Board Of Canvassers, Rep. Jon Brien Spar Over Write-In Instructions

Canvassers: Asking write-in voters to print Brien's first name won't work.


Jon Brien's write-in campaign for Dist. 50 asks voters to print his first name on the ballot Nov. 6, but the Board of Canvassers has stated voters will need to write in his full name for it to count.

"You've got to have the last name," for your candidate when you're casting a write-in ballot, said Henri Cyr, Board of Canvassers election clerk.

Brien's billboard sign, mounted on a trailer, was parked next to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church on Park Ave. Thursday afternoon. The sign shows how voters who want to cast their ballot for Jon Brien can do so, but instead of instructing them to use his full name, the sign tells voters to write in "Jon".

"I don't know why he's doing it," Cyr said. He said Brien has been told voters will need to write in his full name for the vote to count for him.

"That's actually not accurate," Brien said.

Shortly after losing the Democratic primary for the Dist. 50 seat by 52 votes to challenger Stephen Casey, Brien announced his write-in candidacy from the lot of Pepin Lumber Sept. 20. At the time, Brien had sample ballots from the last write-in campaign in RI, Doug Gablinske's 2010 run in Bristol. Those samples showed Gablinske's last name written in as a valid vote. 

Brien said when he launched the write-in campaign he filed a time-stamped letter with the Board of Canvassers, "...making them exactly aware of what we were doing." But, he said, when his first ads for the campaign started running, he got a call from the Board of Canvassers telling him his full name was required for a write-in vote.

"The standard is clear in Rhode Island," Brien said, "It comes down to voter intent. It has to be reasonably ascertainable who the vote is for."

If a voter writes in his first name, Brien said, which has an unusual spelling unlikely to be confused with someone else, they're obviously voting for him. Brien said he's checked with the RI Board of Elections, and he's confident write in votes for "Jon" Nov. 6 will hold up as valid.

The last successful write-in campaign in RI was in 1990, according to Ian Donnis's blog, On Politics. Dist. 69 incumbent Mark Dailey failed to get enough votes to get on the ballot, and wound up running a write-in campaign against two other write-in candidates. Dailey won, but Brien's write-in effort faces an additional challenge: Casey is on the ballot.

Casey is on the ballot despite a challenge Brien made claiming his candidacy is invalid under the Hatch Act, which limits political activities of federal employees on and off duty. A ruling Tuesday from the US Office of Special Counsel states Casey's candidacy is valid.

Brien said it's good the Office of Special Counsel made the ruling, eliminating the possibility of a special election, "Which was certainly one of my concerns," he said. 

"I'm glad that the issue's been resolved and now lets look at the issues and the real differences between the candidates." Brien said.

