Board of Elections confirms East Providence voting irregularities

Photos by Richard W Dionne Jr
Edward Bonetti finishes up his ballot at Kent Heights School during the primary on Tuesday.

Photos by Richard W Dionne Jr
Edward Bonetti finishes up his ballot at Kent Heights School during the primary on Tuesday.

EAST PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island Board of Elections Chairman Frank J. Rego confirmed to The East Providence Post two incidents of polling place errors at the Kent Heights Elementary School voting precinct in East Providence earlier Tuesday morning, Sept. 11.

A pair of Republican-affiliated voters, able only to vote in the non-partisan City Council Ward 3 primary election involving Thomas Rose, Candy Seel and Daniel Dalton, were provided with the wrong ballot by poll workers.

Instead of receiving the white, non-partisan ballot, the two voters were given the blue, Democratic ballot that includes primary races for State Senate District 14 and State Representative District 65, according to Mr. Rego, who also said he prevented a third Republican affiliated voter from receiving a blue ballot while he was on site investigating the scene.

(Update, 3 p.m., Sept. 11) Mr. Rego added the votes will count towards the totals from that polling place, but that the chance for candidates to challenge the results are a real possibility. Later in the day, Mr. Rego told The Post a staffer from the Board of Elections was being sent to the Kent Heights location to monitor voting the rest of the evening. Mr. Rego also said Rhode Island State Police have been put on stand-by to respond to any further irregularities at the Kent Heights site or others in the city for the rest of the voting, which ends at 8 p.m.

Aside from the Kent Heights errors, The Post has confirmed the reporting of a possible similar incident of at least one Republican-affiliated voter submitting a ballot in the Democratic Primary at the Riverside Congregational Church polling place. An unconfirmed incident of the same type has been reported at the Martin Middle School precinct.

Also of note, the State Board of Elections has released the number of absentee ballots submitted for each of the three state seats from East Providence being contested Tuesday. The District 14 Senate race between Daniel DaPonte and Roberto DaSilva has 228 total absentee ballots, the three-way House 65 race between Gregg Amore, Tim Chapman and Jim Miller has 141 and the four-way House 63 race among Robert Britto, Samuel Lovett, Katherine Kazarian and Charlie Tsonos has 101.

Return to The East Providence Post page at later in the day for updates and clarification on the details of the matter.

Editor’s note: Mr. Rego is the brother of The Post’s Mike Rego.


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