As Tiverton enters its first financial town referendum (FTR), staff adhere to the checks and balances of the ballot collection, protection and counting process. On Monday, Town Clerk Nancy Mello confirmed she received some calls inquiring about the security of the process.
The ballots are dropped off to moderators at the three polling locations in Tiverton, which are delivered by the Board of Elections. They are open today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and each site received 1,000 ballots, polling equipment and certification forms.
Mello said they also have 1,500 ballots at Town Hall kept in a filing cabinet in the vault, including the Eagle Voting Machine. Clerk Kathy Wood and Mello are the only two with the key to the filing cabinet.
"Ballots get removed from the Eagle upside down, right side up always," Mello said, noting that no one will have any knowledge until Tuesday night when the final tally from the Eagle is done, same as with the other locations. "All mail ballots are locked in the vault, same as any other election. They will be put in the Eagle by 8 p.m. tomorrow. Any tampering with these ballots would be a federal offense."
Mello said they have all kinds of certification certificates necessary to distributed ballots, voted ballots, voided ballots and returned ballots. Voided ballots are treated same as on election day for early voting, she said. If a polling site runs out of ballots, Mello said they have to sign certifications to transfer them.
Checks and balances are also in place for those who already voted in the FTR, Mello noted, to prevent voting twice.
There were 283 votes cast over the and there are currently 24 mail-in ballots received from the 36 requested, Mello said. There are approximately 12,375 registered voters listed.
She said a lot of people presented their voter identification at the polls, but it is not required for annual municipal budget votes under Rhode Island General Law, unlike primaries and elections.