In a call to many of the municipal Board of Canvassers, some said that they would adhere to their normal business hours of operation and close early on Friday, July 10, the last day for candidates to submit their nomination papers. Some municipal officers close by 12 noon.
Many throughout the state have extended operating hours on Thursdays often staying open till 7 p.m. To offset that extended time period, many close early on Friday.
This may pose a problem with candidates who are still collecting signatures up to the 4 p.m. deadline mandated by the state Board of Elections.
In reaching out to both the State Board of Elections and the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, I found support from both organizations for the need to remind municipalities of their obligation to remain open till 4 p.m. on Friday.
I can’t imagine what it is like to review and verify thousands of signatures. The folks at these offices are essential for the democratic process and for all candidates. They painstakingly go through each and every signature making sure that all candidates for office get the signatures they need to get on the ballot. We have staggered our submissions and not waiting till the last minute to submit our papers so to pay respect to the BOC staff and give time for the staff who reviews the nomination papers. They are all heroes.
Having that last few hours may not seem like a lot, but during this pandemic when many want to be engaged in the democratic process but find it challenging, those last few hours helps.
Paul Roselli is a Democratic candidate for RI State Senate District 23