mike October 28, 2012 at 02:46 PM
What about the fact that Jon has accepted over $15,000 from outside sources and PAC's.
David T October 28, 2012 at 02:50 PM
be·hold·en/biˈhōldən/ Adjective: Owing thanks or having a duty to someone in return for help or a service: "I don't like to be beholden to anybody". Synonyms: indebted - grateful - obliged - thankful Garrett, you're saying Casey is beholden to a PAC and will make decisions that will hurt us. I don't think that is necessarily true. But, Jon has already made decisions that have hurt this city and the state because he is beholden to his investor friends and Gordon Fox. And this argument that it is excusable to sponsor and vote on a bill that resulted in complete failure and that will cost all of us over $100 million just by saying, "I knew nothing" is unacceptable. He's been in the GA for 6 years and all this experience has resulted in his excuse that he didn't know how this money was being spent. He is saying that he didn't know what the plan was for this money. How is it possible that nobody in the GA knew about this, a bill that went from $50 million increased by $75 million to $125 million, the exact amount given to 38 Studios and passed and signed by the Governor in record time. My point is, all that experience and desire to fight for the city and not being beholden to anyone failed him and us. Garrett, if you were running against Jon, this would be one of your biggest reasons to the voters to not re-elect him. This can't be swept under the rug. It's too big.
Rob Borkowski (Editor) October 28, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Steve (the one complaining about a second Steve) - It's unfortunate that instead of picking a last name for yourself, you decided to impersonate me instead. That violates our terms of service, so your account will be deleted according to those terms. Enjoy your weekend.
common cents October 28, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I wonder if there is another Jon anywhere in the district?If there was and someone wrote their name in ,how would we know who voted for Jon and who voted for Jon? And if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it,does it still make a sound?Things to ponder
Garrett Mancieri October 28, 2012 at 11:55 PM
There has been alot of talk on here about 38 Studios. The person who did know the money was going to 38 Studios was the speaker Gordon Fox. Fox has given Casey $1,000 for his campaign. Why would he give Casey money unless he was sure Casey was going to vote for Fox. I have respect for Steve Casey, I have met him and he is a good guy. I have concerns about who he is taking money from and what that will mean as a State Rep. I am not a Democrat or Republican, I support people that I think will do the best job. Brien accomplished Voter ID in a very democrat state when it has been proven that there is a ton of voter fraud in RI. You do not have to agree with all of Jon's positions but he does work hard for Woonsocket. I am not anti-union for supporting Brien and neither is Jon. We just want a fair and balanced solution for Woonsocket and for candidates to run against that idea is crazy to me. The taxpayers of the City have suffered increase after increase becoming the highest taxed community in RI when compared to median household income. The solution has to be both concessions and taxes, which all of our State Reps understood. They stood up for us on that bill and on November 6th, we need to stand up for them.
Garrett Mancieri October 29, 2012 at 12:00 AM
I have been to over 20 budget commission meetings. How many have you been to?
Really? October 29, 2012 at 01:27 AM
So you have concerns about who Casey is taking money from, but you're not concerned about the $12000 that was spent for Brien by RICAN or what about right wing group ALEC. And Brien really stood up for the city ? forcing them into a budget commission and borrowing $12 million dollars more in advanced education money and now we are worse off then before. Also. since Brien and Co. pushed the city into the budget commssion, they have disappeared and havent showed up to help deal with the mess they created. Funny how you seem upset over people being critical of Brien, but you dont seem to mind being critical of everyone else.
DR October 29, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Scott, let me get my violin out my concern is for the taxpayers and business owners of Woonsocket not for Mr Casey-its about time the taxpayers take back their city.
David T October 29, 2012 at 03:09 PM
The legislation is what made possible the loan of 75 million to Curt, which we are all on the hook for. So, yes, let's call it the "responsibility" for making this all possible falls on every legislator who sponsored and voted for the bill. Jon is one of them. I'm not saying he made the company fail. I'm saying he helped push this though even with the 75 million added at the last minute. Look at the timeline of events leading up to the adding of the 75 million and how quickly it was passed. Do you really think nobody knew this additional 75 million was intended for Curt? Could Fox do this all by himself?
