Today’s the day: Rhode Island’s primary election. To many, it’s a write-off. The “real” election isn’t until November.
But that’s a notion that everyone should discard, since primaries are not only important in determining who goes on to the general elections in November, but also in deciding, in some cases, who wins the elected office.
Take the Ward 3 council primary, where incumbent Camille Vella-Wilkinson faces newcomer Paul Machado. Then there’s the District 29 State Senate race, in which incumbent Michael McCaffrey faces challenger Laura Pisaturo.
In both instances, there is no Republican or independent challenger to the winner of the Democratic primary. The primary is their general election this year.
But even in instances where the winner of the primary will go on to face a challenger in the general election, it’s equally important to vote to ensure your candidate of choice is on the ballot once again in November.
In 2010, 9,603 Warwick voters cast ballots in the primaries, a number that is expected to decrease with the lack of primary candidates for statewide offices like Secretary of State and Lieutenant Governor.
But with 30,072 unaffiliated registered voters, 20,698 Democrats, 6,670 Republicans and 80 Moderates in Warwick, there should be many more ballots cast than a meager 9,603.
So get out today and vote. Don’t forget, this year voting is a little different. Not only have some local polling places changed with redistricting, but also voters are encouraged to present some form of identification at the polls. Although constituents can still vote without an ID, they will be given a provisional ballot, which may not be filed in time. So if you have an ID, photo or otherwise, bring one to avoid any snafus.
The city has 33 polling locations that open at 7 a.m. and close earlier this year at 8 p.m.
For voters that are uncertain of their polling place, Donna McDonald, Warwick’s director of elections, advises them to give her a call at 738-2000 ext. 6222, or to visit www.sos.ri.gov/vic.
In addition to the aforementioned primaries, there will also be primaries for Ward 8 council, and the Democratic and Republican candidates for Congressional District 2.