My Ballot, 2008

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve done this, and obviously I’ve never done it in R.I., but here’s the 2008 version of My Ballot. As in prior years, I’ve dug up the races on this year’s Election Day ballot, for my district. I’m doing this mostly for my own benefit, as I hate to enter a polling place with no idea in advance about the less-publicized races.

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations has made this particularly easy for me this time; the Secretary of State’s office posts to its website a sample ballot for each district, so you know in advance what offices and ballot measures are up for the vote.

In a nutshell, there’s not much going on this election cycle. Besides the elephant in the room, senior senator Jack Reed is up for re-election, Patrick Kennedy is seeking another House term, and we have two elections for the state assembly. Rounding out the pack are two ballot measures.

So, here we go. Candidates are listed in the order in which they appear on the sample ballot. Candidate links go to Project Vote Smart; party links are to the official website of the political party.


Barack Obama / Joe Biden (Democrat)
John McCain / Sarah Palin (Republican)
Bob Barr / Wayne A. Root (Libertarian)
Gloria La Riva / Robert Moses (Socialism & Liberation)
Ralph Nader / Matt Gonzalez (Independent; link is to Nader’s campaign site)
Chuck Baldwin / Darrell L. Castle (Constitution)
Cynthia McKinney / Rosa Clemente (Green)


John F. Reed (Democrat; incumbent)
Robert G. Tingle (Republican)


Patrick J. Kennedy (Democrat; incumbent)
Jonathan P. Scott (Republican)
Kenneth A. Capalbo (Independent)


Rhoda E. Perry (Democrat; incumbent; running unopposed)


Gordon D. Fox (Democrat; incumbent)
David V. Anderson (Republican)


Question 1 is a transportation bond question that would allow the state to borrow money to fund transportation improvements in RI–$80 million for roads, highways, and bridges; $3.5 million for commuter rail; and $3.6 million for bus service.

(Tom Sgouros, a policy writer who blogs at, has a piece there analyzing this bond measure.)

Question 2 is an open-spaces bond question, authorizing the state to borrow $2.5 million to purchase and preserve open lands and parks.

NOTES: The Rhode Island ballot lists, as La Riva’s running mate, one Robert Moses. The party’s website, however, says the running mate is Eugene Puryear. At 22 years old, Puryear would be disqualified by law from serving as Vice President, because he doesn’t meet the 35-year-old age threshold set out in the Constitution. Finally, a VP candidate even less qualified for the office than Sarah Palin.

Rhode Island, you may be amused to learn, has exactly two House districts. The first district is repped by Patrick J. Kennedy, and yes, Patrick is one of the Kennedys–Ted’s third child with his first wife, Joan Bennett Kennedy. This is the first election I’ll vote in, in which a member of the Kennedy family has been on my ballot. Ted’s presidential run was six years before I was old enough to vote.

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