The landscape in Rhode Island
Sometimes politicians don’t qualify as Election Deniers, but still pass up the chance to tell the truth about free and fair elections.
Ashley Kalus, the Republican nominee for Rhode Island Governor in 2022, was asked during the campaign about Donald Trump’s lie that he won the 2020 election. She said: “You know, I feel like Donald Trump is just a distraction.”
Rhode Island voters did have an Election Denier on the ballot: Paul Rianna Jr., an independent whosaid on Twitter that the 2020 election was stolen “because of corrupt mail in ballots.” Rianna received about 1 percent of the vote. Dan McKee was elected Governor.
0 Election Deniers hold statewide Office right now.
Elections are run by the states. In Rhode Island, the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State are the state officials responsible for overseeing elections. It’s up to them to make sure the will of the people is always respected.
Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections
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How Rhode Island compares
Every state runs its own elections, with its own laws and processes. Check out how Rhode Island compares with other states in its region when it comes to Election Deniers holding state election administration jobs.
Election Denial in New England States
|Moreinformation about Connecticut|
|Moreinformation about Maine|
|Moreinformation about Massachusetts|
|Moreinformation about New Hampshire|
|Moreinformation about Rhode Island|
|Moreinformation about Vermont|
Sitting official is an Election Denier
- In Maine, the Secretary of State is appointed by the legislature.
- In New Hampshire, the Secretary of State is appointed by the legislature.
Voter turnout over time
Voters are always the backstop against election denial, whether Election Deniers are already in office or vying for power. It’s important to turn out for every election in your state—and to vote in every race on your ballot. Downballot races, like contests for Attorney General and Secretary of State, have historically drawn fewer voters, even though the positions are critical to keeping elections free, fair, and secure. Here’s a look at voter participation in Rhode Island elections over time. Notice that in years with several important positions up for election, some voters choose not to vote in every race.
Data on the number of votes cast in each race are from state elections depositories, supplemented with data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), House Election Statistics, and The Book of States. Rates are calculated using the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) estimates. Rates will be updated when the Census releases new CVAP data for 2022.
Beyond the ballot box
Each year, state legislators introduce thousands of bills related to elections. And in the past few years, we’ve identified a concerning trend. Across the country, state legislatures are considering bills that would make it easier for partisan actors to manipulate an election, and maybe even overturn the will of the people. We’re tracking these bills along with our partners in an ongoing series of reports called “A Democracy Crisis in the Making.” In 2023 alone, through early May, we tracked 185 bills introduced in 38 state legislatures that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections.
The anti-democracy playbook is simple: change the rules and change the referees, in order to change the results. These bills go hand-in-hand with the Election Denier movement: They’re about taking power away from voters and making it harder for trusted election officials to do their jobs.