9,000 emergency ballots in Cranston re-tallied

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) — Thousands of early emergency ballots are being re-fed at the Board of Elections Wednesday.

According to the Executive Director, Bob Rapoza, there was a transmission issue on a USB drive in Cranston that held about 9,000 emergency ballot votes.

Rapoza says last night, 39 Board of Canvassers were instructed to transmit results from their early, emergency voting equipment. At 10:00 p.m., 38 of 39 had successfully done so.

He says Cranston had a USB drive that captured all the votes until the drive became full, but the voting equipment at the Board of Elections was not able to read the data on the drive.

“We spent a good hour waiting to try getting the equipment to tabulate the results,” Rapoza said. “It would be more beneficial and expedient if we put these ballots back through the mail ballot tabulating equipment.”

That’s when Cranston Election Officials hand delivered the paper version of those ballots, which were securely stored at the Board of Elections.

“Upon completion, we will release the results onto our website. Upon approval, the re-feeding of the ballots will begin between 12:00 p.m. today.”

Today, the board voted to approve a motion to allow those paper versions to be fed through a tabulator. That will happen from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Rapoza says he hopes final results are in by 4:00 p.m. the latest.

In the meantime, key races in Cranston were left waiting for final results. In the race for Cranston’s 15th legislative district, both candidates waited until Wednesday morning to call the race. Mattiello eventually conceded to Fenton-Fung.

Also in Cranston, Hopkins leads over Bucci in the race for mayor, but with 30% of precincts still left to report.

The Board of Elections is also waiting for the remaining mail ballots that were put in drop boxes before the 8:00 p.m. deadline on Election Day.

As of Wednesday morning, more than 150,000 mail ballots had been counted, but that didn’t include those placed in drop boxes just before the deadline at 8:00 p.m.

Executive Director of the Board of Elections, Bob Rapoza, says the fact that it’s taking longer isn’t cause for concern, it’s because of the large number of people that voted early and by mail this year.

“We were prepared for this, Executive Director Bob Rapoza said. “This is what we planned for. We were actually planning for more mail ballots then we have recieved, so this is not a surprise to us its taking a little bit of time to process, but you have to realize, we have never released unofficial mail ballot results on the day of the election. This is the first time we have ever done that.”

In 2016, the Board of Elections processed over 40,000 emergency and mail ballots. This year, that number is over 300,000 for both.

Today, three teams will go to the 39 Board of Canvassers to pick up the remaining ballots left before the 8:00 p.m. deadline at more than 400 ballot boxes across the state.

“We do have mail drop box ballots in all the cities and towns that will be picked up by our teams and brought back here to the board of elections,” Rapoza said. “They then will need to be certified and then those ballots will be tabulated and then included into our results.”

Three teams of election workers are traveling to the 39 Board of canvassers across the state to retrieve them, where they will then be certified and tabulated.

Rapoza says 196,823 of the voters voted in-person at one of the polling places, which was about 24.46% of the turnout.

240,250 voters cast an emergency ballot at their city/town hall in the 20 days before yesterday’s election, which reflected 17.43% of the turnout.

150,250 voters and still counting cast a mail ballot, which reflects 18.71% of the turnout.

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