DR October 29, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Scott, Mr Casey said he would have supported the supplemental tax bill as it was submitted without a plan in place which is nonsense. I am sure if you speak to any professor at Boston College( where Mr. Casey got his degree) they would require a plan in place. I was at the GA the day the BILL was recommitted and a Rep from I believe Scituate ask me" what is the plan for Woonsocket?". I told him it was to raise taxes and he said just what I thought. Also you said Steve Casey has the most to lose if the city can't get back on its feet-wrong its the taxpayers.
DR October 29, 2012 at 06:21 PM
David T, since you keep bringing it up about Curt and the 38 Studio deal, I must add- Do you know who one of the key players in the 38 Studio deal was beside former gov Carcieri? Yes it was the Speaker of the House the same person that donated over $500 to the Casey campaign.Wake-up Taxpayers!
David T October 29, 2012 at 08:26 PM
It's interesting DR that you are pointing out that the most powerful person in the GA seems to like Mr. Casey. I haven't checked the info regarding your statement that Fox gave money to Casey's campaign, so I'll take your word for it. It's interesting because one of the reasons people give to voting for Brien is that he has some pull in the state house and therefore gets committee appointments and that it take a long time to get these appointments. Do you know if Fox has given money to Brien in the past? That would be even more interesting. Anyway, if Fox survives the fallout from the 38 studios debacle, Casey could garner some power right off the bat if elected. What's your point? We have established that both men get money from from individuals and PACs not from Woonsocket. But then again, I don't know why Fox decided to support Casey financially and not Brien. Do you?
DR October 29, 2012 at 10:43 PM
David T, your last question is very interesting I can not speak for Mr. Fox but JON must have irritated the union interests and Mr. Fox needs all the support he can get.You seem to imply that Jon and the other Reps were aware of the 38 studios deal I say if anyone had knowledge it was Mr. Fox. So you are right Gordon may not be around for another term. I have a concern with Mr. Casey listing the outside union contributions after the primary was over. I do not know if Rob can list the campaign contributions that was filed for the local candidates.
Misty Harbor October 30, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Doesn't City hall have a Bd of Canv manager that knows these answers? This is ridiculous. I think Jon is so full of himself, people should write in, "porta Jon" and flush it once and for all. Get a life !!
David T October 30, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Small point- they all have rules to follow governing reporting of contributions as far as deadlines and I don't know the deadline, but your implication is there is something sneaky about the timing of the release of the donations. I don't think all of the candidates had listed all their contributors by primary day, including Brien. But, regarding PACs, not illegal and used by all your favorite local and national politicians. That's what paying for all the campaigns nationwide. And if you run for an office and work in a city fire department and are part of a union, you benefit from the thousands of individuals, all your fire fighting peers across the state who donate, literally a few bucks to the unions' political action committee. And contributing is voluntary. That's the strength of the unions. But it takes thousands of union workers to match the outside heavy hitters supporting Brien. But, not illegal. How else does a middle class guy run for office? I can't vote for either one of these guys, but from the beginning Casey said he was going to fight for the school department and came across to me as having a far better understanding of the plight of the children here than Brien, this in spite of the fact that he grew up in Melrose, MA unlike Brien who has lived here his entire life and somehow lost his connection to the public school system he is a product of. I'll be glad when this election is over.
David T October 30, 2012 at 01:07 AM
He should be fined for every day that monster sign on wheels is parked in the yard. And if you are going to that extreme to teach your voters how to write-in a vote, shouldn't you include your last name?
DR October 30, 2012 at 01:17 AM
I would say 90% of these negative comments are from union people and half don't even live in the city.
DR October 30, 2012 at 03:42 AM
David T, you say small point well it may be a small point in your mind. In the deadline period I was told Mr Casey put $ 0.0 in contributions and after the primary revised it to the correct total-all public record so that is why I am concerned.
Ed Roy October 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM
DR, it's obvious that you don't like union people and indicate that all the negative comments are from them, they don't live in the City and so on. I wish I knew how you know all these things. You may or may not live in the City, you may not even live in District 50. We will never know because you don't have the guts to post with your name. Why are you so afraid to use your name. You have a lot to say but it is without merit. Your statement about Brien irritating Fox concerning unions has no merit. Fox doesn't support Brien because Brien is a Republican and Fox is a Democrat. I suggest that Fox is not the only person irritated with Brien calling himself a Democrat. Even Joe Trillo gave Brien $500, what's up with that. And Garret Mancieri, I have looked very hard for the $1,000 Fox gave Casey but could only find $500. Even so, what's the problem, Casey is a Democrat and lets not forget. The people of District 50, which you are not, have spoken.
