Some communities offering weekend hours for early in-person voters

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s the final weekend before Election Day and some communities are making voting even more convenient for residents, by offering weekend hours at the polls.

Central Falls, Glocester, Providence, Westerly, and East Providence are among the communities adding these extra hours.

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, three days before the election, there was a line out the door at East Providence City Hall, followed by a steady flow of voters throughout the morning.

Mayor Bob DaSilva, one of the many who already voted, but checked in Saturday, was impressed with turnout.

“It just makes it accessible to everybody. People who work, people who have children and maybe can’t get in here on Election Day. Now we’ve had this early voting which is incredible, adding the weekends to it, just makes it that much better.”

DaSilva said they specifically added these weekend hours due to recent changes to polling places because of flooding at the high school. While some waited in line to cast their ballot in person, others dropped off their ballots in the official ballot box outside.

“I’m trying to avoid being in public places as much as possible to keep not just myself safe but everybody else place, and this was a viable option, and I didn’t want to wait until the last minute because I wanted to make sure my ballot was counted,” said East Providence voter Sandra Laughlin

Laughlin said in addition to the convenience, this was a way she could know for sure her vote counted.

“I did the same thing in the primary. I was able to track it online. I saw that it was received, I saw that it was counted, and it just reassured me.”

The State Board of Elections hasn’t had any reports of ballot tampering, adding that each drop off box has security cameras on it.

As of Thursday night, there were 14,719 ballots cast in East Providence alone.

“We want every registered voter to cast their ballot. We are actually predicting a 72% turnout of our registered voters,” said R.I. Board of Elections Executive Director Bob Rapoza.

While we may know how many people have already voted, we won’t know how they voted until polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day.

The goal at the Board of Elections is to have unofficial results from the state’s 421 polling locations released by 11 p.m. that day.

Early voting ends in the Ocean State on Monday, November 2, at 4 p.m.

In Massachusetts, early voting ended on Friday. Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said they had a record 2 million people already cast their ballots either in the mail or through early voting in person.

YOUR LOCAL ELECTION HQ: Latest Headlines | Voter Guide | Commonly Asked Questions on Voting | 12 on 12: Atypical Election | More Politics | Washington D.C. Bureau | Election Results »

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