EAST PROVIDENCE — A check around the numerous polling places in city Election Day, Nov. 6, confirmed long lines and substantial waits for voters wishing to cast their ballots, much of which was based in part on the sheer volume of people participating in the process and the lack of enough workers at the sites.
The busiest of the polling places appeared to be the Kent Heights School in Ward 3, where the average time to vote was about an hour-and-a-half with an up to a two-and-a-half-hour stay in line, which stretched well into the adjacent parking lot.
Down in Riverside at the Library Branch polling place, the reported average wait time was about 40 to 45 minutes. In the northern part of the city at Rumford Towers, the wait was likewise in the range of an hour. Also in Rumford, at the Francis School the wait time depends on the first letter of the voter’s last name. A-K has had a much longer wait than L-Z. Later, it was the reverse.
Back in the center of the city, both the City Hall and Martin Middle School polling places also had lengthy lines. At City Hall it took about a half hour to get from the entry way in the main lobby where the ballot boxes are set up. Likewise, the line at Martin reached down a corridor into the main lobby for those waiting to get to the ballot boxes inside the gymnasium.
The Post and eastbayri.com confirmed reports of mechanical problems with machines in city at both the Francis School and Kent Heights School. Officials at the State Board of Elections said the Francis School situation was minor and was rectified quickly. The Kent Heights School situation was on-going as of mid-afternoon. It was slowing down the process, but wasn’t hindering voters from casting their ballots.
The Board of Elections did receive a call earlier in the day about mechanical issues from the Hennessey School in the Ward 2 section. A technician was sent to the site, but found nothing out of order.
More than anything, according to the Board, the long lines and waits were due to not having enough workers at the polls as well as poorly laid out floor plans in the buildings. Two poll workers for each alphabetical group signed voters in and gave out the ballots.