Early voting catches on quickly in NP

Early voting catches on quickly in NP

Some early North Providence voters check in with the poll workers to be checked off in the system and get a ballot last Friday afternoon. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – During a time of turmoil, with a presidential election approaching during a pandemic, early voting has become all the rage, a trend that’s no different in North Providence.

Town poll worker and moderator Paul Blaise said last Friday that since early voting officially opened two days earlier, the town had seen a steady stream of hundreds of early voters.

The Board of Canvassers in North Providence is located on the lower level of the North Providence Town Hall, 2000 Smith St. There are signs throughout with arrows to lead the way. Voters check in with the first poll worker at the doorway to let them know which jurisdiction they are from and from there they check in with other poll workers at the table.

There are three voting stations, so Blaise said that only three voters are allowed in at one time along with the poll workers. He said that if the room was bigger, they could fit more booths, but the wait hasn’t deterred anyone from showing up.

“At least 200 people a day,” Blaise said of the turnout so far. “That’s a large turnout for a site like this. Since Wednesday we have had 606 voters so far.”

That figure is many times the number the town typically sees.

Residents visiting Town Hall will get a ballot to vote on everything from their own district all the way up to the person they want as president.

“We expect it to get busier and busier as election day comes,” Blaise said. “We think that over here on election day, this particular site is only going to be doing limited ballots. This location is doing a limited ballot for people who haven’t registered so they can only vote for the president (on election day). This location will not be as busy on election day. Up until election day, it will be busy.”

Poll workers said they have seen quite a few elderly voters come out, but people of all ages are registering early votes. They said they seem to get busy when they open at 8:30 a.m., at the lunch hour, and then right before closing.

Masks are required in the building and there are stickers on the floor to help keep people socially distant while waiting in line or around other people.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive response,” Blaise said. “People have been saying they really appreciate it. They think this is great and think we should do it all the time, really positive feedback.”

If interested in voting early, visit North Providence Town Hall, 2000 Smith St., or for more information call 401-232-0900, ext. 230 or 241.

The voting scantron sits toward the back of the Board of Canvassers room waiting for a voter to slip a ballot safely inside.