Elections officials found dubious signatures on Matos’ nomination papers. Did the system work?

Sloppy? Yes. Illegal? No.

This article originally appeared in the Providence Journal on July 31, 2023 and was written by Antonia Noori Farzan.

Below is executive director John Marion’s comment on the special election signature matching scandal involving Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos.

“I would submit that the system worked in part, and the system failed in another part,” said John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island.

The system worked in Jamestown because the Board of Canvassers “did their required diligence” and “blew the whistle,” Marion said. But the system didn’t work in communities that didn’t sufficiently scrutinize signatures, and only began to do so once the media began asking questions.

And, Marion said, “it also failed when the Board of Elections chose not to scrutinize all of Matos’ signatures.”

The process of validating a candidate’s nominating papers is one of those things that “only makes the news when things go wrong,” Marion observed.

“We don’t have as much infrastructure for educating and supervising local election administrators as exists in other states,” Marion said. And right now, the degree to which signatures are scrutinized “seems to be left up to local boards of canvassers,” he said.

To read the full article, click here.