PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Board of Canvassers is proud to announce that the City of Pawtucket will be receiving 53 DS-200 voting machines this year from the Rhode Island Board of Elections, nearly double the 31 used previously, to alleviate the issues faced during the 2016 general election. After the extensive wait times experienced by many voters at the polls, the Pawtucket Board of Canvassers and the City’s Administration has been working with the state to provide more voting machines to ensure that voters can cast their ballots in a reasonable amount of time. As of September 24, the Board of Elections has delivered. This election, more than half of the city’s polling places will have at least 2 DS-200s, with the 7 busiest precincts being supplied with 3 machines.
The 2016 elections saw higher turnout than in 2014, due to the Presidential Election that year. This uptick, coupled with the relatively new, slightly slower but significantly more secure DS-200 machines, meant that many of the State’s busiest precincts were expecting a line at peak voting times. However, Pawtucket was especially busy, and some with of the city’s busiest precincts’ lone DS-200 start to jam or experience mechanical issues, long lines quickly formed. The state was able to deliver additional machines to these polling places later in the day, but for many voters the damage was already done.
“Some of our voters were waiting up to two hours just to cast their ballots, which is a totally unfair amount of time to ask people to take out of their day during the work week.” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “Voting should be for everyone, not just those who can take huge chunks out of their day to make their voice heard. So when I heard the news from Ken [McGill] that the Board of Canvassers was able to secure additional machines this year, I was ecstatic.”
“[The additional machines are] something we fought for after the issues we faced in 2016,” said Pawtucket Registrar Kenneth McGill. “The Board of Canvassers began looking into how to fix the issue as soon as we started hearing reports of long lines. And while we were happy to get the additional machines later in the day in 2016, we knew that for the next election we would need them from the very beginning. I am pleased that the Board of Elections is able to help us fix this issue this election by supplying the 22 additional machines.”
The RI Board of Elections was made well aware of this issue by Pawtucket officials, and after working closely with the City was able to determine what polling places had the highest turnout and were in most need of additional machines. Of Pawtucket’s 31 polling places, 17 will be receiving at least 2 DS-200 voting machines, and the 7 hit hardest by the waits in 2016 will receive 3 machines, including Curtis School, St. Cecilia’s Church, St. Teresa’s Church, Fallon School, Varieur School, Geneva Plaza, and Euart Post.
“The ability to vote in a timely fashion is extremely important our citizens, especially those Rhode Islanders who have to take time out of their work day to vote”, said Steven Taylor from the Board of Elections. “We are confident that the addition of 22 DS-200 voting machines to the pool of machines used by the City of Pawtucket will alleviate the problems that occurred in 2016”.
The 2018 Midterm elections will be taking place on Tuesday, November 6. The deadline to register to vote is October 7 and the last day to apply for a mail ballot is October 16. For any questions regarding registering to vote or going to the polls, reach out to the Pawtucket Board of Canvassers at (401) 728-0500 ext. 207. More information and sample ballots are available online on the RI Secretary of State’s voting portal at vote.sos.ri.gov.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Wilder Arboleda
September 27, 2018 401-728-0500 ext. 358
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- Mayor Donald R. Grebien