BARNSTABLE, MASS. (WHDH) – Barnstable polls are back open for paper ballots after ballots locked in a safe delayed primary voting Tuesday morning, causing town officials to print emergency paper ballots.
About 4,000 mail-in ballots are inside the safe, which were supposed to be sent to 13 precincts in 12 different locations for voters to fill out Tuesday morning. The ballots cannot be processed unless the safe is open.
Emergency paper ballots were printed for voters earlier Tuesday morning after a ballot issue held up primary voting.
At 4:15 a.m. on Tuesday the Town Clerk’s office in Barnstable said they were unable to open the vault that houses about 4,000 mail-in election ballots ahead of primary elections, which were set to begin at 7 a.m. The Town Clerk’s office said they are working diligently to get the safe open, calling in police, fire, DPW and locksmiths since they first discovered the problem early Tuesday morning.
Secretary of State Bill Galvin, who is also running for re-election, spoke with 7NEWS about the ballot issue in Barnstable.
“Every ballot is important, every race is important, every state-wide race is important,” said Galvin. “I’m sending people to Barnstable to be there, we will seek to extend the polling hours. We’ll be asking a judge to do that and make sure every voter gets the opportunity to vote today.”
The town clerk’s office said voting hours will be extended Tuesday night to make up for the morning’s delay, but it will ultimately be up to a judge to approve that and determine how much later the polls can stay open.
The emergency paper ballots that were rush printed by 11 a.m. were delivered to the 13 precincts so roughly 30,000 voters can not cast a ballot, but the ballots will need to be hand-counted at the end of the night.
This is a developing story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest updates.
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