USNews on RI Primary

VotingThis is part of a broader piece on the RI numbers. Fact number one is a bit of a surprise to me — you’d think that people would tend to come out more in the primaries, in a state where the generals often mean so little.

3 Thing You Didn’t Know About Rhode Island Primaries

1. Historically, voters in Rhode Island do not turn out in great numbers for presidential primaries.

In fact, Rhode Island frequently has the nation’s lowest voter turnout rate for primaries, once dipping as low as 4 percent voter participation.

2. Currently, over 50 percent of voters in Rhode Island are registered as “unaffiliated.” They may vote in the party presidential primary of their choosing. However, once they choose, they are considered a member of that party. Residents can “disaffiliate” by filling out a form at their polling location after they vote.

3. To determine the order in which candidates will appear on this year’s presidential primary ballots, Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis used a machine borrowed from the Rhode Island Lottery. Much like the daily lottery numbers are chosen, each candidate was assigned a ball, and the order in which these floated to the top decided their place on the ballot. This year’s Democratic ballot will read (in this order): Uncommitted, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama. The Republican ballot will be ordered: John McCain, Ron Paul, Hugh Cort, Mitt Romney, Uncommitted, Alan Keyes, Mike Huckabee.

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