Polls draw crowds and wildlife in Bristol
Shortly before 3 p.m., approximately 300 voters cast their ballots at the Burnside Building. With the sign-in table empty, Donna Soares came through the door with Jake, a Moluccan Cockatoo, perched on her shoulder.
“We’re here to fire the president,” Ms. Soares announced.
As poll workers checked her name on the voter registration list, others were entertained by the friendly bird.
The scene was somewhat different at Quinta-Gamelin. There, voters who stood in line for over a half hour to cast their ballots were getting frustrated by the wait.
“This is set up all wrong,” said Rebecca St. Vincent.
This was her second attempt at voting. She arrived around 9:30 a.m. when the line stretched through various rooms in the former Army Reserve center.
“I was here about 10 minutes and left,” she said.
She returned in the afternoon expecting the lines to be shorter and the process better organized.
“I’ve been standing here a half hour,” she said. “They said the workers were on lunch break.”
Compared to Burnside’s 300 ballots, the Quinta-Gamelin center processed 1,228 ballots in the same amount of time, with the same number of poll workers and voting booths.
Mothers held their toddlers wishing there was a better way to handle voting.
“They should have it on-line,” said one mother.
“They could just re-arrange the set up,” said another.
Poll worker, Carolyn Breslin said that she shared the frustration with the voters, but was just following the guidelines set by the state.
“The state board of elections sets up a diagram and we have to follow that,” she said.
Some of the snags were simply just a matter of names.
“D through K has been horrendous,” she said.
As the line finally crept forward Ms. St. Vincent said it’s no wonder voter turnout is typically low.
“If I was an 18 year old kid here for my first time voting, I wouldn’t stay here.”
Ms. Breslin, however, saw the wait as a positive sign.
“It’s good to see them all come out and vote,” she said.