Common Questions

from Voters

How do you pronounce "RI Rank"?

We pronounce it "rye-rank". Quick and simple.

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. RI Rank is built on trust - the public's trust that the information we provide is fair, accurate, and non-biased.

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

We tally voting records based on bills highlighted by three organizations: the RI ACLU, Common Cause of RI, and the Environmental Council of RI. These organizations were selected based on their long history of supporting "common" causes and lobbying for the public good.

Why doesn't RI Rank show which party a legislator belongs to?

The goal of RI Rank is to hold legislators accountable and work to promote better public servants, regardless of which party they belong to. RI Rank does not exist to prove that a particular party has better/worse legislators nor to promote either party's brand. We feel voters should judge members of the General Assembly on their performance alone without care to the party they belong to.

Why did [legislator] perform poorly?

Our rankings are based entirely on legislator actions that directly affect their constituents: votes and outreach. RI Rank does not factor pledges, promises, group memberships, etc. into a member's ranking because they do not provide a tangible benefit to voters. This methodology exposes legislators who hold particular stances on issues in public statements and/or campaign materials, but then vote differently. This can be startling to voters who hear a legislator brand themselves as a supporter of an issue but whose votes show opposition or indifference to it.

What is the purpose of RI Rank?

The RI Rank project is grounded in one principle: holding public servants accountable to the job they do for their constituents. If your state legislator is serving the public good, we want their constituents to know. If they are self-dealing and/or voting for their own interests, you can find out in seconds.

How often are ratings updated?

Rankings are updated yearly and released after each legislative session is complete, in the summer immediately following the session.

How did RI Rank come into existence?

RI Rank is the culmination of many factors. But it all began in 2016 when our founder reached out to his state representative, a Democrat, with a few questions about her stances. Surprisingly, the representative responded by arguing conservative positions on every issue. In fact, the representative revealed that she held no progressive or liberal stances at all, though she continued running as a Democrat. After researching other legislators, It became clear that a "D" or an "R" next to their name was largely meaningless in Rhode Island. However, voters still lean heavily on party affiliation when choosing who to vote for, especially when they are unfamiliar with the candidates. RI Rank aims to change this by providing easy to understand rankings that help voters determine if an incumbent is serving the public interest and should be re-elected.

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 government representatives have made on their behalf.