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Organization : Rhode Island Board of Elections
Facility : Frequently Asked Questions
State : Rhode Island
Country : United States

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Frequently Asked Questions :
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Frequently Asked Questions :

How can I stay up to date with the latest on deadline and other important election-related information? :
As many other state agencies do, the Board of Elections maintains a Twitter account. For the latest info, follow us there. We are also exploring establishing an RSS feed.

Related :

Rhode Island Board Voter Registration Form :

Registering To Vote And Voting :
How do I register to vote? :
You can register to vote in Rhode Island by completing a Voter Registration Form which may be obtained at your local Board of Canvassers or the RI Board of Elections. You can also download the form from this site. 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. See our Voter Registration section to download the current form and obtain more information on the requirements to register to vote in Rhode Island.

Can I view my voter registration record? :
Yes, you can view your voter registration record at the Voter Information Center.

If I register by mail, how do I know my registration has been received and processed? :
If you register to vote or change your name and/or address by mail or at an agency, you will receive a notice informing you that your registration has been received by the local board of canvassers. (You will also be notified by mail if your registration does not meet the requirements for any reason.) If the post office cannot deliver the notice to the address you gave when you registered, your name will be placed on the “inactive” list and you may not be able to vote. If you do not receive a notice acknowledging receipt of your registration within three (3) weeks, call your local Board of Canvassers.

What is the deadline for registering to vote in a primary or election? :
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 Cannvassers on the day of the election (R.I.G.L. 17-1-3). See our Upcoming Elections section for relevant deadlines.

Can I vote on Election Day if I am not registered to vote, or if I registered after the deadline? :
In most cases, no. Rhode Island requires that a person be registered to vote 30 days or more prior to a primary or election in order to be eligible to vote in that primary or election. In statewide elections, If you are already registered but have moved to a different address, see our Limited Ballot section for more information. However, in Presidential elections, if you are not registered to vote, or you registered after the deadline, you can go to your City/Town Hall on Election Day and register and vote for President/Vice-President only.

How long do I have to live in a city/town in Rhode Island to vote there? :
You can register to vote as soon as you move to that city/town as long as you intend to make your primary residence here. However, you cannot vote for local candidates or issues until you have been registered at that address for 30 days.

I moved and never changed my address on my voter registration record. Where do I vote? :
You can determine where you vote by viewing our Guidelines for Voter Affirmation, which can be found in our Limited Ballot section. Also, at the bottom of the section you will find a convenient chart with the same information. This information is useful only if have failed to update your address on your voter registration record and the election is less than 30 days away. You should always update your address on your voter registration record anytime you move. You can update your voter registration record by submitting a new voter registration form, located in our Voter Registration section.

How old do I have to be to register to vote? :
You may register to vote if you are at least 16-years-old. However, you must be 18-years-old on Election Day in order to vote.

How do I find out where I vote? :
You can visit the Voter Information Center to find your assigned polling place. Please note, that polling places are subject to change. Generally you will vote at the same polling place in statewide elections. However, in smaller special elections, you may be temporarily assigned to another polling place due to consolidation. It is advisable to always verify your assigned polling place before any election.

Do I have to show identification when I vote at the polls? :
Beginning in 2012, voters will need to present ID at the polls. There are various acceptable types of IDs. Visit the Secretary of State website at for additional details.

What Senate and Representative district do I live in? :
These district numbers are shown on the acknowledgement letter you were sent when you registered to vote. If you do not have your acknowledgement letter, call your local Board of Canvassers for this information. You may also visit the Voter Information Center and look up your voter registration record to retieve this information.

I own two residences in Rhode Island in different communities. Am I eligible to vote in both places for local candidates and issues? :
No. You must choose one place as your primary residence and that will determine where you are eligible to vote. Please see R.I.G.L. 17-1-3.1 for the requirements of determining a residence for voting purposes.

I have a Power of Attorney for my spouse. Can I register or vote for her/him? :
No. Each person must sign or make a mark on an application when registering to vote or voting. No one can do this for someone else.

Do I need to cancel my RI voter registration if I move to another state? :
No. When you register to vote in another state, there will be a place on the form to list the previous address at which you were registered. A notice is then sent to the city/town in RI where you were registered, indicating that you have registered elsewhere. The local board of canvassers in the RI municipality where you were registered will then cancel your RI registration. If you like, you may send written notice to the local board, requesting the cancellation of your registration. You can find the address of your local board here.

