NORTH SMITHFIELD – Between mail-in and early in-person ballots, some 3,718 North Smithfield residents had already voted by Thursday, Oct. 29, five days before the general election.
And by Monday, the number had grown to 4,491.
According to the latest data released by the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office, 1,992 mail ballots have been turned in by town voters. State officials began counting those votes this week, scanning a record number of early submissions into voting machines. By comparison, during the last presidential election in 2016, only 363 voters submitted mail ballots.
But the results of those scans won’t be known until after polls close Tuesday night. Board of Elections officials have said that mail ballots won’t be officially tallied until the close of Election Day.
Many in North Smithfield have also turned out for early in-person voting this year – an option previous only offered as an “emergency,” method – expanded in 2020 due to COVID-19. Voters lined up outside the new Town Hall on Greene Street this week to avoid lines many feared could be even longer on Tuesday.
The process has gone relatively smoothly according to Town Clerk Lillian Silva Scott.
“We really haven’t had any issues,” Scott told NRI NOW Friday morning.
State records show that 1,930 people had cast early in-person ballots at Town Hall as of Thursday night. Thursday, Oct. 29 was the biggest day for North Smithfield’s early voters prior to Nov. 2, with 339 showing up at the early polling location at the back of the recently-renovated former Kendall Dean School. More than 200 votes were cast every day last week in North Smithfield, according to the data, and on Monday, lines grew long as 403 voters showed up.
It’s an impressive early turnout for a year with many choices for town voters. In addition to presidential and statewide races, North Smithfield will choose a new leader for the town’s highest office, and have a choice of ten candidates running for five seats on the Town Council, plus challenges in Districts 17 and 23 in the state Senate.
In 2016, a total of 6,251 town residents cast votes, so if turnout is similar in 2020, well over half of North Smithfield voters had already cast their ballots by Monday night.
General Election polls opened at five locations on Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters who still hope to weigh in can check their polling location or view their ballot at https://vote.sos.ri.gov/Home/GeneralVoterInformation
Editor’s note: The above article has been edited from its original version to include the latest figures provided by the Board of Elections.