Candidate Monica Mason said she is dropping out of the School Committee race. Her name, however, remains on the ballot. Mason cited health reasons for her decision. That leaves three others still in the race: William Hangan, Kevin Murphy, and Tim Moniz, for three open seats. All three are Democrats; with Mason out, there are no Republicans running for local office. (Five Town Council candidates, all Democrats, are running unopposed.)
Meanwhile, as of 5 p.m. Thursday, the state Board of Elections said 2,722 people had voted so far in East Greenwich. That includes 1,219 ballots cast at Town Hall, which has been open for early in-person voting since Oct. 14, and 1,503 mail ballots. There are more mail ballots that have been collected at the official mail ballot drop box in front of the EG Police Department (and, presumably, more still that have been dropped in the mail); the 1,503 represents the mail ballots that have been scanned at the BOE so far.
The number of ballots equals about 11.5 percent of eligible EG voters, out of a possible 11,000 voters (though that 11,000 includes the names of people who may have moved out of town or died; it takes a few election cycles for the voter rolls to eliminate voters). Statewide, turnout is 11.1 percent so far.
Voting In Person Early
If you want to vote early, you can do that at Town Hall between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday in Council Chambers on the first floor. Voting there looks just like it will on Election Day, Nov. 3, with four polling booths set up. You need to wear a face mask. You check in with the poll workers, who will ask for your name and ID. If you are indeed a registered voter in East Greenwich and you did not request a mail ballot, you will be given a ballot and sent to one of the polling booths. Afterward, you deposit your ballot in a machine that counts each ballot and keeps it secure.
Returning Mail Ballots
If you requested and received a mail ballot, you have three ways to turn them in. The first way is to put them in the mail using the postage-paid envelope that comes with the mail ballot. You can also deposit your ballot in any of the mail ballot drop boxes in each community. In East Greenwich, our drop box is in front of the EG Police Department on First Avenue. It is open 24-7, monitored by surveillance cameras and ballots are being collected daily for delivery to the state BOE, where they will be counted. No counting happens in EG. If you want to check and see where your mail ballot is, you can find out HERE.
Mail Ballot Second Thoughts?
If you requested a mail ballot – and more than 3,300 EG voters did – but now you’d like to vote in person, here’s what will happen, according to Town Clerk Leigh Carney.
“We can’t stop [residents] from [voting in person] but we do highly encourage them to follow through with the mail ballot application process because, if they show up to vote in person, our sophisticated election system on those poll pads will already know that they have applied for a mail ballot. They will then have to go to the clerk and they can vote a provisional ballot. So we really highly encourage folks to follow through with the process they applied for,” she told the Town Council during a meeting last week.
Provisional ballots, however, can only be cast on Election Day.
What Happens to Provisional Ballots?
Provisional ballots are not placed in a voting machine, said Carney. “They are placed in an envelope in a secure bag. They are reviewed after the election to determine if they can be counted. If it is a provisional due to a mail ballot, the town clerk’s office will need to make sure the mail ballot was not returned to Board of Elections. If a provisional ballot is cast because the voter showed up without proper identification, the voter can bring in an ID to the Town Clerk’s office the next day. The third reason a provisional ballot is cast is because the voter’s name is not on the EG rolls. In that case, Carney said, “I research it to see if something was missed.”
Election Day, Nov. 3
East Greenwich will have five polling places open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 3:
Precinct 1 – EG High School (find the sample ballot HERE)
Precinct 2 – Hanaford Elementary (find the sample ballot HERE)
Precinct 3 – Swift Community Center (find the sample ballot HERE)
Precinct 4 – Cole Middle School (find the sample ballot HERE)
Precinct 5 – Frenchtown Elementary (find the sample ballot HERE)
You can find out your polling place HERE. If you have questions, contact Elaine Vespia in the Town Clerk’s office at (401) 886-8603, [email protected], or go to the Elections page on the town’s website HERE.