How do I cancel my voter registration if I no longer wish to be registered? :
You must request cancellation of your voter registration in writing to your local Board of Canvassers.

I need help when I vote at the polling place. What are my options? :
You may bring anyone you choose to assist you with voting except your employer, an agent of your employer or an officer or agent of your union. You and the person helping you will be asked to sign an affidavit stating that you have requested assistance. Alternatively, you may also ask the Warden/Moderator at the polling place to provide a pair of bi-partisan pollworkers to assist you. See the Voting at the Polls section for additional information.

Can I register to vote as an independent? :
Rhode Island does not have an “independent” party. 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.

Are there any special requirements to run as a “Write-In” candidate? :
No, there is no declaration requirement to run as a “Write-In” candidate for any office, including President. However, it is advised that a “Write-In” candidate notify their local Board of Canvassers of their intention to run a “Write-in” campaign. This will allow for local and state election officials to issue additional supplies to the polling place for the handling of “Write-In” ballots. Also, stickers are not allowed to be placed on an official ballot, and could cause damage to the ballot tabulator. Finally, “Write-In” candidates for state or municipal offices are subject to the RI campaign finance laws and must file reports. See our Campaign Finance section for additional information about filing requirements for all candidates.

Provisional Voting :
What is Provisional Voting? :
Provisional Voting is a process to insure that all registered voters are allowed to participate in the election process. These qualified voters will be allowed to cast the same ballot as all others however, the disposition (full ballot, federal offices only, or disqualified) of that ballot will be determined by the voter’s local board of canvassers. The voter may then determine the disposition of their ballot by visiting this website 48 hours after the election or by contacting their Board of Canvassers. See our Provisional Voting section for more information.

Absentee Voting :
I am leaving the state before election day and want to vote. How can I do that? :
You can request that an mail ballot be sent to you at an address out of state or vote an absentee ballot at your local Board of Canvassers before you leave. See our Mail Ballot Section for more information. The deadline to apply for a regular mail ballot falls on the 21st day prior to the election. If the circumstances that make you eligible for a mail ballot arise after that deadline, you may be eligible for an Emergency Mail Ballot. See our Emergency Mail Ballot Section, or check with your local Board of Canvassers for more detailed information. The deadline to apply for an emergency mail ballot is 4:00 pm on the day before the election.

I am confined to a public or private hospital, rest home, convalescent home, nursing home or similar institution. Can I vote by absentee ballot? :
Yes, you may request an absentee ballot under the state nursing home mail ballot prgram. This is a state supervised program. See our Nursing Home Mail Ballot section for more information.

I have been hospitalized on Election Day. Is there any way a ballot can be brought to me in the hospital? :
Unfortunately, state law establishes the deadline to request a mail ballot as 4 p.m. the day prior to the election or primary. Currently, the Board of Elections is unable to accomodate any mail ballot requests after this deadline.

I received my mail ballot as I requested, but my plans have changed and I will be home on election day and want to vote at my polling place. What should I do with my absentee ballot? :
When a voter applies for a mail ballot, that fact is recorded at the Local Board of Canvassers and the voter’s name is taken off the list of eligible voters for his/her polling place. In order to be able to vote at the polling place, you must return the absentee ballot to the Board of Canvassers, or you will be required to cast a Provisional Ballot at the polling place. See our Provisional Voting Section for more information.

State and Federal Elected Officials :
How can I find out who my state legislators and city/town elected officials are? :
You can get this information from your local Board of Canvassers. They will also be able to give you the names of your local elected officials. You can also find information on Rhode Island’s elected officials at the Secretary of State’s Web site or the Rhode Island General Assembly Web site.

How many delegates does Rhode Island send to the electoral college? :
Rhode Island has four delegates/votes to the Electoral College.

How many U.S. Congressional Districts does Rhode Island have? :
Rhode Island has two U.S. Congressional Districts, and 38 of the 39 cities and towns are entirely in one district or the other. Providence is the only community that is split between Congressional District 1 and 2.

Add a Comment
  1. dropped off mail in ballots at official drop box 2 days ago.went online to voter information page to check when ballot was received by board of elections: no date posted. Checked ballot status: nothing posted. How long does it take to be recorded and posted?

  2. What is the implication of “inactive” status with regard to voter registration?

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