Common Questions

How do you pronounce "RI Rank"?

We pronounce it "rye-rank", but if "are-eye-rank" or "Rhode Island rank" are more your preference, have at it!

Who funds RI Rank?

RI Rank is self-funded and runs on the work of volunteers. It is a not-for-profit organization, owned by the Rhode Island Free Press Co. We accept no contributions of any kind from elected officials, political organizations, "think tanks", PACs, etc. RI Rank is built on trust - the public's trust that the information we provide is accurate and unbiased.

I love what you do - how can I donate?

Most of our overhead has been generously provided to us at no cost and our workers are volunteers.

If you love our work, the best contribution you can make is to spread the word. We want the RI electorate to be one that is educated on the decisions their representatives have made on their behalf.

How did RI Rank come about?

RI Rank is the culmination of many factors. But it all began five years ago when one of our founders reached out to their state representative, a Democrat, with a few questions on her stances. Surprisingly, the representative responded by arguing the conservative position on each issue. In fact, the representative revealed that she held no progressive or liberal stances at all, though she had run for years as a Democrat. After researching other legislators, It became clear that a "D" or an "R" next to a candidate's name was largely meaningless in Rhode Island. However, RI voters still lean on party affiliation when choosing who to vote for when they are not familiar with the candidates. RI Rank aims to change that by providing easy to understand rankings that help voters determine if an incumbent is serving the public's interests and should be re-elected.

How often are ratings updated?

Ratings based on a legislator's votes and actions in the State House will be updated after each legislative session is complete, in the summer following the session.

Collection of ratings based on actual legislator performance with constituents is conducted year round and aggregate ratings are updated twice per year.

What is the purpose of RI Rank?

In one word: accountability. Everything we do and everything about the RI Rank project is grounded in one principle: holding public servants accountable for the job they do. If your state Senator is serving the public good, we want to make sure everyone knows. If they are self-dealing and/or voting for their own interests, you will know about it, in a way that is easy to understand.

How does RI Rank determine which bills apply to a legislator's ratings?

We rely on two major sources for our ratings: 1) Established nonpartisan organizations such as the ACLU and Common Cause, and 2) Actual Rhode Island residents. Unlike partisan organizations that serve a special interest, the organizations whose ratings we have chosen to use have no agenda beyond a long history of supporting causes that are in the public good - even in instances where they may not be popular decisions. All bills are rated months after they are voted on, at the end of the year's session.

Real-world performance ratings are conducted by our army of volunteer Rhode Island residents willing to provide details of personal interactions with their legislators. Want to help? Sign up today!