled for a time other than the biennial general statewide election, each voter seeking to be a write-in candidate at the upcoming election shall, on a form provided by the secretary of state, file a declaration of his or her intent of write-in candidacy for a federal, state, or local office appearing on the ballot. The declaration of intent 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 is original and 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 office sought;
(4) The candidate's place and date of birth;
(5) The length of residence in the state and in the town or city where he or she resides;
(6) 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;
(7) A certification that he or she has not been lawfully adjudicated to be of unsound mind;
(8) If a person is a candidate for a state or localoffice, 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.
SECTION 2. Section 17-19-31 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-19 entitled "Conduct of Election and Voting Equipment, and Supplies" is hereby amended to read as follows:
17-19-31. Irregular ballots.
Ballots voted for any office in which no candidate appears on the ballot for that office, or in any other office for any person whose name does not appear on the ballot as a nominated candidate for office and who has been duly qualified pursuant to § 17-14-18 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; nor shallany irregular ballot be voted for any person who has not been duly qualified under the requirements of § 17-14- 18, unless the vote is cast for an office in which no candidate appears on the ballot 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 shallbe 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
LC001915 - Page 2of 5 delivered to the local board of canvassers. The local board shallreceive 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 shall only record all write-in votes cast for persons meeting the requirements of this section 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.
SECTION 3. Section 17-22-7 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-22 entitled "Tabulation and Certification of Returns by State Board"is hereby amended to read as follows:
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 generalofficers; 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 shallcontain:
(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 eachcandidate 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 qualifying as write-in candidates pursuant to the requirements of § 17-19-31 and, not otherwise qualifying to appear on the ballot and receiving less than five (5) votes in a race, as a
LC001915 - Page 3of 5 composite total of all write-in votes cast for said office.
SECTION 4. This act shalltake effect upon passage. ======== LC001915 ========
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BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
A N A C T
RELATING TO ELECTIONS – NOMINATION OF PARTY AND INDEPENDENT
This act would require the board of elections to report all votes received by declared write-in candidates, would require a declaration to be filed by candidates to be elected by write-in ballots and would provide that ballots cast for an office in which no candidate appears on the ballot shall be irregular ballots.
This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC001915 ========
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