(WPRI) — Rhode Islanders who head to the polls Tuesday for the state’s primary elections will notice a few changes.
The secretary of state’s office said there are 63 primary races, ranging from the state’s two Congressional seats to local offices, such as school committee and town council.
The election will mark the maiden voyage for the state’s new voting machines. Instead of connecting arrows, voters will fill in an oval on their paper ballots.
In addition, some polling places will have new electronic poll books to check in voters.
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said the changes will allow for faster service at the polling location and faster results reporting on election night.
“Because voting equipment, really if you think about it,is democracy’s infrastructure,” said Gorbea. “You know, voters, election administrators, candidates alike, depend on modern reliable voting equipment to deliver fair, fast and accurate elections.”
Eyewitness News Political Analyst Joe Fleming said turnout will be small statewide.
“Somewhere between 60 and 80 thousand statewide tomorrow -that’ss out of 700 thousand voters in Rhode Island,” he said.
According to Fleming, the small turnout is because many races aren’t very tight. One race to watch out for, though, is between North Providence incumbent Mayor Charles Lombardi and challenger Kristen Catanzaro.
Last week, the two debated on Newsmakers.“I expect to see a very good turnout in North Providence tomorrow,” Fleming said. “North Providence has a history of voting very heavily in the Democratic primary and since we have a heated mayoral primary, I do expect a good turnout.” Along with the new machines, one in 10 polling places will also be a part of a pilot program to test new electronic tablets for checking voters in. City halls will also have new machines to print ballots on demand.
CAMPAIGN 2016 Voters’ Guide:Find your polling location »
The state will have 411 polling places open throughout Rhode Island for the primary. Voters unable to find their polling location online can call their local board of canvassers.
Below is a video from Rhode Island Secretary of State’s Office on how to vote: