Joseph DeLorenzo, chairman of the Cranston Board of Canvassers was set to resign Monday after he says he was given an ultimatum by the state Board of Elections for refusing to provide an absentee ballot to convicted child killer Michael Woodmansee.
DeLorenzo said he was told he would be face criminal charges if he didn't give Woodmansee a ballot.
The Rhode Island ACLU issued the following statement Monday in support of the response by the state Board of Elections to the Cranston Board of Canvassers’ absentee ballot controversy:
“Last week’s unlawful decision by the chair of the Cranston Board of Canvassers to deny an absentee ballot application simply because he personally opposed that person’s right to vote was an egregious violation of the democratic process. That he would do so only four years after unsuccessfully trying to bar two other residents at the Eleanor Slater Hospital from voting amounted to a flagrant case of malfeasance.
“People who are institutionalized for mental illness do not lose the right to vote under the law. Nor do people who have committed heinous crimes but have served their prison time. No election official has the authority to prevent a person from voting simply because he doesn’t believe they deserve to exercise that right. Allowing this undermining of the electoral process to stand unchallenged would have established an unconscionable precedent.
“We commend the state Board of Elections for its swift action in intervening in this case and for sending the message that vigilante vote suppression will not be tolerated, no matter how disliked a voter might be.”
Board member Robert Muksian already resigned over his refusal to sign the ballot. Two of three board members must approve the ballot.