Elections

Responding to attack by an elected official

Following the Portsmouth Water and Fire District election last week in which Mr. Phil Driscoll ran unopposed, the newly re-elected Clerk took the time to attack me in letters to the editor of the Newport Daily News and Portsmouth Times.

Calling me an "antagonist," Mr. Driscoll criticized me for supporting a write-in candidate. You can read his letter in the paper or online version, and my response, included below, appeared in yesterday's Daily News, and should be in next week's Portsmouth Times.

To the editor:

When an elected official attacks a private citizen for being involved in civic life, it should not pass unremarked. So when the newly re-elected Portsmouth Water and Fire District Clerk, Phil Driscoll, denounces me in a letter to the editor published on 6/28, I feel compelled to respond.

Mr. Driscoll calls me an “antagonist” and alleges that a “surreptitious write-in campaign” was mounted against him. What did I do to merit his ire? I ran into someone outside the polling place who said they were doing a write in campaign and I posted that on Facebook. (And on harddeadlines.com — thanks, Mr. Driscoll, for mentioning the name of my news blog!)

In my opinion, the public is always best served by contested elections. Especially for a quasi-municipal entity with taxing authority. Apparently, Mr. Driscoll disagrees.

As to Mr. Driscoll’s assertion that I question his environmental credentials, I’ll quote the self-description from his letter: “I am a committed advocate of the environment but that does not mean that I wallow in the DEM, DOH and EPA trough of fallacy, fable and fantasy.”

Personally, I respect the validity of peer-reviewed science. You should draw your own conclusions about whether Mr. Driscoll does based on his words.

John G. McDaid
Portsmouth

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02871, Localblogging, pwfd, Elections

Portsmouth Water District election June 14

13may24_vote.jpgThe Portsmouth Water and Fire District will hold its annual election of officers on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at the District's main office at 1944 East Main Road. The polls will open at 7:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM.

Of the Board's seven seats, the positions of one (1) Clerk and (1) Water Commissioner are up for election.

Running for the position of Clerk is incumbent Philip T. Driscoll of 169 Immokolee Drive.

Running for the position of Water Commissioner is Andrew V. Kelly of 33 Pine St.

As required by the recent change in State Law, voters will be required to show identification to vote in the District’s election.

Commentary
Just because you only see one candidate for each position, please don't assume that these races will be uncontested. Turnout is typically very low (in recent years, candidates have won with 64 votes. Not by 64 votes. With a total of 64 votes) for these elections (to a quasi-governmental body with taxing power) and it is possible for undeclared candidates to succeed on a write in. In fact, this has actually happened in Portsmouth Water Board elections. If you're a ratepayer in the District, I urge you to get out to the polls on June 14. Don't worry -- I'll remind you :)

Editorial note: The section before the commentary is written from a news release.

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02871, Localblogging, pwfd, Elections

Portsmouth Water District elections June 8

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District will hold its annual election of officers on Wednesday, June 08, 2016 at the District's main office at 1944 East Main Road. The polls will open at 7:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM.

Of the Board's seven seats, the positions of one (1) Moderator and one (1) Treasurer are up for election.

Running for the position of Moderator is incumbent Ronald L. Molleur of 15 Molleur Rd.

Running for the position of Treasurer is incumbent Allen J. Shers of 40 Roger Williams Ct.

As required by the recent change in State Law, voters will be required to show identification to vote in the District’s election.

Editorial note: Written from a news release.

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02871, Localblogging, pwfd, Elections

LTE: Register to vote in the RI Primary by March 25

This letter to the editor is from Portsmouth resident Linda Ujifusa

To vote in the April 26 RI Presidential Primary, you must be registered to vote by March 25, 2016.

In this contentious election year, your vote in the primary counts more than ever. You will vote not only for your party's candidate, but also, for your party's national convention delegates.

To check your voter registration status, you can call your local Board of Canvassers’ office or go to: sos.ri.gov/vic

To get a registration form, update your name, address or party affiliation, as well as get a form to request a mail-in ballot, go to your local Board of Canvassers or go online to: sos.ri.gov/divisions/Elections/Voters/voter-registration

Note: You must print out the forms and snail mail or deliver them to your local Board of Canvassers.

This weekend, non-partisan voter registration tables will be set up:

Sat., March 19, 2016 - 9 am to 1 pm - at the Aquidneck Growers' Market, Newport Vineyards & Winery, 909 East Main Road, Middletown, RI; and

Sun., March 20, 2016 - 10 am to 2 pm - at Clements' Marketplace, 2575 E Main Rd, Portsmouth, RI.

So much is at stake in this year’s election. Please make sure you and your family and friends are registered to vote!

Linda Ujifusa

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02871, Localblogging, Elections

Register to vote on Saturday (NPT Vineyards) and Sunday (Clement's)

Vote!

