Island’s lone voting machine fails, prompts waterborne replacement

When the lone voting machine on an island just off the coast of Rhode Island failed, state officials delivered a replacement — by ferry.

The ballot-scanning machine at Prudence Island’s polling site stopped accepting ballots Tuesday morning, according to Miguel Nunez, the state’s deputy director of elections.

Voting continued without disruption using a backup procedure, he told CNN. Voters mark paper ballots, which are then counted by a scanner.

A new machine was delivered about an hour later, after the problem was reported.

The island, which sits in Narragansett Bay, has 176 registered voters, Nunez said, and 218 residents, according to the 2010 census.

The Prudence Island voting site is one of two in the state that are accessible only by ferry. Block Island is another isolated site, but it has two voting machines.

Nunez said he does not recall a similar incident in his 20 years with the state Elections Board.