RI ACLU: some problems found in 2016 election


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Chapter of the ACLU has issued a new report documenting some problems with the state’s 2016 general election.

In a news release, the group reported that things went smoothly at most polling places, but that they had found cases in which voters were turned away from polling places.

The report cited two specific examples, one in Warwick and one in Providence, in which residents arrived to vote but did not have identification with them. State law mandates that people who cannot provide an ID should be offered a provisional ballot, but the ACLU claims that in both examples, that didn’t happen.

Other concerns included instances in which people went to the wrong polling place and were either not directed to the correct one or not given a provisional ballot.

There were also several reports of long lines, insufficient numbers of ballot scanners, and broken-down ballot scanners.

The ACLU recommended better training for poll workers, a repeal of the state’s voter ID law, and adding more scanners and technicians to keep them working.

Eyewitness News reached out to Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea’s office for comment on the ACLU report and she provided this statement:

“The right to vote is sacred and people need to trust the integrity of our elections. We share many of the same concerns identified by the ACLU in their report. My office is convening a task force consisting of representatives from the Board of Elections and local elections officials to address the need for better poll worker training and increased efficiency at the polls. It is imperative that we safeguard the right for all eligible Rhode Islanders to vote by continuing to improve our elections systems.”

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