2020 News & Press

Supreme Court Decision on Mail Ballots

We are disappointed in the Court’s 6-3 decision. We fear that this decision will create more, not less confusion this election year. In Alabama, a state law requiring witnesses for mail ballots is constitutional, but in another, Rhode Island, it is unconstitutional. Whether a state election law violates the U.S. Constitution now depends on the whims of your state’s election officials. The authority of state legislators in establishing election laws has been undermined.

We also fear that the Court’s decision will encourage Rhode Island officials to repeat the June presidential primary election fiasco in November. Not only will the witness requirement for mail ballots be waived but unsolicited mail ballot applications will be sent out to everyone, including voters who have moved or are dead. The June presidential primary election nearly overwhelmed the system. About 2,825 mail ballots were not counted and 36,281 mail ballots that were sent out have never been accounted for. The June election was inconsequential, but a chaotic November election will have serious consequences for public confidence in our election system.


Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to invalidate the Rhode Island law which requires mail ballot envelopes to be witnessed or notarized. The R.I. Republican Party makes the following statement:

“Rhode Island law requires a mail ballot envelope to be signed by two witnesses or a notary in order to protect the integrity of our electoral system. Essentially, Rhode Island has a two-step safeguard to ensure that an individual casting a ballot is actually who he or she claims to be. When it comes to voting in person, a voter must sign his or her name and present identification to verify his or her identity. When it comes to voting by mail, a voter must sign his or her name on the envelope and have it witnessed by two people or a notary who confirm the identity of the voter. Eliminating one part of this safeguard increases the likelihood of fraud. Our elections are susceptible to fraud. For example, in 1982, Providence Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr won reelection with the help Lloyd Griffin, Jr and his mail ballot operation. Years later, Cianci admitted that Griffin “had a bit of trouble differentiating between an absentee voter and a fictitious vote."

COVID-19 cannot be used as an excuse to eliminate safeguards against fraud. Rhode Island is in the middle of its Phase III reopening. If it is safe enough for 50 people to meet indoors, for nursing homes to accept visitors, then it is safe enough for a voter to have his or her mail ballot envelope signed by two witnesses or a notary.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Building the Movement - America's Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women's Suffrage

We wanted to provide a reminder of the recent announcement from the Office of the First Lady Melania Trump regarding Building the Movement: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage, an exhibit honoring the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment which gave American women the right to vote. We hope that you will share information about this initiative in your communities. The exhibit will launch this August (2020) and will showcase artwork by young Americans depicting this historic milestone. To create this exhibit, the First Lady is asking students in grades 3-12 from across the United States and its territories for submissions depicting individuals, objects, and events representing the women’s suffrage movement. One submitted artwork will be chosen from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, America Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The artwork will appear alongside images of women’s suffrage parades, marches, and gatherings that took place at or around the White House. The deadline for submission is July 6. All applicants will receive a thank you note signed by the First Lady, thanking them for their participation in this special exhibit honoring the women's suffrage movement.


Click Here to Participate

Rhode Island Republican Party Withdraws Endorsement for Allen Waters

Today the Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Republican Party met and voted to pull the party’s endorsement of candidate Allen Waters for United States Senate. The meeting was called to review Mr. Waters’ endorsement, after reports surfaced that Mr. Waters had been involved in a domestic disturbance in March 2019. This decision overturns the vote by the State Central Committee on June 8, 2020.

Rhode Island GOP Chairwoman Sue Cienki commented: “Due to the restrictions on in-person gatherings instituted by the Governor, we were forced to have our June convention on Zoom. This eliminated a lot of the conversation amongst our committee members that would normally take place in person. Specifically, the fact that the nominating committee had not recommended endorsement.

Former RI Representative Anthony Giarrusso Announces Reelection Bid to Restore Community Priorities at State House

Today, former State Representative Anthony Giarrusso announces his bid for re-election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives --District 30, serving East Greenwich and West Greenwich, a seat he held from 2012-2018. Representative Giarrusso is a Republican, seeking to regain the seat currently occupied by Democrat Justine Caldwell.

