PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea today convened the third and final meeting of her Elections Task Force made up of state and local elections officials along with Rhode Island voters. The task force has heard from national experts on best practices in elections administration and citizens concerned with Election Day operations. Today the task force met to discuss their preliminary recommendations to improve elections in Rhode Island.
Secretary Gorbea invited Matthew V. Masterson, Chairman of U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), to present national trends and best practices in elections administration and offer feedback to the task force recommendations.
"The single act of casting a ballot is fundamental to our democracy and critically important to making government accountable to the people it serves," Secretary Gorbea said. "I thank all of the Rhode Islanders who were part of these conversations along with the State Board of Elections and the local clerks. I look forward to working with all of the stakeholders to implement these recommendations for improving our elections systems."
Among the recommendations discussed were legislative initiatives such as Early In-Person Voting, Automatic Voter Registration, Post-election Audits, and clarifying the number of voting machines that the Board of Elections can allocate at each polling place. These initiatives are currently under review at the General Assembly. Other recommendations called for investment to fully implement the very popular electronic-poll books across the state; and using best practices identified in the private sector to improve field operations on Election Day.
"All of us around the table are committed to ensuring that elections run smoothly and efficiently in Rhode Island," said Board of Elections Vice Chairwoman Diane Mederos. "It was great to hear the creative ideas on how to improve elections administration not only from experts in the field, but from concerned voters as well."
Members of the Elections Task Force are: Diane Mederos, Vice Chairwoman, Board of Elections; William West and Dr. Isadore Ramos, Commissioners, Board of Elections; Louis Cirillo, Town Clerk, Bristol; Louise Phaneuf Town Clerk, Burrillville; Sonia Grace, City Clerk, Central Falls; Cheryl Fernstrom, Town Clerk and Karen Montoya Deputy Town Clerk, Jamestown; Kenneth McGill, City Registrar, Pawtucket; Renay Brooks Omisore, Board of Canvassers, Providence; Patty Aylesworth, Director of Elections and Dottie McCarthy, Board of Canvassers, Warwick; Michele Murphy, Board of Canvassers and Cathy Brayman, Deputy Town Clerk, Westerly; Sheri Sweitzer and Pilar McCloud, Rhode Island voters.