Ballot Lottery Places Candidates For Primary, General Elections

The Rhode Island Secretary of State's Office issued the following press release after a lottery was held Friday afternoon to decide listing placement of the candidates running for statewide office, for the primary and general elections.


Mollis Announces Where Candidates & Parties Will Appear on Ballots

PROVIDENCE, RI –  In front of a crowd of candidates and their supporters at the State House this afternoon, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis used a machine borrowed from the R.I. Lottery to determine the order in which candidates and political parties will appear on this year's ballots.

In a scene familiar to Rhode Islanders who watch the state's daily lottery numbers selected on TV, candidates and parties were assigned numbered ping-pong balls. After each ball floated to the top of the machine, Mollis announced the name of “winner” and where that candidate or party will appear on the ballot.

In its first year as a recognized political party, the Moderate Party's ping pong ball emerged from the lottery machine first, meaning its candidates will appear first on the November ballot, followed Democrats, Republicans and, finally, Independents.

Here are the results for a few of the most widely followed races for which there were lotteries. Because endorsed candidates appear first on the ballot by party rules, they did not have to participate in the lottery.

As the endorsed candidate in Congressional District 1, David Cicilline will be followed by Bill Lynch, Anthony Gemma and David Segal on September's Democratic primary ballot. As the endorsed candidate in Congressional District 2, Jim Langevin will be followed by Betsy Dennigan and Ernest Greco.  

On September's Republican primary ballot, as the endorsed candidate in Congressional District 2, Mark Zaccaria will be followed by William Clegg, Michael Gardner and Donald Robbio.

In September's Democratic primary for Attorney General, endorsed candidate Peter Kilmartin will be followed by Stephen Archambault and Joseph Fernandes.

Lincoln Chafee will be the first Independent candidate for Governor listed on the ballot, followed by Joseph Lusi, Ronald Algieri and Todd Giroux. Those four candidates will appear after the Moderate Party's Ken Block, Democrat Frank Caprio and the winner of the Republican primary – either John Robitaille or Victor Moffitt.

While state law gives the Secretary of State complete authority over the design of ballots, Mollis has held public lotteries for ballot placement since taking office in 2007.