BARNSTABLE, MASS. (WHDH) - A Suffolk Superior Court judge has granted the Town of Barnstable an order to extend its voting hours until midnight after a stuck vault delayed voting. The vault was unlocked shortly before 8 p.m.
A few stragglers showed up to vote in the late hours Tuesday. Once the safe way opened, volunteers carried out the filled-out mail-in votes to be processed.
As 7NEWS previously reported, Barnstable polls are back open for paper ballots after ballots locked in a safe in Town Hall delayed primary voting Tuesday morning, causing town officials to print emergency paper ballots.
“I don’t know what happened to the door overnight, but it broke,” said Barnstable Town Clerk Ann Quirk.
About 4,000 mail-in ballots were inside the safe, which could not be processed until the safe was open, in addition to blank ballots that needed to be sent to 13 precincts in 12 different locations for voters to fill out Tuesday morning.
Emergency paper ballots were printed for voters earlier Tuesday morning, and voters received a reverse 911 call about the fluke.
Voter Arlene Ryan was already at the polls when she heard the news.
“This is outrageous!” she said.
Ryan waited until the location received emergency paper ballots, filled hers out, and laid it face-down on a suitcase. She wondered who would count the ballot.
Secretary of State Bill Galvin, who is also running for re-election, spoke with 7NEWS about the ballot issue in Barnstable.
“My primary goal today is making certain that every voter in Barnstable who wants to vote is able to do so. Extending polling hours was necessary to make sure voters have enough time to be notified and return to their polling places if they weren’t able to vote this morning,” Galvin said.
The emergency paper ballots that were rush printed by 11 a.m. were delivered to the 13 precincts so roughly 30,000 voters can cast a ballot, but the ballots will need to be hand-counted at the end of the night.
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