There will be two voter registration drives on Aquidneck Island this weekend, so if you're not registered — and you want to vote in the RI Presidential Primary on April 26 — now's the time, since the deadline is March 27.

On Saturday, for early birds and those who head to the Aquidneck Growers's Market at Newport Vineyards, there'll be a registration table there from 9am to 1pm. The Newport Vineyards and Winery is at 909 East Main Road in Middletown.

On Sunday, there'll be a table at Clement's Market from 10am to 2pm. Clement's is at
2575 E Main Rd, Portsmouth.

Purely non-partisan — this is just about registering to vote, so if you're not on the voter rolls, be sure to stop by.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections

Sanders delegate signature event in Portsmouth on Saturday

Local Bernie Sanders delegate candidates will be holding a signature gathering event tomorrow, Saturday, February 27 from 12-2PM at Foodworks Restaurant, 2461 E Main Rd.

FYI — The way the process works, folks who want to be delegates to the Democratic National Convention have filed papers with the RI Secretary of State. They need to get 150 signatures of registered voters by next Tuesday in order to be able to appear on the ballot on primary day. You don't have to be a registered Democrat (or even a Sanders supporter) to sign their papers.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections

Bernie Sanders signature event in Portsmouth Jan 30

Local supporter Linda Ujifusa is hosting an event to gather signatures to get Sen. Sanders on the ballot in Rhode Island on Saturday, Jan. 30 at Foodworks in Portsmouth from noon-2pm.

You can find out more information or RSVP online.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections

Portsmouth Republican statistical misdirection

14oct30_ptimes_insert.jpg
Click to embiggen.

The Portsmouth Republicans have had a blaring yellow insert in our weekly Portsmouth Times for the past month, and while I've previously covered their gibberish, it didn't seem worthwhile to go after their cherry-picked statistics. But this week's installment featured such a shameless whopper that as a graduate of Edward Tufte's workshop, I feel obligated to point it out.

Here's their statement:

DID YOU KNOW...that voter turnout in Portsmouth increased from 54.4% in 2010 to 65.5% in 2012? Keep up the good work! See you at the polls.

Let's start with the less obvious problem. The Republicans appear to be doing their percentages against the entire Portsmouth population (17,343) rather than the eligible voter universe (12,327). That's the only way I can get their numbers to work, since in the the 2012 election, Portsmouth voters cast at least 9,182 votes for President, which works out to 74% turnout, rather than the 54% they computed, apparently using the census number.

But that's merely the little chocolate squiggle atop this confection of innumeracy.

Let's leave percentages aside for just a moment and look at the raw numbers. Here are the vote totals for the past five elections, using the Portsmouth Town Clerk (the race with the the single most local votes) and the "top of the ticket" contest to represent total Portsmouth turnout.

  Clerk Top of ticket
2012 6,733 9,182
2010 5,806 7,051
2008 7,096 9,740
2006 5,744 8,069
2004 7,918* 9,205
*contested race



Source: RI Board of Elections

Notice something about the numbers — kind of, like, a pattern? The numbers seem to fluctuate regularly. What could possibly be driving that? Oh, yeah, right, 2012, 2008, and 2004 were Presidential elections.

If you pick a local minimum (2010) and only use one other data point (2012) you can make the data say something quite dishonest, because comparing total votes across the range doesn't support the inference the Republicans want to make. As Tufte drilled into us, always ask, "Compared to what?"

And if you're willing to distort the data to support a relatively minor point like turnout, clearly, you cannot be trusted to play fair when there are issues of significance on the table.

Editorial note: I have Tufte's three books within arms' reach, and I'm not afraid to use them.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections

Portsmouth Republicans struggle with proofreading

14oct30_shool.jpg
Shool time. Click to embiggen.

Another Portsmouth Republican direct mail piece dropped today, and it's clear that this team has problems with basic proofreading skills.

Take a look at the graphic above Tom Vadney. Yeah, they misspelled "School" in advertising their candidates for school committee. It's quite unfortunate, and it's certainly not Tom's fault — he's much smarter than that. I've served with him on the technology committee, and I intend to vote for him next week, and suggest that supporters of the shools will want to do the same.

The other major blunder is just weird. Take a look at how they caption Dan Reilly's race, compared to Chris Ottiano.

14oct30_state_cong.jpg

I don't know what the heck "State Congress" is, but I heartily support the idea of voting for Dan Reilly in District 12. Wherever that might be. Please, by all means, write his name in. (Voters in the actual State Representative District 72, on the other hand, should consider the incumbent Democrat Linda Finn.)

14oct28_robiceau.png
The "h" is silent.

Add these together with the howler from earlier this week — where they misspelled the name of their former Town Council President on their own web site, and you get a pretty poor impression of the ability of local Republicans to manage a spell checker, let alone a Town budget.

Full disclosure: I am a partisan hack. But I know how to spell.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections, Joe Robicheau

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