Providence Mayor tries to Prevent Voting by Elderly Couple

Released on = November 9, 2006, 7:41 pm

Press Release Author = Press Dept

Industry = Government

Press Release Summary = Senior Citizen and Disability issue. Providence Mayor
Cicilline tried to prevent voting assistance entitled to elderly couple pursuant to
RI State Law and invoked the Police power in claimed violation of civil rights.

Press Release Body = (Providence, Rhode Island, USA) During the recent election,
Mayor David N. Cicilline threatened the Democratic Ward 8 Chairman Wilbur W.
Jennings Jr. with arrest for trying to assist an elderly couple in casting their
vote at their request pursuant to State Law. Providence Police arrived shortly
afterward and ordered Jennings from the premises. Jennings protested, but left under
threat of arrest.

The incident began when an elderly pair of voters went to vote at the Ward 8 Fire
Station and asked for assistance. Jennings offered to assist and asked Warden Ed
Hicks about the proper procedure. Hicks provided the standard "voter assist" form to
be filled out and then signed by the voter. There is also a section to be filled out
by the person assisting.

Mayor Cicilline happened to be inside the poll greeting poll workers and his city
employees who had the day off but were there working on behalf of the mayor's
campaign and his selected council candidate Leon F. Tejada. When made aware of the
assist, he took loud verbal exception to Jennings helping the elderly voters.

Cicilline first told Jennings that he "could not vote for another voter" and then
took his objection to Warden Hicks. When it became clear that Hicks was immovable,
Cicilline loudly told Jennings that if he voted for the voter, that he (Cicilline)
would challenge the election results, and have him arrested if he did.

The growing crowd of onlookers went outside following Jennings and Mayor Cicilline
who continued their loud discussion. Onlookers say that the Mayor's driver called
the Providence Police. When they arrived, the conversation was over and Jennings was
a good distance away from the Mayor but had not yet returned inside to the poll.
When police arrived, they first spoke with the Mayor, and then immediately went over
and ordered Jennings to leave the area. Jennings protested but left under threat of

"This was unlawful, and a misuse of the power of his office," an angry Jennings said
this morning. "Mayor Cicilline first tried to disenfranchise senior citizens who
needed help voting in a Federal Election, and then caused Providence Police to
violate my civil rights by ordering me to leave under threat of arrest solely on the
word of the city Mayor." "The warden, who is actually a state official, had already
explained to the Mayor that there IS a provision for this in the law," Jennings went
on, "but the Mayor would not hear it." "That elderly couple had requested
assistance, and the special voting machine for people with disabilities did not
work. Things may go wrong with machines, but the Mayor's actions are a direct insult
and outrage to every senior citizen and anyone with disabilities who may now feel
reluctant to vote because they need help at the polls," Jennings concluded.

Jennings will be filing a formal complaint concerning the incident this week.

- 30 -

Contact: Bob Cooper, 401-447-6474 Days/Evenings
Wilbur Jennings, 401-595-9216 Days/Evenings

Web Site =

Contact Details = Bob Cooper
127 Dorrance Street
Providence , 02903


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