NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Board of Elections released the results of mail ballot votes in the race for North Smithfield town administrator early Thursday evening, showing candidates Paul Zwolenski and Paul Jones on track to compete in the general election this November.
But according to the third candidate in the race, first-term Councilor Douglas Osier, some ballots are missing from the tally.
Zwolenski’s spot in the general election seems certain, with the latest results showing the longtime town councilor receiving 438 votes.
But the unofficial count shows Jones leading by just three votes at 330, while Osier has 327.
The tally, normally released on election night, was delayed two days as state officials contended with an influx of mail ballots, due to voters avoiding polling places and potential the exposure to COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, with more than 500 mail ballots still uncounted, Osier was in the lead.
The tables turned at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 with the latest figures.
The problem, said Osier, is that some 170 in-person votes dropped from the unofficial results – exactly the number cast at machine #2 at North Smithfield Elementary School, one of three town polling places in the primary contest.
In the latest figures, the count on Osier’s in-person votes drops by 57, Zwolenski’s by 82 and Jones’s by 31.
The candidate’s poll runner took a picture of the machine #2 results from the polling place door – and the figures match exactly.
Osier said he plans to contact the Board of Elections once they reopen tomorrow.
“I know those aren’t right, so I will at least challenge that, and get that figured out,” he said. “I’m hoping they go through and realize it themselves.”
Find the latest with an update on this ongoing news story here.