PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – Members of the Pawtucket Board of Canvassers met Tuesday afternoon to discuss problems at the polls on Election Day that forced some voters to leave without casting their ballots.

“A lot of people called and said how frustrated they were and how unhappy they were with the lines,” said City Registrar Kevin McGill in an interview with Eyewitness News.

McGill said they believe the bulk of the issues stemmed from the new ballot counting machines, which use new technology to scan and encrypt the ballots, and the fact that there was only one in each polling place. He said many people were able to walk in and vote immediately, but faced lengthy wait times to put their ballots into the machine.

Some people stuck it out, while others left without casting their votes.

The delays and backups prompted Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien to pen a letter to state officials complaining about the slower technology and its negative impacts on local voters.

The letter reads in part, “If people don’t feel that the system is set up to help them get through the process as easily as possible, the frustration level increases quickly and it becomes harder to convince people to come out and vote in future elections.” Grebien continued, “It’s especially hard for people who felt disenfranchised because they didn’t get to vote.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board discussed a written response from Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who called the delays “unacceptable.”

In the letter provided to Eyewitness News by the Board of Canvassers, Gorbea said she would ask the Board of Elections to either determine a way to improve machines’ efficiency or increase the number of machines at certain polling places.

“Right now state law says you can only have one machine [per polling place],” said McGill. “We need to go to the state legislature and have that law changed.”

Gorbea and Pawtucket officials also agree there were other factors that led to long lines at Pawtucket’s polls, namely a high voter turnout, multi-page ballots and poorly laid-out polling places. McGill said city officials will work with the state to ensure similar problems don’t arise in the next election.

“We look forward to working with the Secretary of State, and the Board of Elections, and the state legislature, and the governor, anybody who wants to work with us on this,” said McGill. “We’d be more than happy to put in our two cents and make it a better experience in two years.”