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League of Women Voters

Rhode Island Voting Guide

Registration Deadlines
In Person:
Monday, May 29, 2018
By Mail:
Received by Monday, May 29, 2018
Election Dates:
Thursday, June 28, 2018 (Scituate Special Election)
Secretary of State
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI 02904
Phone:
401-222-2340
Fax:
401-222-1444

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to vote in Rhode Island you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • A resident of a Rhode Island city or town where you wish to vote
  • At least 16 years old. However, you must be 18 years old on or before the election to vote in the election
  • Not currently deemed non-compos mentis by a court of law.
  • Not currently incarcerated in a correctional facility under felony conviction

 

ID Needed for Voter Registration

If you are a first time voter in Rhode Island, you must provide your valid Rhode Island driver's license number or valid Rhode Island ID number issued by the Rhode Island division of motor vehicles. If you do not have a valid Rhode Island driver's license or Rhode Island ID number, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have a driver's license, Rhode Island ID or Social Security number; if these numbers cannot be verified; or if you fail to complete this item on the registration form, 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:

A copy of a current and valid photo ID provided by a third party in the ordinary course of business that includes your name and photo. Examples:

  • Driver's license or ID card of any state
  • US passport
  • Employee ID card
  • ID card provided by a commercial establishment
  • Credit or debit card
  • Military ID card
  • Student ID card
  • Health club ID card
  • Insurance plan ID card
  • Public housing ID card

Or a copy of any of the following documents, provided that they include the name and current address of the registering voter and it is dated since the date of the last General Election, unless the document is inteded to be permanent such as a pardon or discharge:

  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Government paycheck
  • Document issued by a government agency
  • Sample ballot or other official elections document issued by a governmental agency, dated for the election in which the individual is providing it as proof of residency or identity
  • Voter notification card issued by a governmental agency
  • Public housing ID card issued by a governmental agency
  • Lease or rental statement or agreement issued by a governmental agency
  • Student ID card issued by a governmental agency
  • Tuition statement or bill issued by a governmental agency
  • Insurance plan card or drug discount card issued by a government agency
  • Discharge certificates, pardons, or other official documents issued to the individual by a governmental agency in connection with the resolution of a criminal case, indictment, sentence; or other matter
  • Public transportation authority senior citizen and disabled discount cards issued by a governmental agency
  • ID documents issued by a governmental disability agency
  • ID documents issued by government homeless shelters and other government temporary or transitional facilities
  • Drug prescription issued by a government doctor or other governmental health care provider
  • Property tax statement issued by a governmental agency
  • Vehicle registration issued by a governmental agency
  • Vehicle certificate of ownership issued by a governmental agency

You can bring one of the IDs listed above to the polling place on Election day, or mail a copy of the ID to the local board of canvassers before Election Day.

ID Needed for Voting?

Voters must show a photo ID at the polls. Acceptable IDs include:

  • RI driver's license
  • U.S. passport
  • ID card issued by an educational institution in the United States
  • U.S. military identification card
  • ID card issued by the U.S. government or State of Rhode Island like a RIPTA bus pass
  • Government-issued medical card
  • RI Voter ID

Registered voters who don't have an acceptable current and valid photo ID can get a free Voter ID the Secretary of State office in Providence during normal business hours. To find more information on where to get a free Voter ID and for information on how to get a Voter ID visit the Secretary of State website

No eligible voter will be turned away at the polls. Voters who do not bring an acceptable ID to their polling place can vote using a standard Provisional Ballot. The ballot will be counted if the signature they give at the polling place matches the signature on their voter registration.

Registration Deadline

You must be registered 30 days before an election to vote in a municipal or state election.

To vote in a Presidential election, you may register and vote on Election Day at designated polling places, but you may only vote for the offices of the President and Vice President, not in state, local or other federal races.

Not registered? Use our registration tool to fill out your application!

 

Verify Voter Registration

To verify your voter registration status, please use your state's voter verification tool.

Absentee Ballot Process

If you are a registered voter, you may vote by mail (absentee voting) only if:

  • You are physically unable to vote in a polling place because of illness or physical or mental disability
  • You are confined to a nursing home, convalescent home or hospital
  • You are away due to employment or service connected with military operations or because you are a spouse or legal dependent who lives with that person or a U.S. citizen who will be outside the United States
  • You may not be able to vote at your assigned polling place the day of election.

For more information visit your state site. You may pick up an application yourself, have another person pick one up for you or call your local board and request that an application be sent to you.

