Poll Workers LWVRI recommends that Boards of Canvassers be given increased authority and responsibility for recruitment as well as for selection of poll workers. Except for party primaries, poll workers should not be limited to members of the Democratic and Republican parties. Unaffiliated voters should be eligible, and members of other parties should not be excluded from appointment. To safeguard election integrity, no polling place should be staffed by members of a single party. The State Board of Elections training of poll workers should be strengthened and improved and should include input from local boards. Smaller class size and more hands on experience with machines exemplify changes LWVRI supports. LWVRI supports mandatory training for poll workers before certification to work at a poll. A reasonable certification period should be established, so that workers need not repeat training unnecessarily. LWVRI encourages wider use of the half-day at half-pay provision currently in RI law.
Election Day/Polling Place Because witnessing disaffiliation signatures can consume an inordinate amount of a warden's time during Primary elections, the law should permit an additional person to be authorized to witness disaffiliation signatures. Each polling place should be required to have a "street index" of voting districts and a list of polls for the entire city or town, or equivalent information, to assist voters. A method to provide feedback from voters and poll workers should be provided at each polling place. Adequate outside lighting at entrances and in parking areas at polling places should be required by law. While recognizing that additional cost may be incurred in some instances, LWVRI believes that safety of voters is of utmost importance.
Mail Ballots LWVRI supports the concept of "no excuse" absentee voting, in which any voter may make application and receive an absentee ballot without stating a reason. While this method may present opportunities for fraudulent voting different from the current method, appropriate safeguards would prevent the overall rate of fraud from increasing. LWVRI does NOT support the concept of permanent "no excuse" absentee status, but believes the voter must reapply for each election.
Early Voting Early voting procedures should be investigated by the state for feasibility of use in Rhode Island.
Adopted January 8, 1996