Title 17

Chapter 19
Conduct of Election and Voting Equipment, and Supplies

R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-19-21

§ 17-19-21. Arrangement of polling places — Election officials — Police officers.

(a) The polling places shall be established, equipped, and furnished with the paraphernalia necessary for the conduct of each election, by the officers and in the manner provided by this title. There shall be placed, outside each polling place, a clearly marked sign to be provided by the state board of elections indicating the location of the polling place. This sign shall be of a conspicuous nature and shall be visible from the street. The area within which the balloting is conducted shall be arranged with a guard rail having one place for entrance and another place for exit. The rail shall be placed so that only persons admitted inside the rail can approach within five (5) feet of any voting booth or optical-scan precinct-count unit. The voting booths and optical-scan precinct-count unit shall be placed so that the warden and the clerk shall always have a clear view of the front of each voting booth and the optical-scan unit. It shall be the duty of the warden to direct the location of the voting equipment in relation to the guard rail and the posts of the warden and the clerk so as to enforce the requirements of this section.

(b) One bipartisan pair of supervisors, the clerk, and the warden shall be stationed, in that order, along the guard rail so that a voter desiring to cast a ballot will pass first in front of the bipartisan pair, then in front of the clerk, and finally in front of the warden. A second bipartisan pair shall be stationed within the guard rail and shall be available to relieve the first bipartisan pair or the clerk and to assist voters within the limits prescribed by this title. The second bipartisan pair, when not engaged in the preceding duties, shall watch the voters in and about the voting equipment and shall call to the attention of the warden any violation, or circumstance suggesting a violation, of the provisions of this title.

(c) The chiefs of police of cities and towns, and town sergeants of towns having no chief of police, shall detail a certain number of police officers to each polling place as may be requested by the local board. The police officers shall preserve order at each polling place and within two hundred feet (200′) of the polling place. It shall be the duty of every police officer or other peace officer or town or police constable to arrest without warrant any person detected in the act of violating the provisions of this chapter, but no arrest shall be made without the approval of the warden.

(d) The election officials provided in subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall be provided with, and shall be required to prominently display upon their persons, identification badges that shall designate that person as an election official. Powers and duties of all designated election officials at polls shall be posted in a conspicuous and prominent location within the voting place, preferably with the posted sample ballot.

History of Section.
P.L. 1935, ch. 2195, § 16; P.L. 1938, ch. 2640, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 318, § 12; G.L. 1938, ch. 318, §§ 10, 12; P.L. 1940, ch. 818, § 1; P.L. 1947, ch. 1886, § 23; P.L. 1948, ch. 2100, § 1; G.L. 1956, §§ 17-15-23, 17-19-20, 17-19-24; G.L. 1956, § 17-19-21; P.L. 1958, ch. 18, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 190, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 171, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 277, § 12; P.L. 1996, ch. 298, § 12; P.L. 2015, ch. 260, § 27; P.L. 2015, ch. 275, § 27.