Election integrity bill now law
Measure establishes clarity on reporting suspicious signatures on nomination papers

 

STATE HOUSE – Legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer and Rep. June S. Speakman to establish a clear process for reporting and investigating cases of suspected signature fraud involving candidates’ nomination papers has been signed into law.

The legislation (2024-H 7664A, 2024-S 3058), which the sponsored introduced on behalf of Secretary of State Gregg M. Amore, codifies a clear process for local boards of canvassers to immediately notify the State Board of Elections if there is a specific pattern of forgery or fraud involving signatures on a local, state or federal candidate’s nomination papers.

The legislation was a response to nomination papers submitted in the 1st congressional district race last summer that included purported signatures of numerous deceased individuals. A campaign contractor and a paid signature gatherer working for her have been charged in the case.

That situation brought to light a lack of clarity in how local elections officials should report cases of questionable signatures.

“I readily agreed to introduce this bill on Secretary Amore’s behalf because I share his commitment to the integrity of the electoral process,” said Representative Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol). “I was honored to sponsor this bill as it addresses and resolves concerns about the signature-gathering process that emerged in a recent election and ensures that any concerns that arise are resolved quickly, clearly and with transparency.”

Said Chairwoman Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), “I was happy to sponsor this important bill from Secretary Amore that lays out clear, transparent and sensible procedures to ensure the integrity of the nomination paper process. In particular, it facilitates communication and cooperation between the boards of canvassers so that local election officials are not alone on an island when they find something that looks amiss.”

Under the new law, the Board of Elections would issue a written determination of whether there is an instance of forgery and whether a candidate would qualify on the ballot regardless of forgery allegations.

This legislation will take effect in 2025. The Board of Elections — which already carried out a similar process when forgery was suspected on nomination papers for presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy — is in the process of creating rules and regulations on this issue to ensure there is a process in place for this summer’s signature period. Still, codifying it into state law would provide clarity, permanence and provide the public with confidence in the election system.

“This legislation codifies a clear, direct process through which any question regarding the validity of nomination papers can be quickly reviewed and addressed in a transparent manner – making sure there is no room for doubt in the security of this important elections process,” said Secretary of State Gregg M. Amore. “I thank the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives, especially Chairwoman Euer and Representative Speakman, for their support of this legislation and their dedication to ensuring voter confidence in our elections systems.”

 

 

Leaders from around the world are condemning the assassination attempt of former President Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania. Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said such violence has no justification in the world. India's Prime Minister Narenda Modi said he condemns the attempt and wished Trump a speedy recovery. French President Emmanuel Macron said the shooting was a tragedy "for our democracies."       The FBI is leading a probe into the assassination attempt on former President Trump. They identified the dead gunman as 20-year-old Thomas Mathew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. Agents swarmed the shooter's home overnight and found explosive materials. The FBI says he acted alone although the motive for the shooting remains unclear.        The U.S. Secret Service is facing intense scrutiny following the assassination attempt on former President Trump. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are asking how a sniper was able to get on a rooftop about 400 feet from the stage and fire shots at Trump. There are also questions about the size of the rally security perimeter and what efforts agents took to sweep the shooter's building.       Lots of Houston-area residents are still sweltering in the dark after Hurricane Beryl slammed Texas last week. As of last check, over 290-thousand customers were without electricity.        The fate of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez is in the hands of a New York jury. The veteran Democrat is accused of taking bribes to help two co-defendants win lucrative business deals.        "The Daily Show" is canceling tapings in Milwaukee during the Republican National Convention following the assassination attempt on former President Trump at a Pennsylvania rally on Saturday. In a post on X, the show cited logistical issues and the "evolving situation in Milwaukee" as the reason. The Comedy Central news-satire show sold out multiple nights in the city.