Senate passes Acosta’s mail ballot application bill


            STATE HOUSE – The Senate today passed legislation (2024-S 2778A) sponsored by Sen. Jonathon Acosta which would eliminate the requirement of signing with an “X” on mail ballot applications for voters who cannot sign their name due to blindness, disability, or inability to read or write.

            “This bill will allow voters who may need help filling out their mail ballots to exercise their voting rights while also protecting said voters and our elections from being manipulated by bad actors.  The sanctity of our electoral process and ensuring that eligible voters are able to vote are vital to our society and this legislation protects both,” said Senator Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket).

            The bill amends the current law by allowing an individual with blindness, disability, or inability to read or write, or their assistant, to mark a box on the mail ballot application to indicate the voter cannot sign due to blindness, disability, or inability to read or write. The full name, residence address, signature, and optionally the telephone number and e-mail address, of the person who helped the voter must be included on a form provided by the Secretary of State. The representation relating to the voter’s inability to sign would be made under the pains and penalties of perjury.

            The legislation would also establish a three-day transmittal period after the deadline for local boards to accept mail ballot applications, if the application is delivered via the Postal Service.

            The bill now heads to the House for consideration.