NEW: Central Falls Mayoral Candidate Opposes Reducing Polling Place
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Central Falls City Councilman and mayoral candidate James A. Diossa is asking the state Board of Elections to oppose the recommendation by the city’s Board of Canvassers to reduce the number of polling places for the December 11 mayoral election. The November 6 primary had 8 polling places; the Board of Elections is considering a proposal from the city Board of Canvassers to reduce this number to two for the general election.
“Evidence from this past election shows that reducing the number of polling places drives down turnout, drives up lines and hurts our democratic process,” Diossa wrote in a letter dated November 11 to Robert Kando, executive director of the Rhode Island Board of Elections, and John F. McJennett, III, receiver for Central Falls. “On November 6th, in cities like Providence, there were frequent reports of voter confusion and long lines as a result of the merging of polling places... In Central Falls, however, where voting locations were accessible and in our neighborhoods, voter turnout actually increased from the 2008 presidential election.
“The city should maintain the same polling locations so voters will not have to learn, yet again, that they are voting in a new location,” the letter states. “The city should also maintain the same number of polling locations to avoid long lines and voter disenfranchisement.”
Diossa requested that the board keep the eight polling places running, or add five additional locations, such as Calcutt Middle School, Central Falls High School, Central Falls City Hall, Forand Manor and Wilfred Manor as potential stations.
“With our city emerging from bankruptcy, ensuring the integrity of the democratic process is more important than ever,” he concludes in his letter.