NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — Mayor Jon Mitchell said the issues that happened with Republican ballots at two polling locations in New Bedford’s North End during Tuesday’s primary were “unacceptable” and that the City Solicitor’s Office has begun a review of the incidents.

Mitchell, who was at a conference in Washington, D.C. during Tuesday’s election, made his first comments on the ballot issues during his weekly appearance on WBSM’s SouthCoast Now with Chris McCarthy on Thursday.

“I get that not everything is going to go perfectly, but frankly, I think there are too many mistakes,” Mitchell said. “Not having Republican ballots at one location and running out at another, that’s just unacceptable.”

“When someone shows up to the polls, there should be ballots there for them,” he said.

On Tuesday morning, Precinct 1D opened at 7 a.m. without any Republican ballots, while still having the Democrat and Libertarian ballots. The Board of Election Commissioners told WBSM that the GOP ballots arrived at around 7:40 a.m. and that only eight people were turned away, with seven of them returning later in the day to vote.

READ MORE: New Bedford Precinct Starts Primary Without Republican Ballots

WBSM then learned that Precinct 1F ran out of Republican ballots on Tuesday afternoon, with City Public Information Officer Jonathan Darling telling WBSM the precinct was without those ballots from about 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. According to the Board of Election Commissioners, only two people were turned away during that time and both later returned to vote.

READ MORE: Second New Bedford Polling Location Had Issue With Republican Ballots

“Even though all of them except one of the people that showed up to pull a Republican ballot did get to vote (later), that’s a huge inconvenience,” Mitchell said. “I want them to know I’m sorry that happened.”

“I appoint the election commission, so ultimately, I bear the responsibility,” he said.

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Mitchell said the City Solicitor’s Office is already reviewing what happened and will prepare a report that the City will release publicly once it is completed. However, he said with the workload and staffing issues in that office and the fact that there isn’t another election in the city until September, he said the changes “don’t need to be made tomorrow” but that they’ll be looking “under the hood.”

“We’ll get to the work of fixing the machine,” he said.

The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth told WBSM on Wednesday that it too has requested the results of the City’s investigation into what happened. The MassGOP also filed a complaint with Secretary William Galvin’s office.

“Again, people can make mistakes, but the problem is that elections these days are very sensitive topics. People have doubts about the integrity of the process,” Mitchell said. “While some of that, a lot of that is really just hyped up, I don’t want to feed that. We can’t control what happens outside the four corners of New Bedford, but I don’t want New Bedford people to think that there’s some issue here with elections.”

“These are very avoidable mistakes that erect a barrier for people to participate in the electoral process,” he said. “We shouldn’t make it any harder for people on election day with something that’s as avoidable as that.”

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