CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Within days of signaling it was moving on from a signature scandal tied to the Sabina Matos campaign, the R.I. Board of Elections announced Friday it will meet next week to reexamine the issue and potentially “vote to commence further investigatory actions.”

Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos is one of 12 Democrats running to represent the 1st Congressional District. The candidate has become engulfed in an ongoing scandal spanning multiple communities where Rhode Islanders claim their signatures were forged on her nomination papers.

On Tuesday, BOE members announced they were confident Matos had enough valid signatures to qualify for the Sept. 5 primary election ballot, saying they were not going to reexamine nomination papers for any potentially fraudulent signatures that may have been validated.

But on Friday, BOE Christopher Hunter distributed the agenda for next the board meeting next Tuesday afternoon, showing the members will meet in open session to discuss the ongoing investigation into the nomination papers and they “may vote to commence further investigatory actions in this matter.”

The ongoing scandal has spurred the R.I. Attorney General and R.I. State Police to open a criminal investigation into whether any fraud was committed. The BOE and R.I. Secretary of State have also called for more time between when nomination papers are submitted and when the state has to issue ballots with the names of validated candidates.

Separately, advocates have argued the board has the legal authority to reexamine the signatures.

Common Cause Rhode Island executive director John Marion previously told Target 12 the board could have been more proactive in reviewing Matos’s signatures under its existing authority.

“The board clearly has the ability, under statute and their own regulations, to review all of the signatures submitted by the Matos campaign, even in the absence of a challenge,” Marion said last week.

Angel Taveras, the former Democratic mayor of Providence, who also does legal work for the Secretary of State’s office, said the BOE does have the authority to independently verify the signatures on nomination papers.

“The Board of Elections has broad power including overseeing the local board of canvassers who are the ones who verify the signatures on these nomination papers,” Tavaras said this week on Newsmakers. “I do think that power is there.”

Earlier this week, Matos told Target 12 that law enforcement had not contacted her about the criminal probe. The lieutenant governor said she was trying to move past the issue that’s cast a cloud on her bid for the 1st Congressional District.

“We’re just ready to respond to anything that they’re going to ask for,” Matos said on Wednesday. “More than anybody, I want to make sure that everything is clarified.”

The criminal investigation is examining whether there’s any potential fraud. Initial reports suggest the potentially forged signatures appeared most commonly on paperwork submitted by a Matos-hired contractor named Holly McClaren, although there were other instances as well.

As of Wednesday, Matos said she still had not talked with McClaren since the scandal broke last month. McClaren, who put together a team of signature collectors, told Target 12 last month she didn’t forge any signatures.

“I have no reason to speak with them, and right now, the attorney general is the one that is conducting the investigation,” Matos said. “I’m not conducting an investigation.”

Separately, McClaren’s attorney told Target 12 that as of Wednesday, she also hadn’t heard yet from law enforcement. Her attorney said last month he’d contacted the attorney general’s office and offered to set up a meeting with prosecutors.

Alexandra Leslie ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter covering Providence and more for 12 News. Connect with her on X, formerly known as Twitter and on Facebook.

Tim White contributed to this report.