Secretary of state seeks study on election improvements

Secretary of state seeks study on election improvements

PAWTUCKET – The Rhode Island Secretary of State’s Office is asking the Board of Elections to study ways to speed up the voting process in Pawtucket and elsewhere.

In a letter to the City Council last week, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea agreed with the Pawtucket City Council that the Nov. 8 election in Pawtucket was “unacceptable,” and said she remains committed to ensuring that elections “are fair, fast and accurate.”

The three factors that led to Pawtucket’s election day problems were:

• New voting machine equipment that includes state-of-the-art scanning and encryption technology, a security measure that can add a few seconds to the process of accepting a ballot, especially for a city with three ballot pages per person.

• Fewer polling locations statewide, meaning more voters at each location for the second straight election.

• And inefficient layout for some polling locations, leading to bottlenecks and confusion among voters.

“Regardless of the cause, no one should ever have to wait in a line for an hour or more in order to vote,” wrote Gorbea. “This is unacceptable.” She is asking the Board of Elections to study and adopt one or more of the following measures:

• Consult with the voting machine vendor to look at options for expediting the machine’s handling of ballots.

• Increase the number of machines available in certain polling locations.

• Increase the number of polling locations.

• And review the layout of polling locations to enhance efficiency and traffic flow.