Voters approve millions in funding for state projects in special election

According to unofficial results from the Board of Elections, the majority of Rhode Island voters approved all seven bond measures voted on in the special election Tuesday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – According to unofficial results from the Board of Elections, the majority of Rhode Island voters approved all seven bond measures in the special election Tuesday.

A BOE spokesperson tells ABC 6 thought 100 percent of precincts are reporting, there are still some mail ballots to be counted.

Thousands of Rhode Islanders cast their ballots in Tuesday’s special election, not for a candidate, but for or against state spending.

These types of bond questions would usually be on the ballot for the general election, but they were pushed back because of the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

“This is a really great opportunity where everybody was focusing on just the bond issues, to think about it,” said voter Catherine Taylor of Providence.

According to the Secretary of State’s website less than 13 percent of registered voters actually voted in this special election, and most of them were by mail.

However the polling place on Orchard Avenue in Providence was very busy throughout the afternoon and evening.

“I like to come and do the personal vote,” said Laurie Amat of Providence. “There’s something about walking into the polls I just love!”

Most of the voters ABC 6 spoke to gave the go ahead on all of the projects.

“I actually voted for all of them,” said voter David Stewart.

“I voted to approve all of the measures,” said voter Tess Brown.

Investments in the arts and at state universities were top of mind for many voters at the polls Tuesday evening, which were covered in Questions One and Six.

“Ultimately the arts are fundamental and they’ve taken a tremendous hit during the pandemic,” said Stewart.

“I’ve performed at the URI Arts Center – that thing is falling apart! They’ve been fighting to get funds for it,” said Amat.

Question One provides funding for renovations of buildings on the URI, Rhode Island College, and CCRI campuses.

“I work at URI and Rhode Island College and I just know how decrepit some of those buildings are, and they really need the investment to attract students into our state,” said Taylor.

Voters overwhelmingly voted to approve funding for improvements to roads and bridges on Question Four, as well as a bond that will improve state beaches and parks, and support environmental issues on Question Two.

Some voters said they rejected Question Seven because they felt it was vague, though it did pass in the end.

It would provide $60 million to invest in industrial facilities throughout the state.

“I looked at this list of what we’re spending money on,” said Amat. “So many of the other items on that list seemed to be more quickly needed.”

According to the Secretary of State’s website, more than 100,000 people voted in this election and almost 70,000 of those were by mail.

You can view a full breakdown of each question here.

Categories: News, Politics, Rhode Island