Rhode Island Election Law

Related Information

Voter Registration

Pre-COVIDDuring 20202021 Legislative Activity
MethodIn person, by mail, online.No ChangesNo Legislative Activity
Deadline30 days before Election Day.No ChangesNo Legislative Activity
AutomaticYes; at DMV.No ChangesNo Legislative Activity
Same DayAvailable only in presidential elections, and same day registrants may only cast votes for president and vice president.No ChangesHB5983 and SR0569 (both in committee) would eliminate the 30 day registration requirement and allow unrestricted same-day voter registration.

Absentee Ballot Application

Pre-COVIDDuring 20202021 Legislative Activity
ExcuseIllness/disability, confinement in a hospital, military absence, or other inability to vote at polling place.No ChangesHB6003 (sec. 6) would give every voter the right to vote by mail with no excuse requirement.
AutomaticPermanently incapacitated voters may request an automatic mail ballot application for a period of five years.Mail-in ballot applications were sent to all registered voters in the general election.No Legislative Activity
Deadline21 days before Election Day.No ChangesNo Legislative Activity
Valid for X# of Cycles1No ChangesNo Legislative Activity

Absentee Ballot Return (other than by mail)

Pre-COVIDDuring 20202021 Legislative Activity
Voter IDPhoto ID, birth certificate, social security card, or government issued medical card. Ballot must be signed by either two witnesses or a notary public.Witness or notary requirements were suspended for mail-in ballotsSB0181 would repeal the state's voter ID law.
In PersonYesNo ChangesNo Legislative Activity
Drop BoxYes No ChangesSB0516 (sec. 9) and HB6003 (sec. 7 - pg. 31) would require 1 drop box for every 20,000 voters and 1 drop box at every campus of a public institution of higher education with 500 or more students.
Return Deadline8PM on Election DayNo ChangesNo Legislative Activity

Ballot Harvesting

Pre-COVIDDuring 20202021 Legislative Activity
ProhibitedNoNo ChangesHB6099 (sec. 2 - pg. 3) would make ballot harvesting a felony.
Limited 3rd PartyNot prohibitedNo ChangesNo Legislative Activity
Paid Political OperativesNot prohibitedNo ChangesNo Legislative Activity

Early Voting

Pre-COVIDDuring 20202021 Legislative Activity
By MailPermittedNo ChangesNo Legislative Activity
In PersonNo prohibiting legislationNo ChangesSB0516 (sec. 8), SB0185, SB0247, and HB6003 (sec. 7 - pg. 28) would establish comprehensive new legislation regarding in-person early voting.

Voter Identification - Absentee Ballot

Pre-COVIDDuring 20202021 Legislative Activity
Signature VerificationYesNo ChangesNo Legislative Activity
Witness StatementEither two witnesses or a notary public.No ChangesSB0184 (sec. 1) and SB0621 would remove the witness/notary requirement for mail ballots.
Cure ProcessNo LegislationNo ChangesHB6003 (sec. 6 - pg. 19) would establish a cure process available until seven days after the election.

Voter Identification - In Person

Pre-COVIDDuring 20202021 Legislative Activity
Photo IDNot requiredNo ChangesSB0181 would repeal the state's voter ID law.
Other OptionsBirth certificate, social security card, or government issued medical card.No ChangesNo Legislative Activity
Provisional BallotsFor voters without proof of identity; ballots verified by signature.No ChangesNo Legislative Activity

Voting Day

Pre-COVIDDuring 20202021 Legislative Activity
Hours7AM-8PMNo ChangesNo Legislative Activity
Wait TimeNo LegislationNo ChangesNo Legislative Activity
ElectioneeringProhibited within 50 feet of polling placesNo ChangesNo Legislative Activity

Voter Rolls

Pre-COVIDDuring 20202021 Legislative Activity
Update FrequencyOnce every other year.No ChangesSB0516 (sec. 7) and HB6003 (sec. 7) would require a regular schedule of at least four updates per year using USPS's National Change of Address program.
Voter RemovalDeath, written request, felony incarceration, mental incompetence, or 2 consecutive years of inactivity by the voter.No ChangesHB5896 (sec. 1) would require cancellation for voters who change their voting residence to a different location.