Pinga/Alves: Rhode Island Supreme Court’s Fatal – yet Inadvertant? – Inaction
In view of the stunning effect – the voiding of an election – of their non-action yesterday in the matter of Stephen Alves’ request for a new election, I wonder if the RI Supreme Court was simply unaware in pragmatic terms of the effect of their decision in the context of dates and ballot printing deadlines.
The cutoff date for printing ballots seems to be October 20. Accordingly, whatever happens at that hearing before the Supreme Court on October 23 matters not. However they eventually decide – even if they uphold the three ballot counts and the ruling by the BOE – another primary election will have to be held. (It should be noted, though it is a secondary consideration at this point, that another general election will also have to be held.)
The Supreme Court, then, would be giving the losing candidate a do-over. With no factual reason to do so, they would be stepping into a duly held election with a winner recognized by the duly appointed authority and ordering that a second election take place.
“No factual reason”. Let’s review that. The smallest margin by which Michael Pinga won any of the ballot counts was seventeen. The West Warwick Board of Canvassers has stated that possibly up to ten Republicans may have voted in this Democrat primary. Further, there are apparently three ballots for which signature cards cannot be found. Set aside the fact that these irregularities, presumed to be clerical and accidental, were found acceptable in the Lynch/Bennett race, not to mention in so many other elections. More fundamentally, those thirteen ballots are insufficient to make up Mr. Alves’ vote deficit.
In short, it is not that there is a flimsy basis to revisit this election. It is that there is no basis to do so.
And this is the crux of the matter. The RI Supreme Court is now being criticized for interceding, with no basis whatsoever, in a fundamental and critically important democratic process and for doing so deliberately.
This I refuse to believe. This was not done knowingly. It is some sort of terrible misunderstanding – once again, probably clerical in nature – on the part of the honorable court. It is easily and swiftly remedied.