Brien legislation would shorten timeline for early voting


STATE HOUSE — Rep. Jon Brien, and independent representing District 49 in Woonsocket and North Smithfield, has introduced legislation that would shorten the time period for mail-in ballot applications, a change he says would help ease the election-time burden of local boards of canvassers.

The legislation, 2023-H 5956, would modify the timeline to receive a mail-in ballot from 21 days prior to the day of election to 14 days prior to the day of election. The bill would also modify the emergency mail ballot timeline from 20 days prior to the day of election to 13 days prior to the day of election.

“When the General Assembly adopted early voting in Rhode Island, it created an election month, or an election season,” said Brien. “It has created too much of a burden for the cities and towns, especially with the Board of Canvassers. The reason for this is that we don’t really have early voting in Rhode Island, we have emergency balloting that’s used for early voting. And my goal is to shorten that period to ease the burden on these local officials.”

Members of the Woonsocket Board of Canvassers submitted written testimony to the House Committee on State Government and Elections in favor of the legislation.

The bill is cosponsored by Republican House Minority Leader Michael Chippendale, a Republican from District 40 in Foster, Glocester and Coventry; along with Democratic Reps. Arthur Corvese; Robert Phillips; Thomas Noret; William O’Brien and Samuel Azzinaro. 

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