John Ward October 30, 2012 at 01:06 PM
So let me get this straight. Jon Brien sponsored and voted for the state to risk $75 million when there was "NO PLAN" in place for the money. And that is okay, right? But he refused to support the supplemental tax proposal becasue there was, according to Jon, Lisa, and Bob, "no plan" to solve our local problem. Of course, there political BS was completely false, but who cares about that when there's a campaign to run. How ironic you don't treat them the same way. Actually, the city adminsitration had a much better plan than the General Assembly that voted for the $75 million that will ultimately cost the taxpayers over $100 million! Unfortunately, the budget commission's request will be supported by a plan that will include a whole bunch of "ifs" in order to succeed! You know, those "ifs" that our reps said were unacceptable. That's because Woonsocket is poor and overtaxed, dependent on the state to support the mandated things we can't afford but are responsible to provide, i.e education. That's becasue the state (General Assembly) did such a lousy job on the education funding formula. Quite a double standard you're applying here Garrett! BTW, Gordon Fox has donated $519.40 to Jon Brien over the years.
DR October 30, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Ed,I have no problem with unions in the private sector however almost all the negative comments on this site appear to be from people with a union interest. Woonsocket can no longer afford the high cost and many businesses have already left the city.As far as a name goes just call me a taxpayer-it doesn't matter. What matters is the taxpayers taking back the city. Woonsocket cannot continue on its path of increasing taxes and fees and expect people to live here-look around.
English first October 30, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Do you mean we can just write in MITT? By the way, why doesnt he use his real name Willard?
SMD November 02, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Hey Garret.. So you take a shot at Casey for PAC money but ignore the fact that your hero Jon Brien has taken a ton of PAC money over the years and has had RICAN spend almost 15000 in mail pieces for him. What a hypocrite you are.. And you lecture people for defaming people yet you go on to attack others ?
SMD November 02, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Good point John W.....Brien also took another $450 from House Leadership PACS controlled by FOX. Yoohoo.... Garrett ?? Where is your outrage about this .. Where is your post condemning Jon for taking this money? Hello ?? Hello ??
DR November 02, 2012 at 12:38 PM
John, get to work making serious cuts and concessions with the unions-don't worry about 38 Studios.The taxpayers are watching stop wasting time. If the Stacked Deck Budget Commission can not get the job done bring in Mr. Flanders.Better yet call the governor and get Mr Flanders in Woonsocket Now. The 3 Reps did the right thing not supporting the supplemental tax and need the taxpayers' support. Major changes are needed at City Hall in the election next year.That is the taxpayers' PLAN. I do not want to hear about shared sacrifice. The property owners in Woonsocket already have the highest taxes and took a 50% hit in property values because of mismanagement of the City over the years.
DR November 05, 2012 at 01:01 PM
We must show the Mayor, City Council and Governor that the Taxpayers in Woonsocket Mean Business. Support the 3 Reps Lisa Baldeli-Hunt, Bob Phillips and Jon Brien(write-in candidate) that Stood Up for the Taxpayers and now need your vote.Good Luck Folks.
Brian O'Ryan November 05, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Listen, DR, we understand that it's your dream to see John Brien re-elected. But for God's sake man, lay off the pipe. Not gonna happen because the people have already spoken and will do it again tomorrow. FACT! It's quite obvious that you are a member of the WTC and it's also probably very easy to pinpoint who you are...one of 1-3 or so people I can think of. You're the same person that gets up to the podium at the council meetings and spews your same rhetoric week after week. You're the same person that calls Larry with the same tone every day. Give it up. You are only listening to yourself now. We voted for change because Brien is bad for Woonsocket. Case Closed! Voters will do it again. John boy is up against in insurmountable task and will fail...again. So, go ahead. Reply with your "I LOVE JOHN BRIEN" nonsense...
Mr. November 05, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I didnt realize that Pharmacists at some CVS stores are members of the Teamsters Union. Is that true Mr. Rapko ?
Brian O'Ryan November 09, 2012 at 11:34 PM
So, what ever happened to Mr. DR anyway?!? Maybe his mouth is full of crow?!? Funny how he hasn't weighed in on John-boys defeat...TWICE!!!!!!!!! Hmm? Garrett has been quiet also. We're all waiting for your interesting take on how your buddy failed....
Mr. November 10, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Dennis must be busy at the Pharmacy. And Garrett wasnt just a buddy, he was a PAID consultant according to Brien's camapign finance report. I guess his support is up for sale.


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