Secretary of State Candidates Weigh in on Master Lever Vote - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Secretary of State Candidates Weigh in on Master Lever Vote

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 People going to the polls in Rhode Island may see a big change, either this year or next.

Straight party ticket voting - known as the "Master Lever" - is close to being outlawed.

Both Democrats running for Secretary of State, the office that oversees elections are in support.

"The problem with the Master Lever is that it can lead to disenfranchisement. And we have to make sure that elections are fair, fast and accurate. And getting rid of the Master Lever makes sure that we do that," said Nellie Gorbea, (D) Candidate for RI Secretary of State.

"I am in support of repealing it now. We need to reform out elections now, including getting rid of the Master Lever," Guillaume de Ramel, (D) Candidate for RI Secretary of State.

The House voted unanimously to ban the Master Lever, but so far the bill has only passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"By law in Rhode Island the House and Senate must pass the exact same version of a bill for it to become law. There is a big difference in this bill, and that could kill the Master Lever legislation."

The lever has given a huge advantage to Democrats.

The House bill would apply to elections beginning this year, but the Senate bill would wait for next year.

Both candidates say, make it effective now, don't delay.

"Repeal the Master Lever; it's time to move on. Get this issue behind us," said de Ramel.

"The ballots don't go to the printer until August, so I think we can actually get this done this year," said Gorbea.

One possibility is for the General Assembly to take no further action, effectively keeping the Master Lever in place until lawmakers take it up again next year.

Also today, Republican John Carlavale of West Greenwich announced he will run for Secretary of State.
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