Title 17

Chapter 7
State Board of Elections

R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-7-5

§ 17-7-5. Powers and duties — Quorum.

(a) The state board shall have those functions, powers, and duties that are prescribed by this title or otherwise pursuant to law. In the exercise of these functions, powers, and duties, but without limitation to them, the board shall:

(1) Exercise general supervision of the administration of the election law by local boards;

(2) Furnish all binders, forms, cabinets, and other supplies required for the operation of the system of permanent registration of voters throughout the state, as provided by this title;

(3) Require the correction of voting lists by any local board whenever the state board has information or cause to believe that any error exists in the lists and shall immediately notify the secretary of state of any corrections;

(4) Prepare, package, and deliver election supplies to the various cities and towns for each voting district, except for supplies listed in this title for delivery by the office of the secretary of state;

(5)(i) Appoint, qualify, and assign all state inspectors of elections. The state board of elections shall formulate programs of instruction and shall determine the method and manner of instruction that shall be provided to the local boards and to the vendor providing training pursuant to any agreement between the state and the vendor for the training of election officials. The program of instruction shall include familiarization with the election laws and duties of various election officials, together with the exercise of sample situations that may be encountered in the process of voting; geographical boundaries of the voting district to which the official may be assigned; offices and questions that may be on the ballot; and any other information that the board of elections may deem appropriate. The availability of these programs of instruction for local boards shall be pursuant to the procedures, rules, and regulations adopted by the board of elections.

(ii) The board of elections shall also formulate and provide an informational pamphlet containing detailed instructions regarding the duties of elections officials and the operation of polling places. All informational pamphlets shall be distributed to the local boards that shall, in turn, see to their distribution to all election officials prior to any election.

(6) Canvass and tabulate all votes cast at each state election and count, canvass, and tabulate the votes cast by mail voters as provided in this title;

(7) Select dates for off-year and special election primaries, except the dates for any primaries for local elections that require fixing by the local board pursuant to chapter 15 of this title;

(8) Furnish each elected candidate for all state or national offices a certificate of election;

(9) Furnish the secretary of state with a certified statement of the number of votes cast in each voting district for all state and national candidates, the votes cast for and against all state questions that appeared on the ballot, and a certificate of election for each national candidate who is elected in this state, and furnish the governor with a certified list of the general officers elected at each general election;

(10) Hold hearings relating to recounts or other protests of the results or conduct of an election;

(11) Maintain any books and records of the votes cast and publish any statements and reports that it may deem to be in the public interest;

(12) Arrange and make provisions for the registration of voters pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, 52 U.S.C. § 20501 et seq. The state board shall formulate programs to assist those persons or organizations desiring to register voters and shall provide, pursuant to procedures, rules, and regulations it shall adopt, voter registrations services that may include training sessions, registration materials, manuals, and other services for the purpose of registering to vote eligible Rhode Island citizens;

(13) Annually conduct a voter registration drive at each institution of higher education at the level of junior college or above in the state; and

(14) Establish and maintain an administrative complaint procedure in accordance with Section 402 of the Help America Vote Act (P.L. 107-252) [52 U.S.C. § 21112].

(b) The state board shall also have all of the powers and duties formerly conferred or imposed by existing law upon the division of elections and the election board, and whenever in any other general law, public law, act, or resolution of the general assembly, or any document, record, or proceeding authorized by the general assembly, the phrase “division of elections” or “election board” or any other word or words used in reference to or descriptive of the division, board, or any member or employee of the division or board, or to their respective activities or appointees, or any of them, the word, phrase, or reference shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be deemed to refer to and describe the state board, its members, appointees, and activities, as the context may require.

(c) The state board shall have power to make any rules, regulations, and directives that it deems necessary to carry out the objects and purposes of this title not inconsistent with law.

(d) The state board shall also have jurisdiction over all election matters on appeal from any local board and over any other matters pertinent and necessary to the proper supervision of the election laws.

(e) Four (4) members of the state board shall constitute a quorum.

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of § 42-35-18(b)(7), all rules and regulations implementing and enforcing the provisions of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-252) [52 U.S.C. § 20901 et seq.] shall be promulgated in accordance with the rule-making provisions contained in §§ 42-35-1 — 42-35-8.

History of Section.
P.L. 1979, ch. 312, § 2; P.L. 1985, ch. 92, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 523, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 199, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 277, § 6; P.L. 1996, ch. 298, § 6; P.L. 2003, ch. 234, § 1; P.L. 2015, ch. 176, § 2; P.L. 2015, ch. 201, § 2.