By J. Clement Cicilline, Chair, Newport Democratic City Committee

I would like to remind all Newport voters that there is a Presidential Preference Primary on June 2 and the last day to make application for a mail ballot is next Tuesday, May 19. If an application for a mail ballot hasn’t been received, contact the Secretary of State’s office at 401.222.2340 or elections@sos.ri.gov.

While it seems very apparent which major party candidates will ultimately be nominated later this year, it is still most important that all eligible voters participate in this primary and in all other elections in Rhode Island. Sure, these are very challenging times from a health, economic, and psychological perspective. Some may be thinking that now is the time to take a pass.

But, this would be a serious mistake. Our very democracy depends upon our participation.  The fewer the people involved, the less likely that your point of view will be represented. We need to have our voices heard so that government works for us and the best way is through the ballot box. Moreover, voting is our civic responsibility.

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Because of the pandemic, and as a result of the collaboration of the Board of Elections, the Secretary of State’s office, the Boards of Canvassers in RI, and constituent advisory groups, most of us will be voting by mail next month. Several states have been voting this way for many years, but, here in RI, this is the first time on such a massive scale. 

The requirement that a mail ballot be notarized has been waived, making it easier for us. Some people may be concerned this opens the door for voter fraud. But, the biggest problem here is matching the signature on the ballot with the signature on file. 

The mail ballot already has a prepaid stamp on it, so once you vote, and sign it, you simply seal the envelope and put it in the mail. But, you need to have an application for a mail ballot completed and returned by the deadline. Postage is prepaid for this, too.

For those who choose not to vote by mail, there will be the option of voting in person on June 2 at Pell School in Newport. Appropriate health measures will be in place that day.

For further detail on the election process: Sec. of State’s office  elections@sos.ri.gov or 401.222.2340; Board of Elections Boe.elections@elections.ri.gov or 401.222.2345; Newport Board of Canvassers tnelson@cityofnewport.com or 401.845.5386.

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