Want to vote in Barrington Tuesday? Don’t expect to do it on your lunch break. First you have to pick a U.S. senator, member of Congress, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, general treasurer, two General Assembly members and five local officials. Then turn over the double-sided ballot sheet, the first of two, for seven statewide questions and the beginning of 40 local questions. Phew. “We are concerned about the number of questions,” state Board of Elections Executive Director Robert Kando said. “We asked the Board of Canvassers to send out the questions with a page that they [voters] can mark, tear out and bring with them so they can quickly go through the questions.” “In the 2012 election,” Kando continued, “Providence had a large number of questions and did not send out any voter information with respect to their questions…. [Voters] ended up reading five sides of ballot sheets and it created a backup at the booths.”
In 2004, Burrillville and Tiverton also had a bevy of local questions. Town officials in each community handled the matter differently. Burrillville officials let their voters chose a U.S. president, and federal, state and local lawmakers, as well as decide 14 statewide ballot questions and 40 local questions all in one trip to the polls.
Tiverton officials, however, set a separate special election a few weeks after the general election for its 33 proposed charter changes and elementary school bond
They worried that some residents might turn around and leave if they saw long lines, and doing it all at the general election was, as one Tiverton Board of Canvassers member put it, “absolutely too much.”
And the law only allows 10 minutes in a voter booth.