It’s finally almost over. 

By sometime Tuesday night, the last votes will be in, the counting carrying on for a few more days. In some cases, there will be those who will go to bed Tuesday evening knowing they had won, but in most cases, it’s likely the outcome will remain in doubt for perhaps a few days. That’s from the White House to local councils and school committees. But also, at stake in this country are not only elected positions but important referenda, from the legalization of marijuana (Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota) to an anti-abortion declaration (Louisiana).

Polls open in all communities in Rhode Island, except New Shoreham, at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 8 p.m. In New Shoreham (Block Island) polls open at 9 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. For your own voter information, you can visit https://vote.sos.ri.gov/.

In Rhode Island, we’ve had vibrant campaigns for statehouse seats and positions on local councils and school committees – including on Aquidneck Island. At WhatsUpNewp we’ve tried to introduce you to each of the candidates, in written stories and videocasts, still available on our website. And, in Newport, there’s a $100 million-plus bond issue to build a new high school and expand an elementary school, critical, supporters say, to eliminate a deteriorating school and being able to deliver a 21st-century educational experience to students. Middletown voters will decide on a $5 million open space bond.

Statewide, voters are being asked to eliminate the word plantations from the state’s name (currently Rhode Island and Providence Plantations). What’s not on the ballot is a bond issue to provide funds for affordable housing. Rhode Island is last in spending on housing in New England for affordable housing.

In the General Assembly there are several key races, but none as significant as Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, D-Dist.15 (Cranston), who is being challenged by Republican Barbara Ann Fenton Fung, wife of Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who is term-limited. Allan Fung ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2014 and 2018. Two years ago, Mattiello eked out a win over Republican Steven Frias by just 329 votes. 

As Speaker of the House, Mattiello is considered the most powerful individual in the statehouse, in control of what eventually makes it to the floor of the state House of Representatives. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, D-Dist, 4 of North Providence is facing a challenge to the Senate Presidency from Sen. Gayle Goldin, D-Dist 3 of Providence. Neither Ruggerio nor Goldin has an opponent in the General Election.

It’s a battle between the growing progressive wing of the State Senate and moderates. In the Primary Election, progressives won some key positions, ousting Senate leadership. The Rhode Island Political Cooperative is a progressive movement that endorsed several candidates, including Michelle McGaw, who is running for House District 71 (Portsmouth, Tiverton, and Little Compton).

A Latino advocacy group has endorsed Sen. Gayle Goldin in her quest to replace Sen. Dominick Ruggerio as Senate president in the next legislative session.

Up and down the ballot from east to the west coast, there are competitive elections that can change the dynamic in the U.S. Senate, the balance of governors, and state legislatures. Throughout the country, there are also elections for various statewide officers, prosecutors, sheriffs, and Supreme Court Justices.

Additionally, there are a host of referenda on a statewide and city level, covering numerous issues. Of most interest to Rhode Island, perhaps, are the referenda on legalizing marijuana in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. For the last few years, the Rhode Island legislature and Gov. Raimondo have debated whether to seek a referendum legalizing marijuana. 

With all the politicking virtually done, it’s now time for the people to speak.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.