Election integrity bill passes General Assembly

Legislation establishes clarity on reporting suspicious signatures on nomination papers


STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly today approved legislation to establish a clear process for reporting and investigating cases of suspected signature fraud involving candidates’ nomination papers.

The legislation, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer and Rep. June S. Speakman on behalf of Secretary of State Gregg M. Amore, now goes to the governor.

The legislation (2024-H 7664A, 2024-S 3058) would codify 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 is 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 am 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 am 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 legislation, 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 would 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.”


A New Mexico judge has dismissed manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin in his "Rust" trial. Baldwin was rehearsing with a prop gun on the movie set when it went off, firing a live round and killing cinematographer Hutchins in 2021. On Friday, the judge agreed with the defense that the prosecution withheld evidence about on-set ammunition, and ruled the case cannot be re-tried.       President Biden is trying to reassure voters he's up for the job. Speaking to supporters in Detroit, he addressed the issue of his age, saying "I promise you, I'm OK." This comes as he faces more calls from Democrats to drop his re-election bid over concerns about his mental fitness.        A historic heat wave is still scorching the West. Millions from California to Colorado are expected to deal with triple digit temperatures into the weekend. Las Vegas hit six days in row of temperatures at or above 115 degrees yesterday. Today, Vegas will see 115 again, while Phoenix could hit 116 and Sacramento could see 111.        AT&T believes a hacker has stolen records of calls and texts from almost all of its wireless customers. The company announced this morning that the stolen data doesn't include the content of calls or texts, or personal info like Social Security numbers or birth dates. It does include which numbers a customer interacted with, and data like how long a call lasted. AT&T said it's working with law enforcement and at least one person has been apprehended.        A judge is dismissing Rudy Giuliani's bankruptcy case. The judge in the case says the ex-New York City mayor was evasive with his assets. The move now allows creditors, including two defamed Georgia election workers, to collect what they're owed from the former mayor.       It's on to the finals at Wimbledon. In men's semfinal action today, three seed Carlos Alcaraz defeated five seed Danill Medvedev in four sets to advance to the final. Meanwhile four time champion Novak Djokovic [[ jow-kuh-vuhch ]] beat 25 seed Lorenzo Musetti in straight sets to also advance. Alcaraz will take on Djokovic in the final on Sunday. Tomorrow, seven seed Jasmine Paolini will take on Barbora Krejcikova [[ krech-ee-kova ]] in the women's final.