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Five Things You Need To Know: The Voting Edition

Today is Oct. 11, 2011, and Woonsocket will be holding a municipal primary election, so get out and vote!

Five Things You Need To Know: The Voting Edition Five Things You Need To Know: The Voting Edition

Polling Places- Beginning at 7 a.m. today, there will be 16 polling locations open for the Woonsocket municipal primary election, and voters will have the opportunity to select seven candidates for the City Council. All polling places will stay open until 8 p.m.

* Crepeau Court, 100 Front St.

* John F. Kennedy Manor, 547 Clinton St.

* Park View, 218 Pond St.

* , 188 Harris Ave.

* Fairmount Heights, 525 Second Ave.

* No. 2 Fire Station, 5 Cumberland Hill Road

* (Entrance on 3rd Avenue), 415 Olo St.

* , 169 Providence St.

* (School Hall), 1371 Park Ave.

* , 657 Logee St.

* (Basement Hall), 34 Fairfield Ave.

* , 777 Cass Ave.

*, 806 Mendon Road

* (Cafeteria), 990 Mendon Road

* Morin Heights Hall, 66 Morin Heights Blvd.

* , 420 Robinson St.

For questions, contact the Board of Canvassers at (401) 767-9222.

Candidates- So you know where to vote, but who's running? There are 15 candidates for the Woonsocket City Council and tomorrow's election will narrow the field down to 14. The following names will be listed on the ballot (follow the links for stories related to select candidates): ; ; (incumbent); ; (departing School Committee Chair); (incumbent); (incumbent); ; ; ; ; ; Michael Moniz; and (incumbent, Council president.)

Bullet voting- If you've heard the term "bullet voting," but you're not sure what it is or why you would do it, here's a quick tutorial: 

Chris Barnett, Communications Director for the Office of Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, explained bullet voting as "when a voter votes for just one candidate, despite having the option to vote for more than one due to a voting system such as approval voting or plurality-at-large voting. A voter helps his or her preferred candidate by not supplying votes to potential rivals. This strategy is encouraged and seen as sometimes beneficial in the systems of limited voting and cumulative voting."

In short, you get seven votes, but you are not required to use them all. Picking only your favorite candidate(s) gives the individual(s) more of advantage against his or her opponents. The rule is up to seven, and many voters will pick between one and six. In fact, in the 2009 municipal elections, there were 13,103 "under votes" (or ballots on which voters opted to pick less than a total of seven candidates,) a fact explained, at least in part, by bullet voting.

What happens after I vote? The 14 candidates that receive the most votes move on to the city's regular municipal elections to be held Nov. 8 and election season really starts to heat up. The first candidate forum, a chance for both City Council and School Committee hopefuls to explain their platforms, will be held at on Oct. 18 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Questions for the candidates can be submitted via mywoonsocket.com.

General Election- On Nov. 8, residents will have the opportunity to vote in a new City Council and School Committee. Mail ballots can be submitted until Oct. 18 and can be obtained at the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ri.gov/elections. After the deadline for requesting a mail ballot passes, voters who unexpectedly find that they will be unable to vote at their polling place can go to City Hall during normal business hours through Nov. 7 and request an Emergency Ballot.

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