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Rhode Island primary tests voting by mail, not candidates

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island is holding its presidential primary Tuesday in what has become more of a logistical test of voting by mail during a pandemic than a political challenge for any particular candidate.

The COVID-19 crisis prompted the state to mail out ballots to registered voters who requested them as a safer alternative to packing precincts.

Because so many voters asked for mail ballots, state electoral officials — acknowledging delays in getting the paperwork out in time — said mail ballots could be dropped off Tuesday at secure boxes outside city and town halls across Rhode Island.

In-person voting was still being offered at a handful of locations for voters who missed the deadline to request a mail ballot. All ballots will be counted after polls close at 8 p.m. EDT, officials said.

Tuesday’s outcome was a foregone conclusion. Former Vice President Joe Biden is the only Democratic contender with an active campaign, even though ballots for his party’s primary still listed Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard.

Likewise, President Donald Trump faced no credible GOP opposition from perennial candidate Roque de la Fuente, a businessman, or former Republican Gov. William Weld of Massachusetts, who suspended his campaign.

Primary voting also was underway Tuesday in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and the District of Columbia.

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