On Nov. 8, voters in Newport and Middletown will be asked to decide the fate of local ballot measures, with some heavy crossover. Newport and Middletown voters will each vote on the proposed regionalization of the two public school districts, and each municipality will determine the fate of the sale of recreational marijuana within the city or town.
Middletown will also vote on a $235 million bond for school buildings, while Newporters will accept or reject five proposed amendments to the city’s charter.
As the general election approaches, the ballot order for local candidates in Newport and Middletown was recently determined. The canvassing authority of each municipality used a lottery system to decide order on the ballot.
The candidates for Newport City Council At-Large will appear in the following order: Katherine Jessup; Eames Hamilton Yates Jr.; Xaykham Rexford Khamsyvoravong; Stephanie Smyth; Mark Aramli; Jeanne- Marie Napolitano; Lynn Underwood Ceglie.
The ward candidates will appear above the at-large candidates on the ballot. However, each ward candidate is running unopposed, so only one name will appear on the ballot for each of the city’s three wards.
The candidates for Newport School Committee will appear in the following order: Louisa Boatwright; Robert Power; Sandra Flowers; Stephanie Winslow; Rebecca Bolan; James Dring; Robert Leary; Kendra Wilson Muenter.
The Newport Canvassing Authority conducted the lottery on Sept. 16.
The candidates for Middletown Town Council will appear in the following order: Thomas P. Welch, III; Peter Daniel Connerton, Sr.; Dennis B. Turano; Antone C. Viveiros; M. Theresa Santos; Emily M. Tessier; Paul M. Rodrigues; Christopher M. Logan; Barbara A. VonVillas.
Finally, the candidates for Middletown School Committee will appear in the following order: Liana Fenton; Gregory M. Huet; Theresa M. Silveira Spengler; Wendy E. Heaney.
Both Newport and Middletown conduct nonpartisan local elections, meaning each candidate’s political affiliation is not listed on the ballot or has an impact on ballot order determination. However, candidates for state and national offices will have political affiliations noted.
The Rhode Island Secretary of State Elections Division hosted a lottery drawing at the State House on July 22 to determine party order on the ballot, with Republicans winning out. Therefore, in municipalities with partisan local elections, a Republican candidate for council or school committee will be listed first. Candidates registered as Independents will follow Republican and Democrat candidates.
The Elections Division borrows the lottery machine from the Rhode Island Lottery and assigns ball numbers to political parties and candidates to correlate with the drawings.
“Newport’s charter states we determine ballot order by lottery,” said Tracy Nelson, Newport canvassing clerk. “Since Newport’s elections are non-partisan, the party lottery is irrelevant to our lottery.
“Basically, we throw all the candidates’ names in a hat and draw them randomly,” she said. “We do this one race at a time for City Council and School Committee. It is a public meeting, and all the candidates are notified in advance so they may attend if they wish.”