Registration Deadline: You must register at least 30 days before a primary or election in which you wish to vote. In Presidential elections, if you miss the deadline, you can still register and vote only for President/Vice-President at your Board of Canvassers on the day of the election
Party Affiliation: You may choose to register as unaffiliated which means you will not be considered a member of any political party — unless and until you vote in a political party primary. If you do vote in a party primary you will be considered a member of that party and will not be able to vote in another party's primary until you have been disaffiliated for 90 days. You may complete a "Change of Party Designation" form at the polling place after you have voted in a primary, or you can submit a new Voter Registration form indicating your party change. In either case, under state law changing party takes 90 days to take affect.
VOTER REGISTRATION QUALIFICATIONS
Age: Must be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day
Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen
Residency: Must be a resident of a Rhode Island city or town where you wish to vote. You cannot vote for local candidates or issues until you have been registered at that address for 30 days
Mental Competency: Must not be legally declared mentally incapable by a court
Felony Convictions: Voting rights restored automatically after release from prison
ID Requirements: if you are a first-time applicant for voter registration in Rhode Island and you submit your voter registration form by mail or someone else delivers it for you, you must provide either your valid driver's license number or valid RI ID number issued by the RI Division of Motor Vehicles. If you do not have a valid RI driver's license or RI ID number, you must provide the last 4 digits of your social security number. If you do not provide this information or your driver's license or social security number cannot be verified, you will be required to present one of the forms of identification listed below at the time of registration, prior to voting or at the time of voting. Non-photo identification must have the voter's name and address on it.
Forms of Identification to Register to Vote First-Time by Mail:
-RI driver's license or state-issued identification card;
-RI voter identification card;
-Identification issued by a United States educational institution;
-U.S. Military identification card;
-Identification issued by the U.S. or State of Rhode Island;
-Government-issued medical card;
-Employee identification card;
-Identification card provided by a commercial establishment;
-Credit or debit card;
-Student identification card issued by a recognized United States educational institution;
-Health club identification card;
-Insurance plan identification card;
-Public housing identification card;
Or a copy of any of the following documents, provided that the document includes the name and current address of the individual presenting it, and is dated since the date of the last general election, unless the document is intended to be of a permanent nature such as a pardon or discharge:
-Document issued by a government agency;
-Lease or rental statement;
-Student identification card of tuition statement or bill issued by a recognized United States education institution;
-Insurance plan card.
OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
Online: Rhode Island Voter Registration Application; Rhode Island law does not permit registering to vote online.
In person: You can register to vote in person at many different places, including the Board of Elections office or your local Board of Canvassers.
Many agencies which serve the public, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Human Services, Department of Mental Health etc. also offer registration services to their clients as mandated by the National Voter Registration Act.
By mail/ in writing: You may mail a completed Rhode Island Voter Registration form or a National Voter Registration form to your local board of canvassers. Federal and state forms are equally acceptable in Rhode Island.
VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
Online: Rhode Island voter registration verification
ABSENTEE BALLOT QUALIFICATIONS
Who can vote absentee:If you are a registered voter, you may vote by mail if:
- You will be absent from the state on election day during the entire time the polls are open
- You will be absent from the city or town of your voting residence during the entire time the polls are open because you are a student or spouse of a student at an institution of higher learning within the state
- It would be an undue hardship for you to vote at the polls because you are incapacitated due to illness or mental or physical disability, blindness or serious impairment of mobility
- You are forbidden by the tenets of your religious faith from voting on election day
- You are confined to a hospital, rest home, convalescent home, nursing home or similar institution, public or private
- You are being detained while awaiting trial or imprisoned for any cause other than final conviction of a felony
- You will be temporarily absent from the state because of employment or service connected with military operations or are a spouse or dependent of such a person
- You are employed by the State Board of Elections or the local Board of Canvassers or a poll worker assigned to work on Election Day outside of your voting district
OBTAINING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
In person: Obtain an application from your local board of canvassers. Unless you are on military service, you will need to have your application notarized.
Military and oversees voting: Rhode Island Military and Overseas Voter Information
Emergency Voting: If emergency circumstances arise after the regular mail ballot application deadline, you may apply for an emergency mail ballot at your local board of canvassers. You can apply up until 4 p.m. on the day before an election. If you need an emergency ballot due to a medical emergency, you may need to provide a physician or practitioner's certificate. Your emergency mail ballot must be received by the state Board of Elections no later than 9 p.m. the day of the election.
SUBMITTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
Location and time: Your application must be received by the local board of canvassers at least 21 days before an election.
Deciding how to vote: http://www.votesmart.org/
Time off to vote: Time off to vote is subject to the employer. Rhode Island state law does not require employers to grant time off to vote for employees.
Polling Place: https://sos.ri.gov/vic/
ID Requirements: Identification is not required at the polls in Rhode Island, in most cases.
However, under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, you may be required to show identification depending on whether you registered to vote in-person or by mail. If you registered to vote for the first time in Rhode Island, and you registered by mail or via a third party, you will, have to show identification at the polls only if the RI driver's license, RI identification number, or last 4 digits of your Social Security number do not match your record within those agencies. Also, if you did not write one of these numbers on your voter registration form, and did not include a copy of a form of identification when registering, then you will need to provide identification at the polls.
How to Vote:
- Optical scan
Problems with voting: You may file a complaint with the state board of elections of Rhode Island
Verifying provisional ballot status: Rhode Island Provisional Ballot Inquiry
Verifying absentee ballot status: Rhode Island Mail Ballot Status