Polls open Sept. 5 to elect nominees

12 Democrats, 2 Republicans will appear on primary ballots

Primary voters will head to the polls Tuesday to determine their nominees for Congress.

Jamestown, as part of Rhode Island’s First Congressional District, has been without representation in the U.S. House since David Cicilline resigned July 1. The electorate will choose the final two candidates from among 11 Democrats and two Republicans.

Voting in Jamestown is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Lawn School, 55 Lawn Ave. Early voting also is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 31, Sept. 1 and Sept. 5 at Town Hall, 93 Narragansett Ave.

In Rhode Island, voters affiliated with a political party only may vote in that party’s primary. Unaffiliated voters, also known as independents, can vote in any party primary. These voters, however, become affiliated with the party after they vote in its primary.

Jamestown resident Don Carlson, who withdrew from the race, will appear as the 12th candidate on the Democratic ballot. There will be notices posted to remind voters about his withdrawal.

The Democrats running to represent the First District, in order of how they will appear on the ballot, are Walter Berbrick, Allen Waters, Carlson, Spencer Dickinson, Aaron Regunberg, Sabina Matos, Stephen Casey, Gabriel Amo, John Goncalves, Stephanie Beaute, Sandra Cano and Ana Quezado. The order was determined by a lottery conducted by the secretary of state. The Rhode Island Democratic Party did not endorse a candidate.

There was no lottery to determine the order on the GOP ballot because Jamestown resident Gerry Leonard was endorsed by the Republican Party of Rhode Island. An official endorsement by a state party automatically places that candidate at the top of the ballot. Terri Flynn is the only other Republican on the ballot.

As of Wednesday morning, 7,086 ballots already have been cast in Rhode Island, including 3,527 mail ballots and 3,559 early voters. In Jamestown, there have been 238 ballots cast, including 46 mail ballots.

The primaries will be followed by a special election on Nov. 7. Only the two winners of the primaries will appear on that ballot because none of the nine independents who declared their candidacy collected the necessary number of signatures on their nomination forms.

The deadline to register to vote in the November special election is Oct. 8. Applications for mail ballots must be submitted by Oct. 17. Early voting will be from Oct. 18 through Nov. 6.

According to the secretary of state, the First District comprises 150,461 registered Democrats, 147,995 independents and 39,777 Republicans. In Jamestown, there are 4,738 registered voters, including 2,024 Democrats and 612 Republicans.

This will be the first congressional special election in Rhode Island since 1967. That seat was vacated when John Fogarty died in office a month before he was to be sworn into his 14th term. It will be the first special election in the 1st District since 1935 when Francis Condon resigned to serve on the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

The First District seat has been blue for nearly three decades. No Republican has been elected to represent the district since 1992 when Ronald Machtley won re-election for a third term. He retired to run for governor and the seat has since been held by Democrats Patrick Kennedy (1995-2011) and Cicilline (2011-23).