Guillaume de Ramel, candidate for Secretary of State in Rhode Island, whom we interviewed last week, has gotten some validation from the courts for his criticism of the state’s Board of Elections. From the de Ramel campaign press release:
Providence â€“ Guillaume de Ramel, Democratic candidate for Secretary of State today called for the resignation of the leadership of the state Board of Elections. Citing gross incompetence, de Ramel believes Roger Begin, chairman; Thomas Iannitti, vice chairman and Robert Kando, executive director should all resign their positions immediately.
Yesterday, Superior Court Judge Stephen Fortunato heard testimony from lawyers representing the Board of Elections and the Rhode Island Republican Party regarding a complaint filed against the RI GOP for illegally airing campaign commercials on behalf of Donald Carcieriâ€™s gubernatorial campaign in 2002.
Yesterday Judge Fortunato ruled that the board had no rules and that their procedures were unconstitutional. He issued an order halting the boardâ€™s languishing investigation of the RI GOP which has meandered aimlessly for over 3Â½ years. After almost four years, the merits of the case were never fully investigated or ruled on.
â€œAt this point, it is clear that the board is completely incapable of executing and enforcing Rhode Islandâ€™s election laws, laws that set the rules of our campaigns and elections. Yesterdayâ€™s decision by Judge Fortunato showcases the mismanagement and incompetence the current leaders at the board offer Rhode Island,â€? said de Ramel. â€œThe board is essentially responsible for protecting the integrity of our elections. The leaders of the board have done nothing to warrant the trust and confidence of their fellow Rhode Islanders. In short, the board desperately needs new leadership and new direction.”
From my observations, it seems there is bipartisan concern about the competency and effectiveness of the Rhode Island Board of Elections. Resignations at this point would be a surprise to me, honestly — they’ve already weathered so much scandal and rebuke. But perhaps this expression of “no confidence” from the courts will be the “tipping point.”
De Ramel’s emphatic voice on this issue says a great deal about his commitment to restoring public trust in the election process in Rhode Island.