Looking ahead to Primary Day in Rhode Island

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island’s Primary elections will be held Tuesday, but things will look different at the polls this year.

Only a limited number of polling places will be open, as the state has been encouraging voters to mail in their ballots.

For people who do vote in person, face masks will be required at polling stations. Only a limited number of people will be allowed inside at one time, and pens will not be re-used. Hand sanitizer will be encouraged before and after voting.

Voters had requested 48,000 primary ballots by mail this year.

Ballots that were not mailed in on time can be dropped in a drop box before 8 p.m. Tuesday night. Each city and town in the state has one located outside of city hall.

“I am happy to see mail-in ballots and drop boxes,” said Dylan Conley, who is challenging congressman Jim Langevin in the Democratic primary for the state’s second US Congressional seat.

“Anything that improves access to voting, is something I support,” said Conley.

While voter turnout for primary elections in Rhode Island are generally pretty low, some candidates remain optimistic.

“I think it’ll be a much bigger turnout than usual because of the interest in the race and also because of the ease of voting by mail,” said Steven Stykos, a democratic candidate for mayor in the city of Cranston.

The pandemic has also changed things on the campaign trail.

“Everything has had to be virtual,” said Conley. “We cant have big campaign rallies or anything like that.”

Conley says he spends hours every night interacting with voters online, using social media and other platforms.

“We’ve actually reached thousands and thousands of people which is very exciting,” he added.

Polls in Rhode Island will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 8 p.m.

(C) WLNE-TV // ABC 6  2020
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