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Midterms Ran Smoothly In RI Despite High Turnout and New Technology

As elections officials tally the ballots cast on Election Day, voter turnout could reach a fifty year high for a midterm. John Bender reports voter turnout in Rhode Island was strong Tuesday.

Of the roughly 790,000 registered voters in Rhode Island, more than 377,000 cast their ballots. Those unofficial counts from the state Board of Elections mean nearly 48 percent of Rhode Island voters turned out on Election Day. State Board of Elections director Robert Rapoza said new technology helped speed up the voting process.

"We were very pleased with the way it worked," Rapoza said. "Voters loved the electronic poll pads, it does help with the flow of voters in and out of the polling place. As well as for 2018, the Board of Elections sent additional voting machines to a polling place if we felt the turnout was going to be larger than normal."

Rapoza said the numbers in Rhode Island are “comparable” to previous elections. 

According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, voting went smoothly at polls across Rhode Island Tuesday. The RI ACLU’s Megan Khatchadourian said the day was largely uneventful.

"For as large a turnout and really the first really big test to the new e-polling pads and all that stuff, we got fairly unremarkable responses back, which is what you want to see," Khatchadourian commented.

During elections, organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union send monitors to the polls, to make sure voters understand their rights and can cast their ballots.

This election, about a dozen of the Rhode Island ACLU’s poll monitors fanned out across the state. Khatchadourian said the poll monitors were happy with what they saw.

"We did have a number of our poll monitors report that there were ‘x’ amount of provisional ballots for various reasons, but all in all it was a really quiet day. Which we like to see."

Khatchadourian said voters sometimes get confused by the provisional ballot process, or be wrongly denied a provisional ballot if they need one.


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