Voter Registration in Rhode Island
Voter registration in Rhode Island is available to many adult residents of the state, and there are a number of different methods to ensure that you are ready to vote when Election Day comes. Instead of asking, “Am I registered to vote?” or “Where do I vote?” days before the election, it is better to learn about the process so that you can focus on the candidates. Given the state’s registration deadline, you will also want to understand how to register so that you can avoid being ineligible to vote during the next election.
In this article, you will learn how to vote in Rhode Island: the methods you have for registering, how to know if you are eligible to vote, when you need to submit the registration form by, how to vote absentee and more. By the end of the article, you should have a clear idea of how to work through the process.
Who Can Register to Vote in Rhode Island?
Voter registration in Rhode Island is open to the majority of adult residents. You need to be recognized as a citizen of the United States, and you must have established your residency in the state of Rhode Island. Given the state’s registration deadline, you must establish both residency and citizenship 30 days before the election. Though you must be at least 18 years old in order to vote, you are allowed to register when you are 16. Doing so ahead of time allows you to ensure you will be able to vote on Election Day.
You will not be eligible to vote if you were found guilty of a felony and are currently serving your sentence. That said, if you are currently incarcerated but have not been found guilty of a felony, you will still be able to vote. As well, you will be able to vote once you have left prison. This applies even if you are serving parole.
It is also important to note that you cannot vote from more than one residency. If you vote in one state, you will not then be able to vote in Rhode Island as well. If, when registering to vote, you have two residences in Rhode Island, you will have to choose which one you want to cast your ballot in.
Rhode Island Voter Registration Deadline
You must register to vote in Rhode Island no less than 30 days before Election Day. If you do not do so, you may be unable to vote. However, there are two exceptions:
- If you are a citizen of the United States and did not register earlier, you may register on the day of the election in order to vote for the President and Vice President. You will be unable to vote in other elections.
- If you have established your residency in Rhode Island but did not change your voter registration address in Rhode Island when you moved, you may be eligible to either register that day, or receive a Limited Ballot.
How to Register to Vote in Rhode Island
You can register to vote in Rhode Island online, in-person or via the mail. Rhode Island’s Online Voter Registration Portal takes you through the process, allowing you to register. The state also allows you to submit the voter registration form in-person to most government agencies, such as the DMV office. You may also fill out and submit the form during a registration drive. Finally, you can mail in your registration request to the Board of Canvassers.
No matter which voter registration method you use, you will need to provide a drivers license number or an ID number. If neither are available, you may also provide the Serial Number for your SSN. Without any of this information, you will need to consult the form and determine how you can prove your identity. Individuals without an SSN, Driver’s license or ID number are unable to submit the form online.
Early Voting in Rhode Island
Rhode Island does not offer early voting. If you are not able to vote on Election Day, you will have to apply for an absentee ballot.
Rhode Island Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Registering to vote via absentee ballot in Rhode Island is for voters who are unsure they will be able to make it to the polls on Election Day. You will need to apply for the ballot by either sending a mail ballot application or calling the Board of Elections.
When you receive the ballot, you will then need to fill it out in black ink and send it to the Rhode Island Board of Elections. The state will not process these ballots if they arrive the day of the election after 8 p.m., regardless of the postmark.
Rhode Island Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents
Service members use an absentee ballot to vote. You will need to use a Federal Post Card Application in order to get your ballot. This process can be performed online or via the mail.
Voter Registration Cards in Rhode Island
Voter registration cards in Rhode Island can be used as a form of identification when you go to the polls, but that is not their only purpose, since driver’s licenses and state IDs most often serve that purpose. The main reason to pay attention to your card is because it lists your polling location.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in Rhode Island
If you want to change your voter registration in Rhode Island, you can do so online, in-person or via the mail. No matter which method you choose, you will need to use the voter registration form. To change your information online, you will need to log into Rhode Island’s Voter Information System. To submit it in person, you will need to contact the board of canvassers for your area.
To do so via the mail, you will simply need to mail the form to the board of canvassers. This works for a voter registration change of address, party or name. There is an Address Confidentiality Program designed to help individuals who have a restraining order against someone for domestic violence. This program is available at (401) 222-2340.
How to Replace a Lost Rhode Island Voter Registration Card
If you have lost your voter registration card in Rhode Island, you will need to reach out to the Rhode Island Board of Elections in order to get a new one. This office can be reached at (401) 222- 2345.