Redistricting and ballot machines cause poll problems - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Redistricting and ballot machines cause poll problems

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Andrea Medeiros

If you didn't wait in one of those long voting lines Tuesday night, you probably saw the images of it. Voters waited up to three hours to cast their ballot, even after the polls closed.

Voter frustrations were running high throughout Rhode Island. Some had to leave without casting their vote, because they didn't have time to wait.

600 people still hadn't voted in South Providence when the polls closed at eight, and at another polling center on the East Side, hundreds waited hours to cast their ballots.

"We can't hear an hour and a half line, and you know that just can't be acceptable," said Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, "We have to strive to do better."

Both the Secretary of State and Board of Elections admit there were major problems this election day, starting with a hundred fewer polling places.

"The reason for that is that we just recently went through redistricting, but the redistricting came out late this year," said Board of Elections Director Robert Kando.

Redistricting was passed by the General Assembly in May, meaning polling sites couldn't be picked and poll workers couldn't be recruited until after that date. Creating chaotic scenes.

"It's really a problem to have a last name beginning with L, because I happen to be in the A through L line and as you can see, it's ten times longer than the M through Z line," said voter Sandra Lee.

Broken ballot machines also caused delays. The machines, now 15 years old, are supposed to be replaced before the next election in 2014. All big problems, when Rhode Island saw the third highest voter turnout in state history.

The next election is not a presidential election, so there's a traditionally smaller turnout. There are alternatives to waiting in line, you can always request a mail–in ballot and vote early.



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