September 22, 2006

Stenhouse’s Secretary of State Proposals

Carroll Andrew Morse

Sue Stenhouse, Republican candidate for Secretary of State, had an op-ed in Wednesday’s Projo where she discussed the importance of voter participation and outlined her camapign platform…

There are many reasons why people do not exercise their right to vote. As a candidate for Rhode Island secretary of state, I propose a plan to encourage stronger voter participation and involvement....

As Rhode Islanders, we're known for having strong opinions and for sharing them. Some think that the future of Rhode Island lies in a few powerful hands; I believe that it belongs to every person who casts a vote on Election Day. Let's work together to make our election process more efficient and accessible, and increase voter participation throughout the state.

Here is the concise summary of the five-point plan propsed by Ms. Stenhouse, as presented on her campaign website…
The 2010 Stenhouse Election Reform Plan proposes:
  • VOTER CREDENTIAL CARDS: that the city of Warwick be a test pilot site for the use of voters’ credential cards. Currently, Warwick provides photo identification cards with barcodes for library patrons. Stenhouse is proposing that a similar card be issued to all qualified voters in Warwick to be used in the general election in 2010. Stenhouse would explore ways to expand upon voting standards mandated in the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that have begun to be implemented in the Secretary of State’s Office. Legislation will be proposed in the 2007 General Assembly session establishing Warwick as a pilot site, and federal funds will be sought to pay for the equipment to be used.
  • EXPANDED VOTING HOURS: that the City of Warwick also be a test pilot site to allow voters to cast their votes the Saturday and Monday prior to election Tuesday in November 2010 at designated polling places in the city. With the institution of voter swipe cards and expanded days to vote, Stenhouse believes voter turnout will increase by becoming more efficient and convenient.
  • SECRETARY OF STATE REPRESENTATION ON THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS: that the Secretary of State or his/her designee serve on the Board of Elections as a non-voting member to foster better communication between the two entities responsible for overseeing elections in the state.
  • JUNE PRIMARY DATE: to move Rhode Island’s primary date from the second week in September to the second week in June during a general election year. This change, which would require legislative action, would be instituted for the 2010 general election. Stenhouse believes that voters need more than 8 weeks following a primary to become a truly educated electorate to choose individuals to represent our state in the United State Senate for a six-year term and to lead our state as Governor for a four-year term.
  • INCREASED PUBLIC MATCH DOLLARS: that candidates who then win the June primary and choose to participate in public financing and adhere to spending caps would receive 30 percent more in the public match than they would have received for the 8-week period from primary to general. Stenhouse believes that by increasing the match, more qualified candidates with limited means will come forward to run for public office. The proposed increase in the public match also would need legislative approval.