RI primary elections: What you need to know

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Today, Rhode Islanders are casting their ballots in the state’s primary elections, though the process may be different for some due to the pandemic.

Voting

Voters were encouraged to use mail-in ballots for this year’s elections to limit person-to-person interactions and crowds at polling places.

More than 43,000 mail ballots were requested. R.I. Board of Elections executive director Robert Rapoza said only 30% of those are expected to be counted by Tuesday night, meaning the full results may not be available until Thursday.

To count, mail ballots must be received by the R.I. Board of Elections by the time polls close at 8 p.m. Ballots that didn’t get mailed in time can be placed in the drop boxes located at every polling place, outside every city and town hall in the state, or at the Board of Elections headquarters in Cranston.

The board suspended the witness and notary requirements for mail ballots for safety reasons.

For those who decide to vote in person, polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, though locations will be limited and COVID-19 safety measures like mask-wearing and social distancing must be followed.

Registered voters must present a valid ID to check in.

More Voter Information: RI Secretary of State’s Office | RI Board of Elections

Key Races

With Cranston Mayor Allan Fung nearing the end of his final term, residents on Tuesday will be picking the Democratic and Republican nominees for the general election in November.

On the GOP side, Council President Michael Farina and Councilman Kenneth Hopkins will be facing off, while Councilman Steve Stycos, former City Councilwoman Maria Bucci and Adam Carbone will be vying for the Democratic nomination.

Meet the Candidates: Democratic Primary | Republican Primary

The mayor’s office in Central Falls will also be opening up due to Mayor James Diossa being term-limited. City Council President Maria Rivera is seen as the front-runner as she faces off with Tia Ristaino-Siegel and Joseph Moran in a nonpartisan race.

Elsewhere, longtime Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin is being challenged in the primary by Providence Board of Licenses Chairman Dylan Conley.

At the state level, there are 15 primaries in the Rhode Island Senate and 19 in the Rhode Island House. Notably, in District 4, which straddles Providence and North Providence, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio is being challenged by Lenny Cioe, a registered nurse.

Three Rhode Island communities have no election on Tuesday because they have no contested primaries, and eight communities have some individual precincts with no primaries.

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