2018 ELECTION CANDIDATE SURVEY

'2018 ELECTION CANDIDATE SURVEY' Pamphlet

2018 ELECTION CANDIDATE SURVEY

The ACLU of Rhode Island is a non-partisan organization dedicated to upholding and protecting the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution.  The ACLU does not endorse or oppose political candidates, but is interested in understanding and sharing the views of candidates for statewide office on current issues with significant impact on constitutional guarantees. To provide information to our members and the public, we surveyed each candidate for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and Rhode Island Attorney General.  While not all candidates responded, the answers from those who did are included below. The ACLU’s position on these issues is also included at the end of the candidates’ responses to each question.


GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES

Respondents: Anne Armstrong, Matt Brown, Spencer Dickinson
Note: Neither Anne Armstrong nor Spencer Dickinson answered the specific questions on the survey, but instead submitted comments explaining why they were not doing so. Those responses appear at the end of this section.

QUESTION 1: DO YOU SUPPORT CODIFYING THE PRINCIPLES OF ROE V. WADE INTO RHODE ISLAND STATE LAW?

Matt Brown: YES. I think passing the RCHA and codifying Roe v. Wade into Rhode Island law is an important first and critical step to protecting reproductive freedom in Rhode Island. Of course, the assembly should immediately pass this into law. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Some politicians in the state say “If it gets to my desk, I’ll sign it.” That’s not leadership – that’s a politician’s dodge - and that’s not what Rhode Island needs. With the deeply anti-choice Trump administration, with Rhode Island’s anti-choice legislature, with Trump-appointed hostile judges, an already hostile Supreme Court, and the anti-abortion insurance restrictions already passed in Rhode Island, it’s not just time to pass RHCA; it’s time to say: Enough. We’re having the wrong conversation. I don’t want to talk about “protecting” reproductive freedom anymore, I want to go on offense to expand it. We need to start by overturning the severe abortion restrictions passed in 2015 - the most severe restrictions passed in Rhode Island in 2 decades - that stripped 9,000 Rhode Island families of abortion coverage. We need to pass RHCA and we need to pass year-round contraceptive coverage. As governor, I would immediately sign an executive order to do so, as a first step to getting this into law.

ACLU Position: YES. Especially in light of the precarious status of Roe v. Wade in the U.S. Supreme Court, it is important for the state to take affirmative steps to protect reproductive freedom.

QUESTION 2: DO YOU SUPPORT PASSAGE OF A LAW ESTABLISHING IN-PERSON EARLY VOTING?

Matt Brown: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. Rhode Island should follow the lead of many other states that have adopted this process to make voting easier and more convenient.

QUESTION 3: DO YOU SUPPORT REQUIRING A FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR ANY LEGISLATION THAT ESTABLISHES NEW CRIMINAL OFFENSES OR INCREASES PRISON SENTENCES FOR EXISTING CRIMINAL OFFENSES?

Matt Brown: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. If the State is going to increase incarceration, it should at least do so honestly, with full recognition of the fiscal costs it entails.

QUESTION 4: DO YOU SUPPORT MAINTAINING AS AN EXECUTIVE ORDER AND CODIFYING INTO LAW A REQUIREMENT THAT INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS ENTERING INTO CONTRACTS WITH THE STATE COMMIT TO MAINTAINING “NET NEUTRALITY” PRINCIPLES?

Matt Brown: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. Net neutrality is essential to ensure that the increasingly dominant mode of free speech – cyberspace – remains free and open.

QUESTION 5: DO YOU SUPPORT REPEAL OF THE STATE’S PHOTO “VOTER ID” LAW?

Matt Brown: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. Voting fraud remains purely hypothetical, while our work at the polls has demonstrated that this law disenfranchises eligible voters every election.

QUESTION 6: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION REQUIRING JUVENILES SENTENCED AS ADULTS TO COME BEFORE THE PAROLE BOARD FOR REVIEW NO LATER THAN AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS, REGARDLESS OF THE LENGTH OF THEIR SENTENCE?

Matt Brown: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. Individuals who commit serious crimes when they are juveniles should be entitled to demonstrate their rehabilitation after a reasonable period of time.

QUESTION 7: DO YOU SUPPORT LIMITING STATE POLICE FROM ASKING ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF CRIME VICTIMS OR WITNESSES UNLESS NECESSARY TO INVESTIGATE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY UNRELATED TO ENFORCING IMMIGRATION LAW?

Matt Brown: YES.  As Governor I will ensure that no state agency shares information about any Rhode Island resident with federal immigration officials, and I will ensure the state police continue their policy of not sharing information about detained individuals with ICE.

