Pointing to some well-publicized snafus during last week’s election, Central Falls mayoral candidate James Diossa is encouraging the state Board of Elections to go with the current eight polling places in the December 11 mayoral election, rather than cutting the number to two.
Diossa, in a news release, says the CF Board of Canvassers has proposed cutting the number of polling places:
“Evidence from this past election shows that reducing the number of polling places drives down turnout, drives up lines and hurts our democratic process,” Diossa wrote in a letter dated November 11 to Robert Kando, executive director of the Rhode Island Board of Elections, and John F. McJennett, III, receiver for Central Falls. “On November 6th, in cities like Providence, there were frequent reports of voter confusion and long lines as a result of the merging of polling places… In Central Falls, however, where voting locations were accessible and in our neighborhoods, voter turnout actually increased from the 2008 presidential election.
“The city should maintain the same polling locations so voters will not have to learn, yet again, that they are voting in a new location,” the letter states. “The city should also maintain the same number of polling locations to avoid long lines and voter disenfranchisement.”
Robert Kando, executive director of the Board of Elections, says all eight polliing places will be used for the December 11 election, in compliance with state law. “When you have an election, the polling places should be open,” he says. “This is a statutory issue.”