Richmond reports heavy voter turnout
By Cynthia Drummond for BRVCA
RICHMOND – Of the town’s 6,341 registered voters, 975 voted early, either in person or by mail. Nevertheless, all three of Richmond’s polling places had a heavy in-person voter turnout Tuesday, especially at the Town Hall, where voters lined up to vote when the polls opened.
“It’s been very steady,” Town Administrator Karen Pinch said on Tuesday afternoon. “It was super busy first thing. Apparently, there was a line out the door at 7 o’clock this morning.”
The town was required by the Rhode Island Board of Elections to add the third Town Hall polling place to the two existing locations, Richmond Elementary School and Chariho Middle School.
The number of polling places is based on the most recent census.
“The Board of Elections required a third polling location, even though we were right on the cusp of needing one, in terms of the population,” Pinch said.
Pinch said some voters were confused about where to vote.
“Some people, who didn’t get the information on where their polling place was,” she said. “The clerk’s office sent it to everyone, so I would imagine some people discarded it with the rest of the paperwork they get in the mail in regard to voting…I think people were just generally confused because there was a third polling location, so I think a lot of people went to where they’re used to going to and for some people, it wasn’t the right place this year.”
The town has 38 poll workers for this election.
“It was just hard to get poll workers,” Pinch said. “A lot of people don’t want to work from 6 in the morning until 7 o’clock at night, so we really, essentially, got double the number of poll workers that we needed so that we could do half-day shifts.”
Compared to previous elections, local interest in the midterm has been high. There are 11 candidates - four incumbents and seven challengers - running for five Town Council seats, and three challengers and two incumbents are vying for the two open seats on the Chariho School Committee.
Election results will be posted on the Rhode Island Board of Elections website.