"It is time for Rhode Island to join the majority of states and eliminate the Master Lever from the ballot. Any mechanism that contributes to voter confusion - and worse, voter disenfranchisement - should not be on the ballot. Its time has come."
- Lincoln D. Chafee, Governor of Rhode Island
"The master lever has the potential to inadvertently disenfranchise some voters and causes too many others to question the fairness of their elections. I'm convinced the time has come to take it off the ballot"
- A. Ralph Mollis, RI Secretary of State
"Eliminating the master lever will send a clear message to Rhode Islanders that we as elected leaders expect to be held individually accountable for the actions we take, which will only serve to strengthen our great state."
- Gina M. Raimondo, Rhode Island General Treasurer
"The master lever is merely a tool to encourage lazy voting. Its elimination will not stop a person from voting for everyone from the same political party, but it will force them to exercise their right to vote instead of letting it sit on the couch."
- Bob Healey, The "Cool Moose"
"The master lever hurts nonpartisan candidates down on the ballot. The normal drop off between a candidate for Mayor and the nonpartisan school committee in the City of Warwick means that many do not actually cast a ballot for school committee. Since the school committee represents more than half of the city's budget, it is critical that people make informed decisions about candidates for that position. Getting rid of the master lever will break through the old politics of the past and allow for more representation for the people."
- Scott Avedisian, Mayor, Warwick, RI
"At the April 22, 2009, meeting of the Board of Elections, there was an open discussion on the party lever statute. Rhode Island General Law 17-19-15 statutorily requires the Party Lever. The law requires that a ballot allow a voter to cast a straight party vote by means of a single mark.
The Board was presented with evidence and testimony that when non-partisan races are placed on ballots with partisan races that allow a voter to cast a straight party ticket, there is a statistically higher incidence of undervotes in the non-partisan races, that is attributable to voters misunderstanding the limits of the straight party vote, since voters who cast a straight party vote must also individually vote for the non-partisan candidates and the failure to do so results in an undervote.
After hearing, the Board voted 3-1 to support the repeal of Rhode Island General Law 17-19-15 Party Levers, to reduce undervotes and eliminate voter confusion."
- John A. Daluz, Chairman, RI Board of Elections
"Prehistoric man's development of the lever helped moved mankind out of trees, and was a great step forward for civilization as we know it. Our modern day cousin, the master lever, threatens to reverse that process. It's time to eliminate it from Rhode Island's ballot."
- Margaret Kane, President, Operation Clean Government
"Almost two decades ago Rhode Island had the foresight to move into the 20th century with our voting machines. Unfortunately our ballot design is stuck in the 19th century with the outdated and confusing master lever. It's time for it to go."
- John Marion, Executive Director, Common Cause RI
"In the 2012 elections, a great many potential Moderate Party candidates for the RI General Assembly chose to NOT run because of the disadvantage that the Master Lever provides to non-Democratic Party candidates in a Presidential election year. Our democracy was founded on the principle of a voter voting for a person, not of a voter voting for a party. The Master Lever enables voters to cast ballots for candidates who those voters do not even know are on the ballot - a travesty of the political process. Any sitting elected official or prospective candidate for office who claims to represent change for Rhode Island only does so if they advocate for the removal of - or actually vote to eliminate - the Master Lever from the Rhode Island ballot."
- Ken Block, Chairman, Moderate Party of RI
"The use of the master lever means votes cast for candidates whose names and qualifications are completely unknown to the voter. In the name of some sort of imagined efficiency we are, in fact, corrupting that very cornerstone of Citizenship - The Vote. The Master Lever should be eliminated!"
- Mark Zaccaria, Chair, Rhode Island Republican Party
"Like all too many things about Rhode Island, its elections are not keeping pace with more forward looking states, by continuing to cling to a relic of old style politics and voting, the Master Lever. Elected leaders around the state need to know the people are watching to see if you have the political will to do the right thing. It's time."
- Donna Perry, Executive Director, RISC
"SVP protects and perpetuates political machines. Repealing SPV sets the stage for informed citizens and informed citizens make for better government."
- Lisa Blais, Ocean State Tea Party in Action (OSTPA)
"When voters utilize the master lever they are disengaging themselves from the people that are most important to them in government. By eliminating the master lever it makes it essential to know all the names associated with the seats being sought after. We are one of only fifteen states that still use the master lever; the time has come that we eliminate it from our ballots and hopefully the people will know all of their elected officials by name."
- Anthony Giarrusso, State Representative District 30, East Greenwich and West Greenwich
"The 'master lever' option should have disappeared with the old mechanical voting machines, where the voter could clearly see an 'X' next to each candidate in the party selected. If there was a candidate in the list that he/she did not want to support, the voter could easily change his/her vote by lifting the lever next to that candidate and lowering the lever for a different candidate. The voter could also see that he/she had not voted in local non-partisan races and could then do so.
With the new optical scan machines, the voter makes a single mark next to the party selected. The voter cannot see who he/she has voted for and cannot see votes lost when making a mark in the local partisan races."
- Beverly Clay
"Citizen vigilance is critical to a properly functioning democracy. Every citizen should be encouraged to examine, hold accountable and vote for each candidate on an individual basis, regardless of party affiliation. Eliminating the master lever would encourage this form of vigilance."
- Mike Stenhouse, CEO, RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity
"While some would argue that the master lever actually ensures bottom of the ballot candidates receive votes, Sierra Club of Rhode Island feels that it automatically hampers candidates running as independents or members of other parties. True participatory democracy means we should open up participation in elections. The master lever restricts participation and should be eliminated as the atavistic 'machine politics' tool it is."
- Ben Jones, Chair, RI Sierra Club
"Democracy has never been easily achieved. Hundreds of thousands of human beings have sacrificed their lives in order that the common people can exercise their voice under a free electoral system.
When considering the supreme sacrifice made by so many in order that we live under this wonderful gift... 'government by the people' the least the Rhode Island people can do is take a few extra moments to vote individually for those they want to put in office."
- Patricia A. Douglas, Westerly Town Council
"As an active duty Navy (SEAL) Master Chief, I could not be more behind [this] effort. The freedoms Americans have realized because of thousands of peoples sacrifices do NOT need to be put into an automatic lever that allows for uninformed voters to collectively push the easy button. Voting is a privilege and should be treated as such. Every candidate and measure on each ballot deserves individual attention; so taking away this lazy approach to one of our most distinguished and cherished freedoms is just the right thing to do. "
- Larry Wilske, U.S. Navy (SEAL) Master Chief