Town offices open for special election

Town offices open for special election

Anticipating lower voter turnout than usual, only one polling location in Lincoln will be open for next week’s special statewide referenda election.

On March 2, Lincoln’s registered voters will be able to cast their ballots at Town Hall. Early voting is happening now, so residents may vote weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until March 1. On March 2, Town Hall will be open as a polling place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cumberland Town Hall will also be the one polling location available in that town. Early in-person voting is now taking place on weekdays, with polls also open on election day. Early in-person voting ends at 4 p.m. on March 1.

The measures on the ballot pertain to state bond spending of some $400 million for various projects, broken down as follows:

• Question 1: Capital improvements to higher education facilities, with $57.3 million earmarked for a new fine arts center at the University of Rhode Island, $38 million for renovating the Clarke Science Building at Rhode Island College, and $12 million to renovate and modernize student support and classroom spaces at the Community College of Rhode Island.

• Question 2: Beach, Clean Water and Green Bond for $74 million, with $33 million spread out among the state’s beaches, parks and campgrounds. In addition, the bond would be allocated to local recreation, clean water and land preservation projects, to dredge the Providence River, creating park infrastructure on former I-195 land in Providence, and for recreation and infrastructure improvements along the Woonasquatucket River Greenway.

• Question 3: A total of $65 million set aside to increase the availability of affordable housing and supporting community revitalization through the redevelopment of existing structures, new construction and property acquisition.

• Question 4: Issuing $71.7 million in transportation infrastructure bonds, matching federal funds and supporting planned infrastructure improvements, including to ports, highways, roads and bridges.

• Question 5: Setting aside $15 million for physical improvements to and the development of licensed early childhood care and education facilities by establishing an Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund. The funding would be distributed through small grants for urgent health and safety upgrades.

• Question 6: Supporting the state’s issuance of $7 million in general obligation bonds to help fund the Cultural Arts and the Economy Grant program and the State Preservation Grants program. Specifically, the Trinity Repertory Company would receive $2.5 million and $1.5 million would be allocated to the Rhode Island Philharmonic. The Rhode Island Council on the Arts would allocate another $2 million to local programs, and $1 million would spread among municipalities to help fund the preservation, renovation and improvement of public and nonprofit historic sites, museums and cultural arts centers located in historic structures in R.I.

• Question 7: The final question on the ballot asks voters for approval in funding $20 in infrastructure upgrades at the Port of Davisville at Quonset, and $40 million to replicate Quonset’s “site readiness” initiative statewide, helping prepare business-ready parcels for manufacturing and other uses.

Contact the town clerk offices in each town for more information.

The Board of Elections on Tuesday issued a release saying that some 53,000 mail ballots and 2,400 emergency ballots had already been processed.

“We’re pleased to again see that many Rhode Islanders have already cast their ballot by mail or by emergency voting at their city or town hall,” said Executive Director Robert Rapoza.

He said voters can check the status of their mail ballot using the state’s mail ballot status lookup tool available at www.elections.ri.gov . Voters who have received mail ballots also have the option to drop their completed ballot off at any of the 41 secure drop boxes at city and town halls across the state through March 2 at 8 p.m., he said.