Jack’s Angle: A political whitewash in 1st Congressional District primary – Jack Partridge

by John J. “Jack” Partridge, contributing writer, commentary

Rhode Island’s political class has failed the voters of the First Congressional District by failing to act after the discovery of major irregularities in the nomination papers filed by Lt. Governor Matos in three or four cities and towns. It became only an exercise for finger pointing and walk aways by the Board of Elections, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State, each claiming a lack of jurisdiction, or lack of manpower or some other lame excuse for its failure to protect the integrity of the electoral process.

And not a peep from the Governor’s Office. Nor from the incumbent Congressmen.

Worse, there was the absence of the voice of candidate Matos. Who, if successful in the primary and general election, will always be regarded as somehow complicit in the fraud, even if wrongly accused. She, above all, should have loudly demanded a total review of her nomination papers to dispel the odor of fraud; it was not sufficient to blame others while proclaiming innocence and waiting until it was too late to stop ballot printing and election procedures in the primary voting.

Since many currently non-affiliated voters were affected, it was not just a Democratic Party event, and where was the leadership of the Party? Was it too closely connected to the Matos campaign to join in the call for a review?

At a time when the country is experiencing distrust of government and the validity of elections, there was an opportunity for Rhode Island political leaders to stand tall vs. to conduct a fair and open review of her nomination papers.

It was the right thing to do. And there is no excuse for not doing it. It could have been quickly accomplished with the right leadership, which is sorely lacking, apparently, in the political class – which is content with creating another “only in Rhode Island’ political shenanigan.

I am pleased that RI Common Cause fought for the rights of voters; it showed some still care.


Editor’s Note: Update, the RI Board of Elections has now called a special meeting for next week to discuss the signature issue.

To read more columns by Jack go to:

John J. ‘Jack’ Partridge, is a retired lawyer and Senior Counsel to the firm of Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP, with four offices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

A Pawtucket native, Jack graduates from St. Raphael Academy and summa cum laude of Providence College, where he majored in history. After Harvard Law School, he served in the United States Army in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal. In 1967, he joined the firm of Tillinghast Collins & Tanner. In 1988, he became a founding partner of Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP.

Jack has been engaged in many civic, political, governmental, and business organizations, serving as legal counsel to the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce for 27 years and was chairman of the Old Slater Mill Association, Common Cause Rhode Island, and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.

He is the co-founder of The Pawtucket Foundation and an officer and director of innumerable not-for-profit entities. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club and was Treasurer of the Ocean State Charities Trust.

Jack has a long history of leadership involvement with Providence College, which recognized him in 1999 with the Providence College Alumni Association Recognition Award for Public and Community Service, and in 2011, with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

He is married to the former Regina McDonald and has three children: Sarah, Gregory and David.

He is the author of four books – Scratched, Straight Pool, Carom Shot – and his new book, Under Blood Moons.

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  1. Dave Carlin on August 5, 2023 at 4:15 am

    Excellent comment by Jack Partridge. Hard to disagree with.

  2. Pete on August 5, 2023 at 2:17 am

    Mr. Shallcross what ARE you talking about with sniveling and defending the indefensible and smoke and mirrors? Without examples. That is known as bombast.

    • David Shallcross on August 5, 2023 at 2:37 pm

      Pete…….Go to House or Senate sessions and watch carefully what happens to any Representative or Senator who attempts to defend what his or her constituents want that is contrary to what the chair and his comrades are proposing. If someone challenges the chair and puts him on the defensive, the rest of that person’s legislation is as good as dead for all practical purposes. Sooner or later the message takes root, ‘go along to get along’ and loyalty to the chair is essential deportment.
      Some might say that the ‘I’ll back you if you back me’ attitude is how business is done there but that hardly squares up to the passage of bad legislation. And while you watch from the gallery, note all the lobbyists there keeping score of who votes how on their particular issues.
      You might call my description ‘bombast’ and without facts and certainly you are entitled to your opinion, at the same time, my opinion is no less valid. What we can’t determine from your post is if you are a representative, senator, or lobbyist.

