NEWPORT – Long lines greeted voters as Newport residents went to the polls on Tuesday.
Across the city, turnout was heavy early, and showed no signs of slowing down heading into the noon hour. Some voters reported waiting over an hour in places to cast their ballots.
Traffic and parking was the issue at the library on Spring Street where School Committee member Bobby Leary had shifted gears from campaigning to traffic management. And at Donovan Manor, a line winded down the hall and out the door into the driveway. One voter emerged after having spent close to an hour to cast his ballot. Others, later in the day, waited over 2 hours before finally voting.
According to Canvassing Clerk Rick O'Neill, poll workers have made efforts throughout the day to lessen the wait time by providing additional checkpoints, and were expected to be prepared for the evening rush.
At the Park Holm Senior Center, a line stretched out the door and more than 50 yards down the sidewalk, forcing some to wait in temperatures just above freezing shortly after polls opened. "It was worth it," one voter said. "This is important."
Among his reasons for turning out: the vote for president, and Newport Grand's proposal to install table games at its current facility.
This is the first general election since the city redrew its ward and district lines, and shrunk the number of polling places.
This post will be updated.
Updates at: 1:45 and 4:13 p.m.