ACLU Position: YES. By becoming de facto immigration agents, police make the community less safe, and deter victims and witnesses of crime from coming forward.

QUESTION 8: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION PROVIDING DRIVER’S LICENSES TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS?

Matt Brown: YES. I believe the state can and should play a crucial role in shielding immigrant communities from Trump Administration attacks. The first step is to push the legislature to establish a system that can issue state drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants or authorize the creation of that system by executive order if necessary. Immigrants without drivers licenses are more often exposed to harassment and discrimination, and unable to transport themselves and their children to school and work. Allowing everyone in Rhode Island access to a valid driver’s license would help protect our immigrant communities, ensure access to jobs for working families and make our state stronger. Senior leaders in the Rhode Island State Police know licenses will increase public safety and make their jobs easier. A recent study by Roger Williams University shows that issuing licenses to undocumented residents would lead to safer roads and greater economic opportunity for all Rhode Islanders. We must ensure immigrant communities in Rhode Island live free from discrimination, fear and harassment. As Governor I will authorize valid state driver's licenses for all Rhode Islanders, regardless of immigration status or documentation.

ACLU Position: YES. This is a matter of public safety and a recognition that issuance of a license should be based on one’s ability to drive, not on irrelevant matters like one’s federal immigration status.

QUESTION 9: DO YOU BELIEVE BUSINESSES SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE GOODS OR SERVICES TO THE PUBLIC ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS IF IT CONFLICTS WITH STATE LAWS BANNING DISCRIMINATION IN PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS?

Matt Brown: NO.

ACLU Position: NO. While individuals have the right to exercise their religious beliefs, public accommodations must be open to all.

QUESTION 10: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION STRENGTHENING THE STATE’S EQUAL PAY LAW TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR COMPARABLE WORK (“COMPARABLE WORTH” LEGISLATION)?

Matt Brown: YES. Women in Rhode Island should be paid fairly for their work, including a living wage equal to their male coworkers doing the same work. It is disappointing in the last General Assembly session, the House Committee on Labor did not adopt the version passed unanimously in the Senate and instead passed a bill that rolled back equal pay protections for women. Members of the Labor Committee should listen to advocates, the bill’s sponsors, and the Fight for $15 and Fair Pay Coalition who’ve worked hard to craft meaningful standards to address pay inequity.

ACLU Position: YES. This important measure to promote workplace equality deserves passage.

QUESTION 11: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION REQUIRING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO OBTAIN A WARRANT IN ORDER TO ACCESS THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH’S DRUG PRESCRIPTION MONITORING DATABASE?

Matt Brown: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. A judicial warrant requirement is essential to prevent fishing expeditions by police into our personal medical information.

QUESTION 12: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION THAT WOULD REQUIRE AN ABILITY TO PAY HEARING BEFORE SUSPENSION OF A PERSON’S DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR FAILURE TO PAY FINES?

Matt Brown: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. Loss of a driver’s license can have a devastating impact on a person’s ability to maintain a livelihood and otherwise function in society, and should not be used to punish people simply because they are poor.

QUESTION 13: DO YOU SUPPORT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LEGISLATION PROVIDING FOR THE INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT OF SUBSTANCE ABUSERS?

Matt Brown: NO.

ACLU Position: NO. A coercive approach to substance abuse is not only a severe infringement on civil liberties, evidence demonstrates it is counter-productive as well.

QUESTION 14: DO YOU SUPPORT THE LEGALIZATION AND TAXATION OF MARIJUANA?

Matt Brown: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. The failed “War on Drugs” has significantly eroded Fourth Amendment rights and its enforcement has disproportionally impacted minority communities.

QUESTION 15: DO YOU SUPPORT REQUIRING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, EXCEPT IN CASES OF EMERGENCY, TO OBTAIN A WARRANT BEFORE USING “DRONE” TECHNOLOGY TO ENGAGE IN CRIMINAL SURVEILLANCE?

Matt Brown: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. Privacy protections regarding drone surveillance must be established before it becomes a ubiquitous and unregulated spying tool.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM RESPONDERS:

Anne Armstrong: Question #14 contains racist language.  I cannot answer a questionnaire that contains racist, pejorative language and so I must ask you to reprint this using the correct word, “cannabis” instead of the deplorable word considered too racist for official business in enlightened states like Hawaii.  Thank you, God bless you.

Spencer Dickinson: Over the last few years I have found that, while efficient for the sending organization, questionnaires have more downside than positive benefit, and that they are potentially very unreliable in learning or knowing a candidate's positions. I would be happy to meet with your members or a representative of your group for a conversation or interview on the issues.  I believe it could be constructive and informative for both sides.