“Rhode Island has suffered at the hands of a single, largely unopposed party on Smith Hill that has held an 85% majority in the General Assembly since the mid-1950’s. For the past two years, the so-called “reformer” representative for our District joined the special interests in supporting legislation that hurt our community’s economic growth and fiscal stability. For instance, despite calls from the Town Council and pleas from concerned constituents, she voted against their wishes in support of the Evergreen Bill in 2019 – a bill that ‘handcuffs’ town administrators, and favors the unions, inevitably leading to property-tax increases. I am compelled to rejoin the growing opposition voice to change the status quo government that benefits the connected and as a result, strains the resources of our municipalities. I am honored to step up once again to provide authentic representation in government concerns and responsive solutions to constituent issues.”

Juneteenth – A Look Back and a Vision Forward

Today, June 19, 2020 marks the 155th anniversary of Union army general Gordon Granger’s announcement of federal orders in Galveston, TX proclaiming that all slaves in Texas were free. Though Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order freeing all slaves in his Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Texas, due to it’s remote location and small presence of Union troops was slow and inconsistent with the observance and enforcement of the new law.

Now known as “Juneteenth”, this day is a celebration started 155 years ago that the scourge of slavery had finally been lifted in America. The struggle for civil rights and a full realization of our founding ideals as a nation was only just beginning, work that continues to this day.


For this inconsequential election, Rhode Island’s election officials decided to spend $458,000 sending out mail ballot applications to 779,463 voters, including those listed as inactive. In response, about 150,000 mail ballot applications were received by the Board of Elections (BOE). However, other completed applications were lost. Although mail ballot applications had come in weeks earlier, many voters did not start receiving their ballots until about a week before the election. As a result, some voters got their mail ballots with little time to send them back. So far, the BOE has received about 92,000 mail ballots. The results of this election may not be known for weeks. The Rhode Island Republican Party has the following comments:

“While we won’t know the results of this flawed election any time soon, we already know this election has resulted in waste and incompetence.

In April, we stated that a predominantly mail ballot election was unnecessary because by June public health restrictions would likely be relaxed. Instead, the Secretary of State went ahead and wasted taxpayer money by sending mail ballot applications to every voter, even inactive voters, although most voters were not interested in this primary election. Because of the push to vote in this election by mail, more people than usual voted by mail. This, in turn, is likely causing the BOE to spend large amounts of money on temporary staff to process this influx of mail ballots. Never in Rhode Island history was so much money wasted on such an unimportant election.


Today, the Ethics Commission rejected the recommendation of its own staff and decided that the revolving door prohibition does not apply to Senator Erin Lynch Prata in her campaign to be a Rhode Island Supreme Court judge. 
RI GOP Chairwoman Sue Cienki commented: “The majority of the Ethics Commission should be embarrassed. It rejected a well-reasoned opinion of its own staff. A Supreme Court judgeship is not an elected constitutional office; it is an appointed position. By opening the revolving door for legislators to go directly to the Supreme Court, a majority on the Ethics Commission voted to go back to the corrupt judicial selection politics that existed a generation ago when two consecutive Chief Justices, who were former legislators, resigned in disgrace.” 


In comments filed today with the Ethics Commission, R.I. Republican National Committeeman Steven Frias explains that neither R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-5(o) or Ethics Commission Regulation 1.52 (36-14-5007) permit legislators to seek or be appointed to the Supreme Court until one year after he or she has left office. The exception to the revolving door prohibition in R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-5(o)(4) regarding “a state elected official … seeking or being elected for any other constitutional office” does not apply to an appointment to be a Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court because these justices are not elected by the public and since 1994 they are no longer elected by the Grand Committee of the General Assembly. He also explains if Lynch Prata’s interpretation is adopted, it will represent, at least, a partial return to the embarrassing judicial selection politics of an earlier era and may lead to further undermining of the revolving door ban for other judicial appointments in the future.

Here is an excerpt:

Help Secure Our Elections – Join Our EDO Team!

In these uncertain times, one thing remains clear – the security and integrity of our elections are paramount to our way of life. Volunteering for President Trump and the Rhode Island Republican Party during the mail ballot process, on election day, or during ballot counting is a great way to ensure a fair and honest election.

Our Election Day Operation (EDO) is designed to ensure that everyone that is legally entitled to vote has the opportunity to vote, ONCE! As an EDO volunteer, you will be trained on the elections laws of Rhode Island. You do not have to be a lawyer, you just have to know the rules and we will provide an organized network of assistance to all of our volunteers. Once you are trained, we will coordinate getting you credentialed to work the upcoming election.