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OM 17-09 Pierson v. Coventry Board of Canvassers and Registration VIOLATION

Complainant alleged that the BOC violated the OMA when it failed to timely post its agenda for its September 15, 2016 meeting. While the Complainant attended the meeting, the evidence indicated that the late notice left the Complainant little time to arrange his schedule and that he missed a good portion of the meeting's substance. Accordingly, we found that the Complainant was aggrieved. See R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-8(a). Turning to the merits, we found that the drawing of names to determine the ballot order was an "action" over which the BOC has "supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power[,]" and accordingly that a BOC "meeting" was convened on September 15, 2016. See R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-2(1). Although we found that the BOC violated the OMA, we noted that the BOC's attempts to rectify its violation by giving notice in writing to each of the candidates who might have been affected by the meeting, including the Complainant, militated against a finding that the BOC willfully or knowing violated the OMA.

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