LIEUTENANT-GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES

Respondents: Ross McCurdy, Aaron Regunberg, Joel Hellmann

QUESTION 1: DO YOU SUPPORT CODIFYING THE PRINCIPLES OF ROE V. WADE INTO RHODE ISLAND STATE LAW?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES. I support Roe v. Wade but only the right to an abortion – not that the state should pay for the abortion.

ACLU Position: YES. Especially in light of the precarious status of Roe v. Wade in the U.S. Supreme Court, it is important for the state to take affirmative steps to protect reproductive freedom.

QUESTION 2: DO YOU SUPPORT PASSAGE OF A LAW ESTABLISHING IN-PERSON EARLY VOTING?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES.

ACLU Position: Yes. Rhode Island should follow the lead of many other states that have adopted this process to make voting easier and more convenient.

QUESTION 3: DO YOU SUPPORT REQUIRING A FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR ANY LEGISLATION THAT ESTABLISHES NEW CRIMINAL OFFENSES OR INCREASES PRISON SENTENCES FOR EXISTING CRIMINAL OFFENSES?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. If the State is going to increase incarceration, it should at least do so honestly, with a recognition of the fiscal costs it entails.

QUESTION 4: DO YOU SUPPORT MAINTAINING AS AN EXECUTIVE ORDER AND CODIFYING INTO LAW A REQUIREMENT THAT INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS ENTERING INTO CONTRACTS WITH THE STATE COMMIT TO MAINTAINING “NET NEUTRALITY” PRINCIPLES?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. Net neutrality is essential to ensure that the increasingly dominant mode of free speech – cyberspace – remains free and open.

QUESTION 5: DO YOU SUPPORT REPEAL OF THE STATE’S PHOTO “VOTER ID” LAW?

Ross McCurdy: NO.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES. I would need to see the specific law there might be a take on it that would be acceptable – but not as written.

ACLU Position: YES. Voting fraud remains purely hypothetical, while our work at the polls has demonstrated that this law disenfranchises eligible voters every election.

QUESTION 6: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION REQUIRING JUVENILES SENTENCED AS ADULTS TO COME BEFORE THE PAROLE BOARD FOR REVIEW NO LATER THAN AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS, REGARDLESS OF THE LENGTH OF THEIR SENTENCE?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. Individuals who commit serious crimes when they are juveniles should be entitled to demonstrate their rehabilitation after a reasonable period of time.

QUESTION 7: DO YOU SUPPORT LIMITING STATE POLICE FROM ASKING ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF CRIME VICTIMS OR WITNESSES UNLESS NECESSARY TO INVESTIGATE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY UNRELATED TO ENFORCING IMMIGRATION LAW?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. By becoming de facto immigration agents, police make the community less safe, and deter victims and witnesses of crime from coming forward.

QUESTION 8: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION PROVIDING DRIVER’S LICENSES TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS?

Ross McCurdy: NO. H7982 section 31-10-26 b is too broad and vague.  This bill includes individuals under the DACA program which is understandable, but is not limited to DACA individuals.  This bill needs to state clearly what is meant by a “qualifying applicant.”

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. This is a matter of public safety and a recognition that issuance of a license should be based on one’s ability to drive, not on irrelevant matters like one’s federal immigration status.

QUESTION 9: DO YOU BELIEVE BUSINESSES SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE GOODS OR SERVICES TO THE PUBLIC ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS IF IT CONFLICTS WITH STATE LAW BANNING DISCRIMINATION IN PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS?

Ross McCurdy: YES. Freedom of religion is a significant component of this issue.

Aaron Regunberg: NO.

Joel Hellmann: NO.

ACLU Position: NO. While individuals have the right to exercise their religious beliefs, public accommodations must be open to all.

QUESTION 10: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION STRENGTHENING THE STATE’S EQUAL PAY LAW TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR COMPARABLE WORK (‘COMPARABLE WORTH” LEGISLATION)?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: NO. It already is the law to treat workers equally – I don’t think an additional law would help.

ACLU Position: YES. This important measure to promote workplace equality deserves passage.

QUESTION 11:  DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION REQUIRING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO OBTAIN A WARRANT IN ORDER TO ACCESS THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH’S DRUG PRESCRIPTION MONITORING DATABASE?

Ross McCurdy: NO. Bill H5469 seems to have adequate guidelines in place to protect individuals’ rights while taking positive steps to address the very serious opioid epidemic.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. A judicial warrant requirement is essential to prevent fishing expeditions by police into our personal medical information.

