While most of the polling stations were considerably calmer by 6:30 p.m., Cole was the exception, where there were maybe 60 voters in line, 50 of them in the A-L line, 10 in the M-Z. Apparently, that was the story all day at Cole. Lots more A-Ls in that precinct than M-Zs. Strange.
So the big question of the day was why was the high school so much slower than the other four polling stations. As Town Canvasser Elaine Vespia explained, the high school was the poll for voters who live in R.I. Senate Dist. 33, now only a small corner of the town. Dist. 33 is mostly in Coventry and the two men running for the Senate seat, incumbent Glen Shibley (R) and Lou Raptakis (D), are both Coventry residents.
It's not that the high school was slower, necessarily, just lighter in the number of possible voters.
The polls close soon. I'll be heading to the Police Community Room for returns and tweeting out results.
The lines have been shorter mid-afternoon at polling places around EG, but the flow has been constant, with more than 4,000 votes cast by 3 p.m. out of a total of just over 10,000 registered voters.
While there have been no major issues, according to Town Canvasser Elaine Vespia, some voters have expressed frustration after going to their old polling place only to learn they need to go to another site.
Districts were changed earlier this year, but for those voters (the majority) who did not vote in the primary election in September, this was the first time going to their newly assigned poll.
Vespia said postcards were sent out in August – before the primary – alerting voters to their polling site.
"I did not receive a card ... and neither did the voters near me in line. Several people waited needlessly in wrong lines alphabetical lines since we could not see the front and others only found out that they were at the wrong polling location after waiting for half an hour."
As for the two alphabetical lines, by midafternoon, several polling sites had tried to remedy the confusion with more prominent signs.
For some voters, the thrill of voting was enough. Lindsey Goulet, 18, was jazzed to have cast her first ballot ever at Hanaford this afternoon.
"It was cool. I voted just to vote!" she said.
At Cole, poll worker Sue Oclassen said, "This is the slowest it's been" with about 35 people in line to vote.
"The people have been great – they've had to wait in long lines," said Oclassen. "We're thrilled so many have come out to vote."
All the polls have been busy this morning – that's not a huge surprise since it's both a presidential election and EG went from having 8 polling sites to 5 this year.
At EGHS at 7 a.m., there were 12 people in line to vote. It's the smallest polling place, according to poll clerk Jeff Keithline. It's got four voting booths, compared with 11 at the other sites.
At Hanaford, the parking lot was filled and the line was down the hall at 7:15. About 40 people were in line at Cole Middle School at 7:30 a.m.
Nancy Verrier, longtime employee in the Town Clerk's office who retired last year, voted at Cole.
"It just seems so strange. I did it for so many years," she said, referring to working on the elections. "I said to the girls, I'm on this side now."
Outside, Town Council candidate Brad Bishop was holding a small sign with his name on it in one hand and a large coffee cup in the other. As one man with a similarly bare head walked by, Bishop called out, "Vote the haircut!"
At Frenchtown Elementary School, the line snaked from the cafeteria through the front hall into the gym, with 80 people or more in line. The line for those with last names beginning M through Z was far longer than that for those with a last name in the A through L category. That may have only been a quirk of the moment (or hour) because over at Swift Community Center, there was no line at all for the M-Z people, and about a dozen A-L voters waiting.
Today voters in East Greenwich will decide all five members of the Town Council and three of the seven-member School Committee. They will also weigh in on the state House Dist. 30 race and either the state Senate Dist. 35 or Senate Dist. 33 race. In addition, EG voters have a say on whether or not they'd like to see the EG Fire District merged with the Town. Oh, and they'll cast ballots on US Senate and House races and for President of the U.S.A.
It's a big day.
Polls in East Greenwich open today at 7 a.m. and don't close until 8 p.m. tonight. One of the special events of the day is the EG Rotary's Election Day Breakfast at St. Luke's (right across from Swift Community Center) from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. For $6 you get all you can eat.
If you need to know who's on the ballot or where to vote or what the ballot questions are, we've got all that information here.
We will be updating this story throughout the day, so check back often. We will be reporting final election results as soon as they are available, probably between 9 and 10 p.m.
If you want to follow the action on Twitter, we are @egpatch and we'll be using the hashtag #egrivotes. We'll also be on Facebook. And if you see something interesting, take a photo and upload it here. I'll be out and about today, but won't be able to cover everything by a long shot, so please help tell the story of Election 2012 in East Greenwich!