2008-10-30 / Front Page

Many races at stake in Tuesday's election

By Adrienne Downing

Jamestown voters will be asked to choose from among 16 candidates in five races during Tuesday's election, which is shaping up to be one for the history books.

Along with the Barack Obama/ Joe Biden and John McCain/Sarah Palin tickets, hopefuls from the Libertarian, Socialism, Independent, Constitution and Green parties are on the presidential ballot.

Incumbent United States Senator Jack Reed is being challenged by Republican Bob Tingle of Wakefield. Republican Jonathan Scott and Independent Kenneth Capalbo are both seeking the U.S. House of Representative seat held by incumbent Democrat Patrick Kennedy.

In the race for Rhode Island General Assembly, Republican Donna Perry is seeking the District 13 senate seat held by Democrat M. Teresa Paiva Weed and incumbent Bruce Long is being challenged by Democrat Deb Ruggiero for the District 74 representative seat.

Voters will also approve or reject two state questions on the reverse side of the ballot. Approval of question one will authorize the state to issue general obligation bonds, refunding bonds and temporary notes not to exceed $80 million to match federal funds and provide direct funding for improvements to the state's highways, roads and bridges. Included in the bond is $3.5 million for commuter rail funding and $3.6 million for purchase and rehabilitation of buses for the Rhode Island Transit Authority's fleet.

Question two is about $2.5 million in funding for the Department of Environmental Management to purchase or protect recreation lands, agriculture and forested lands, state parks and greenways and other open space.

The importance of the election is mirrored in the increase in the number of registered Jamestown voters since the 2004 presidential election. There are 4675 Jamestown voters registered for Tuesday's election compared to 4594 registered for the 2004 election.

Over 78 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the '04 election, a number which Board of Canvassers clerk Karen Montoya said she expects to reach again this year. "I do expect a big turnout in Jamestown," Montoya said. "The statewide goal is 70 percent turnout, but we generally do that in a regular general election anyway. I believe we will be above the state average."

Jamestown will once again have three regular polling places and one special polling station. District 1 voters will cast their ballots at the Recreation Center, District 2 at Lawn Avenue School and District 3 at Melrose Avenue School. "If someone has moved and they are not sure of where to vote, they should go to their usual polling place and the clerk will direct them where to go," Montoya said. Residents who have moved and have not filled out a change of address, or affirmation, card can ask for one at the polling station.

"People who have not registered to vote are still eligible to register and vote in the presidential election only by going to Town Hall the day of the election. They must fill out their voter registration and present proof of address at Town Hall on Nov. 4, but they will be given a special ballot and be allowed to vote in the presidential race only," Montoya said.

Montoya has already processed 276 mail and emergency ballots, and she said she expects more will come in before Election Day. "Some people are just finding out that they may not be here on Election Day. There are certain criteria, but anyone who is eligible to vote by emergency ballot must do so before close of business on Monday, Nov. 3," Montoya said.

All four polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day. Montoya said the polls usually stay steady throughout the day, but for those wishing to avoid a line, the least busy time is in the mid-afternoon hours. "We have 30 poll workers, so the process should be very efficient and no one should have to wait very long," Montoya said.

Anyone with any questions, including about how to read or mark the ballot, should ask to see the moderator at the polling station.

For more information prior to Nov. 4, call 423-7200 and ask for the canvassing clerk.

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