QUESTION 12: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION THAT WOULD REQUIRE AN ABILITY TO PAY HEARING BEFORE SUSPENSION OF A PERSON’S DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR FAILURE TO PAY FINES?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES.  Except for extreme safety concerns.

ACLU Position: YES. Loss of a driver’s license can have a devastating impact on a person’s ability to maintain a livelihood and otherwise function in society, and should not be used to punish people simply because they are poor.

QUESTION 13: DO YOU SUPPORT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LEGISLATION PROVIDING FOR THE INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT OF SUBSTANCE ABUSERS?

Ross McCurdy: This question seems too broad and vague.

Aaron Regunberg: NO.

Joel Hellmann: NO.

ACLU Position: NO. A coercive approach to substance abuse is not only a severe infringement on civil liberties, evidence demonstrates it is counter-productive as well.

QUESTION 14: DO YOU SUPPORT THE LEGALIZATION AND TAXATION OF MARIJUANA?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. The failed “War on Drugs” has significantly eroded Fourth Amendment rights and its enforcement has disproportionally impacted minority communities.

QUESTION 15: DO YOU SUPPORT REQUIRING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, EXCEPT IN CASES OF EMERGENCY, TO OBTAIN A WARRANT BEFORE USING “DRONE” TECHNOLOGY TO ENGAGE IN CRIMINAL SURVEILLANCE?

Ross McCurdy: YES.

Aaron Regunberg: YES.

Joel Hellmann: NO. Drones are like patrol cars – if they [intrude] on more than basic surveillance, that I would not support.

ACLU Position: YES. Privacy protections regarding drone surveillance must be established before it becomes a ubiquitous and unregulated spying tool.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM RESPONDERS:

Aaron Regunberg: I am proud to have been actively fighting alongside the ACLU on these issues before and during my time in the General Assembly. From standing up against the misuse of high-stakes testing, to fighting for criminal justice reform and an end to the abuse of solitary confinement in our prison system, to winning administrative action to protect the principle of net neutrality in Rhode Island, to leading the floor debate against involuntary commitment and other infringements on our civil liberties, to demanding protections for immigrant families, to organizing to pass the Reproductive Health Care Act, I have been committed to fighting with the ACLU. And I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together with the statewide bullhorn and organizing capacity of the Lieutenant Governor's office to lend to this work.


ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATES

Respondent: Peter Neronha
Note: Peter Neronha did not answer the specific questions on the survey, but instead submitted comments explaining why he was not doing so. His response appears below.

Peter Neronha: We have a policy of not answering candidate questionnaires and in following that policy, will not be completing RIACLU’s questionnaire.  Our policy is based on our belief that the questionnaires are generally inflexible and don’t allow for sufficient contextual explanation.  With that being said, [I am] more than happy to meet with any representative from the RI ACLU – exec. Board, Executive Director, etc.  and have a candid conversation about the issues facing Rhode Islanders including ones represented in the questionnaire.  We want to have a dialogue and look forward to any opportunity to meet re: this in the future.


SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATES

Respondent: Nellie Gorbea

QUESTION 1:  THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE IS CURRENTLY CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF INTERPRETING AND ENFORCING THE OPEN MEETINGS ACT AND THE ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS ACT. IN LIGHT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S INVOLVEMENT WITH PUBLIC RECORDS MAINTENANCE AND ITS RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAINTAINING A WEB SITE OF ALL OPEN MEETINGS, DO YOU SUPPORT MOVING ENFORCEMENT OF THESE LAWS TO THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE?

Nellie Gorbea: Further discussion is requested to address this issue.  Transparency and accountability of the Open Meetings Law is critical to the health of our democracy.  Later this fall, the Department of State will be releasing an easier to use open meetings website with additional features for viewing compliance with the Open Meetings Law.  At this time, the Department of State does not currently have resources to successfully enforce the Open Meetings Act and the Access to Public Records Act.  As Secretary of State, I welcome the opportunity to meet with the ACLU of RI and our new Attorney General to discuss ways in which these laws can be better enforced. 

ACLU Position: YES. This office is the more logical location for this responsibility, and time has shown that the Attorney General, as the state’s chief law enforcement officer, is not in a position to hold the police departments it regularly works with accountable under these important laws.

