Non-plurality voting commission releases findings and recommendations


STATE HOUSE – A Senate commission studying alternative voting methods and their potential benefits to Rhode Island has released its findings and recommendations.

The commission’s final report provides an extensive review of non-plurality and runoff voting methods, details their potential advantages and disadvantages to Rhode Island, outlines potential legal and logistical challenges to their adoption and presents methods of selecting winners in elections that commission members feel could be beneficial for Rhode Island.

“This report will inform our legislators and the public as we consider bills to enact versions of these alternative voting methods in the upcoming session,” said Sen. Samuel D. Zurier (D-Dist. 3, Providence), chairman of the commission. “Our right to vote is fundamental to our democratic form of government, so we must proceed carefully with changes to our system. With that said, our pure plurality voting system has produced results in multi-candidate elections that have raised questions about the consistency of the outcome with the bedrock principle of majority rule. I personally plan to introduce legislation to ask the voters to amend our Constitution to clear the legal path for some of these alternatives.”

“I want to thank my fellow commission members for their contributions to our understanding of this complex and important topic, and to the Senate legal staff for presenting the Commission’s work in this comprehensive document,” said Senator Zurier. “And I want to extend a special thanks to all those who testified before the commission. Their presentations added significantly to the report’s quality and scope.”

The Special Senate Commission to Study Non-Plurality Voting Methods and Runoff Elections for General Assembly and General Officer Primaries was composed of seven members appointed by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio: Senator Zurier, Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, West Greenwich), Sen. Anthony P. DeLuca II (R-Dist. 29, Warwick), Board of Elections Executive Director Robert Rapoza, Director of Elections Kathy Placencia, Cranston Registrar/Director of Elections Nick Lima and Coventry Board of Canvassers Clerk Lori Anderson.

Additional information about the commission, including all commission documents and the final report can be found online at the commission webpage.