  3. Gregory Mundy on August 4, 2023 at 9:09 pm

    There are other issues with the Board of Elections beyond what you have investigated. I was one of the CD-01 candidates who was competing in the Democratic Primary. As of July 14th, I had collected and submitted 701 signatures to the City Clerks/City Halls of cities within CD-01. I learned that 223 of the signatures had been invalidated. I was left with a total of 478 signatures, just 22 signatures shy of 500. The details as to why the signatures were invalidated were not provided until Wednesday, July 19, 2023. They were invalidated for a number of reasons – signatory did not live in CD-01, signatory was not a registered voter, signatory is a registered voter but signed the wrong ballot nomination form, address where the registered voter lives and where they are registered did not match up, voter/address not found and “signature” question. In my particular case, there were 32 signatures that were invalidated. No detail was given as to the how this decision was reached and why the signature was invalidated. I took it upon myself to follow up with each of the signatories on my ballot nomination forms to obtain a signed affidavit confirming under oath that they were registered voters over the age of 18, qualified to vote in their city of residence, their address, confirmed they signed the ballot in good faith and that they wanted their ballot signature counted as confirmed by their signature. Keep in mind, I was notified of the invalidated signatures on Wednesday evening, July 19, 2023. Over the next day and a half, myself and my team were able to stop by the homes of all of the individuals on the list. Regrettably, by the time of the hearing, I had only been able to speak face to face with 11 of the individuals but I had all of their affidavits in my possession at the time of the hearing. The hearing was scheduled to start at 2:00 PM on July 21, 2023. After arriving late to the hearing, the Chairwoman of the Board of Elections along with the rest of the Board left the hearing room to head to a secure, private room. They did not return to the hearing until approximately 3:45 PM. At which point they reviewed the challenges of the 5 candidates. I was the fourth candidate to dispute their findings.
    With 11 affidavits in hand and 21 individuals still to connect with directly, I pleaded my case. The Board informed me that because I was to unable to provide the required 22 signed affidavits needed to get on the ballot that there was nothing they could do as they had to have the ballots printed and sent to overseas military personnel by Saturday, July 22.

    The individuals who signed my ballot did so in good faith and had their signature disputed by the Board of Elections without explanation. As a result, I have been prevented from getting on the ballot and a grave injustice has been committed against both me and future candidates. Invalidating ballot signatures and then not giving adequate time to follow up with signatories to contest the invalidated signatures is unjust and anti-democratic. Whatever laws are in place that put these restrictions in place need to be amended. There also needs to be a mechanism in place for individuals whose signatures are invalidated to be made aware of this in a timely fashion so an attempt can be made to dispute the challenge. Adequate time should also be allotted to allow the impacted candidates to confirm and cure the invalidated signatures if the burden falls solely on them. There also needs to be greater transparency as to the reason for invalidation and how this assessment is conducted. Without an explanation or enough time to refute the Board of Elections findings, there is a huge miscarriage of justice.

    Alas, I will be unable to get my name on the ballot and I have no intention of running as a write-in candidate, but if sharing the details of my experience with the voters here in Rhode Island creates changes, then it will have been worth it. I ran because I am genuinely concerned about the people of my state. It’s a shame that the voters will never get to hear about my platform, my love for Rhode Island and my love for my community. This is a negative for our democracy.

    • Joann Lombardi on August 4, 2023 at 10:40 pm


  4. Joann Lombardi on August 4, 2023 at 7:46 pm

    Perfectly stated by the author and by Mr. Shallcross and Mr. Vit.

    • David Shallcross on August 4, 2023 at 10:20 pm

      Darn do I dislike this Apple iPad when it changes my message. Jack lived on Arland Dr when he was younger. Even now, it tried to substitute Armand for Arland. Had to rewrite this post 3 times.

  5. David Shallcross (SRA, St.Leo’s, and an altar boy with Jack from Armand Dr) on August 4, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Jack is right on the money in this instance. We are watching, daily, the outcomes of national politicians who think our laws do not apply to them. Not just statutes but the Constitution itself. The national GOP, it’s leaders and their sniveling followers, defending the indefensible and utilizing a smoke and mirrors approach to government. It is a total disregard of our ideals for a vigorous and honest democracy, and failing to represent those who rely on their integrity. The national GOP leadership is an abomination easily recognized by anyone who takes the time to look.
    But the national GOP is not alone in this regard. Right here in RI we have exactly the same descriptions as mentioned above except applicable to the RI Democratic Party. And, unbelievably, our solution is to send them to the US Congress. It wasn’t always that way but our most recent elections reward liars and cheats with applauds and honors. Anyone who fails to be accountable, throws up a smoke screen, and shifts the blame elsewhere should never get past step one in the process. It’s prevalent to the point of ridiculousness in our GA yet we tolerate it year after year, ‘pay to play’ schemes are so common the reaction has become ‘what are you going to do’, and while we have seen a few head off to jail, nothing really changes. What we see happening at the national level, beyond our reach, is happening right here in RI and definitely within our grasp. Wake up Rhode Island!

  6. John Vit on August 4, 2023 at 11:54 am

    Please contact me.
    David Cicilline broke his contract with the CD Voters
    He didn’t get hit by a bus,or contract a deadly disease. GREED is prevalent.
    His resignation will cost RI & the 21 Communities $700k.
    He has the funds in his campaign account, he MUST PAY FOR THIS Special Primary & Election.
    He must be professionally embarrassed to do this, especially after he lied his way out of Providence as Mayor.
    Next is ask Donors to RI Foundation to hold their donations until he does the Right Thing.