QUESTION 2: “PRISON GERRYMANDERING” IS A TERM GIVEN TO THE PRACTICE OF COUNTING INMATES, FOR PURPOSES OF DRAWING VOTING DISTRICTS, AS RESIDENTS OF THEIR PLACE OF INCARCERATION, RATHER THAN THEIR HOME ADDRESS FROM WHICH THEY OTHERWISE MUST VOTE. DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ELIMINATE PRISON GERRYMANDERING IN RHODE ISLAND?

Nellie Gorbea: YES.  I support legislation that would count inmates as residents of their home address from which they are registered to vote.  The current process dilutes the representation of communities that have proportionally more citizens incarcerated by shifting their domicile for voting purposes to the Adult Correctional Institution (ACI).  Some of the prisoners at the ACI are still eligible to vote as they are not incarcerated for a felony and would vote from their residence address. In addition, enacting a change in the redistricting process would be consistent with State law that includes confinement in a correctional facility as one of the reasons that a person’s domicile shall not be changed for voting purposes.

ACLU Position: YES. Prison gerrymandering, like partisan gerrymandering, distorts the crucial premise of one-person, one-vote.

QUESTION 3: ANY VOTER WHO GOES TO THE WRONG POLLING PLACE ON ELECTION DAY IS GIVEN A PROVISIONAL BALLOT, BUT ONLY THEIR VOTES FOR FEDERAL OFFICE ARE COUNTED.  DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION THAT WOULD PROVIDE FOR COUNTING VOTES CASE ON PROVISIONAL BALLOTS FOR ALL OFFICES FOR WHICH THE VOTER IS LEGALLY ELIGIBLE TO VOTE?

Nellie Gorbea: YES.

ACLU Position: YES. There is no reason to discount votes that have been lawfully cast and that are unaffected by where the voting occurred.

QUESTION 4: DO YOU SUPPORT THE REPEAL OF THE STATE’S PHOTO “VOTER ID” STATUTE?

Nellie Gorbea: YES, however, realizing the challenge we face in public perception of the effectiveness of requiring photo ID at the polls, my office has taken on two strategies: (1) actively review the impact of the law itself, and (2) minimize the barriers that the law might present to some populations.  Two years ago, for example, I supported the update of Board of Elections regulations to include tribal IDs into the list of allowed photo IDs at the polls.  We are currently ensuring that there is widespread availability of free state-issued voting IDs through active community outreach.  Finally, my office is actively communicating to the public that provisional ballots are available to anyone who does not have or does not want to show a photo ID at the polls. 

ACLU Position: YES. Evidence of voting fraud remains purely hypothetical, while our work at the polls has demonstrated that this law disenfranchises eligible voters every election.

QUESTION 5: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION THAT WOULD BAR CANDIDATES WHO OWE CAMPAIGN FINANCE-RELATED FINES FROM APPEARING ON THE BALLOT?

Nellie Gorbea: NO.

ACLU Position: NO. While this may be a legitimate campaign issue for opponents to raise, it should be up to the voters to decide its significance at the polling booth.

QUESTION 6: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION THAT WOULD SPECIFY THAT BALLOTS VOTED AT THE POLLS BE TREATED THE SAME WAY AS MAIL BALLOTS IN TERMS OF DETERMINING VOTER INTENT WHEN A BALLOT IS REJECTED?

Nellie Gorbea: YES.  I support legislation that would specify that ballots voted at the polls and later re-processed during a recount be treated the same way as mail ballots in terms of determining voter intent. 

ACLU Position: YES. There is no reason to ignore voter intent when considering whether to count a machine-cast ballot when state law requires such it to be considered in examining mail ballots during voting recounts.

QUESTION 7:  DO YOU SUPPORT PASSAGE OF A LAW ESTABLISHING IN-PERSON EARLY VOTING?

Nellie Gorbea: YES.  As Secretary of State, I have introduced legislation to establish in-person early voting during these past four General Assembly sessions. 

ACLU Position: YES. Rhode Island should follow the lead of many other states that have adopted this process to make voting easier and more convenient.

QUESTION 8: DO YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION AUTHORIZING MANUAL, NOT JUST MACHINE, RECOUNTS IN THE CASE OF CLOSELY CONTESTED ELECTIONS WHEN A CHALLENGER SO REQUESTS?

Nellie Gorbea: Further discussion is requested.  While I generally support offering candidates the ability to request manual recounts, I also have concerns about the financial viability of affording that to every challenger who requests it.  The passage of risk-limiting audit legislation will provide greater assurance that voting machines are indeed scanning and counting votes accurately.  I welcome the opportunity to discuss and draft legislation around this issue with the ACLU of RI.

ACLU Position: YES. Experience has shown that machine counts are fallible, and in close races, a manual recount should be available to better ensure the accuracy of the voting results.