Elections board concludes review of Matos nomination signatures

Results to be unveiled Tuesday, Aug. 15

By: - August 10, 2023 5:33 pm

Board of Elections workers compare signatures on nomination forms submitted by the 1st Congressional District campaign of Sabina Matos with those in the state voter registration database Thursday morning in Cranston. (Jocelyn Jackson/Rhode Island Current)

CRANSTON — Two days after being asked to conduct a full review of all nomination signatures obtained by the 1st Congressional District campaign of Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, Rhode Island Board of Elections seasonal staff completed the assignment early Thursday afternoon.

The results will be compiled in time to present to the full board at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday Aug. 15, said the board’s spokesman, Chris Hunter.

The board voted 5-2 on Tuesday, Aug. 8, to review all 1,256 signatures on nomination forms Matos submitted by the July 14 deadline to qualify for the ballot for the Sept. 5 special primary. The vote came after three municipal canvassing boards found evidence that some signatures were those of dead people or people who later claimed they did not actually sign the form.

State elections panel will examine all signatures collected by Matos campaign

A total of 728 signatures on Matos’ nomination forms were validated and certified by the state. Candidates needed a minimum of 500 signatures to make the ballot. Three municipal canvassing boards found evidence that some signatures were of those of dead people or people who later claimed they did not actually sign the form. The Rhode Island Office of Attorney General is investigating.

The review began on Wednesday morning and finished at 2 p.m. Thursday, Hunter said.

Officials invited the news media to observe the review but prevented entry into a room where five employees were seen working at computer workstations closely examining the signatures and comparing them to those of the corresponding registered voter in the state database. Hunter said a total of 10 temporary workers were involved in the review process.

Steve Taylor, special projects manager for the board, said the process is very similar to verifying mail-in ballot signatures. 

“We go through a whole certification process where we run them through a machine that will scan in the signature, and it will pull up the signature on the envelope and the signature on the voter registration system,” Taylor said.

If a reviewer were to find discrepancies between the signature  on the form and the signature in the database, they would bring it to the attention of a full-time staffer trained in handwriting analysis. 

The board’s Tuesday meeting is at 9:30 a.m. at its offices in Cranston where members are slated to discuss and vote on the outcome. 


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Jocelyn Jackson
Jocelyn Jackson

A senior journalism major at Roger Williams University, Jocelyn Jackson was the editor-in-chief of the Hawks’ Herald student newspaper. She previously served as the paper’s opinions editor for the school newspaper. She is scheduled to receive her B.A. in journalism in December.