The application must be filled out, witnessed or notarized and delivered to the local board so that it is received no later than 4:00 pm on the 21st day before the election. The completed application may be mailed, dropped off by you or personally delivered by a person acting at your request.

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. Your emergency mail ballot must be received by the state Board of Elections no later than 9 p.m. the day of the election.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Overseas and Military Voters

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependant of a uniformed services voter. To get registered and vote, you can utilize Overseas Vote Foundation.

If you have additional questions about elections and voting overseas you can use our state specific elections official directory or contact the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Early Voting

Early Voting is not available in Rhode Island.

Election Dates

The next election date is Thursday, June 26, 2018 (Scituate Special Election). The registration deadline is Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

Contact your local Board of Elections for information about local elections.

Poll Worker Information

In order to be a poll worker in Rhode Island:

  • You must be registered to vote in Rhode Island
  • Able to read the Consitution of the sate in English
  • Able to write his/her own name

You are ineligible to be a poll worker if:

  • You are a candidate for public office
  • Have been convicted, found guilty, pleaded guilty or nolo contendere, or placed on a deferred or suspended sentence, or on probation for any crime which involves moral turpitude or which constitutes a violation of any of the election or caucus laws of this or any state
  • Are a federal, state, municipal employee - except teacher - only in primary elections

To sign up, contact your local board of canvassers.

Polling Place Hours

Please note: All polling place locations will close at 8pm. Most places will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, opening hours may vary, but all polls close at 8:00 pm.

Time Off To Vote

Time off to vote is subject to the employer. Rhode Island law does not require employers to grant time off to vote for employees.

Polling Place Locator

You can find your polling place by utilizing your state resource.

If you have further questions on your polling place location, please contact your county clerk.

 

Provisional Voting

You may use a provisional ballot if:

  • You are not on the list of registered voters at that polling place
  • You requested/voted a mail ballot
  • You registered to vote in one political party and attempting to vote in another parties primary
  • You did not bring acceptable photo ID
  • Your identity is challeneged at the polling place

The board of elections begins tabulating provisional ballots at approximately 5:00 pm the day after the election. Provisional ballot results are added to candidate totals only after all provisional ballots cast in the state have been counted. It is expected that the tabulation process will be concluded that evening and the results will be available sometime that night. Provisional ballots are eligible for verification if cast in the correct precinct.You may then determine the disposition of their ballot by visiting your board of elections.

Voting Machines

The voting systems used in Rhode Island are optical scan and DRE.

Optical Scan: With this system, you will receive a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the various candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. When you are finished filling out all the cards, you may bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that checks your card or paper right there at the polling place to make sure you have voted the way you want to and counts the votes.

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE): This is the newest kind of system in use in the U.S. All the information about who and what you are voting for is on an electronic screen like a TV or computer screen.

There are many variations of DREs because lots of companies are inventing new ones, and many cities, counties and states are trying them out. Usually, after you have signed in, the poll workers will give you a card that you slide into a device to start your voting session.

Some of these devices will show all of the candidates and ballot choices on one big screen. Often, with these big screen devices you push a button next to the name of the candidate you want to vote for (or yes or no on a ballot measure). On other DREs, the screen is set up to show pages. On each screen or page, there will probably be one thing to vote on. For example, on one screen or page, you might vote for president. Then you might move to the next page to vote for senator. Often these small-screen devices have a touch screen where you touch the screen next to the name of the person you want to vote for. Other devices have a key pad. And some have a keyboard, so you can write in the name of someone you want to vote for.

You let the system know you are finished voting by pushing a button, touching the screen or entering something on a keypad.

You can learn more about voting systems by checking out the Elections Assistance Commission's (EAC) resource.

Candidate and Ballot Measure Information

Information on local, state and federal candidates and ballot measures may be available here.

To see a list of available races, visit the race index.

 

Provisions for Voters with Disabilities

If you are blind, disabled or unable to read or write, you may be given assistance at the polls by a person of your choice as long as that person is not your employer or agent of your employer, or officer or agent of your union.

Every polling place is situated in a building which can be entered and exited by persons who are disabled or elderly. If you are disabled or elderly and the assigned polling place is inaccessible, the local board must provide alternative means for you to cast a ballot on Election Day. DRE machines will be available for the handicapped.

For more information, you can utilize the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD) resource.

Campaign Finance Information

For information on federal campaign contributions, please visit Open Secrets.

For information on state campaign contributions, please visit your state's resource.


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Election Day Problems?

Call one of these hotlines:
1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)
1-844-418-1682 (Arabic)

 

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