Election 2018Police & Fire

UPDATED: PHS polling location moved due to HVAC motor

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The polling location at Portsmouth High School has been evacuated due to a possible burnt-out HVAC motor in the old gymnasium. A previously reported cause by the state Board of Elections was incorrect.

According to Portsmouth Fire Department Capt. Dan Smith, firefighters were called to the old gymnasium polling location at Portsmouth High School around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday. Board of Canvassing Registrar Jacqueline Schulz said some voters reported “feeling unwell.”

About 20 to 25 people were immediately evacuated to the new gymnasium directly across from the high school at 120 Education Lane. Polling machines and booths were also quickly moved over to the new polling location.

Capt. Smith said they believe the cause of the report was a burnt-out HVAC motor, but the incident remains under investigation. Several floor fans were placed along the gym floor Tuesday evening to air out the gym.

Despite the rain and evacuation, a long line of voters waited to cast their ballots in the new gymnasium as of 8 p.m.

Schulz said she received permission from the state Board of Elections to remain open for an additional hour. The Portsmouth High School polling location will now close at 9 p.m.

The evacuation and later closer will mean delayed results for the state.


Prudence Island voting machine

Earlier in the day, the only voting machine on Prudence Island stopped accepting ballots, according to CNN.

The Portsmouth Canvassing Authority called it “a minor technical glitch” and reported voting resumed.

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