Polls statewide close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Anyone in line to vote at closing time is allowed to vote. Poll opening hours vary by community. Check yours here.
Click here to download a Rhode Island Frequently Asked Questions document created by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and its pro bono law firm partners.
2014 Primary Election: August 10, 2014
2014 General Election: October 5, 2014
In order to vote in an election, you must register 30 days before Election Day. You may register in person on Election Day but ONLY in Presidential elections and you will only be allowed to vote for the offices of President and Vice President.
If you are a first time mail registrant in Rhode Island or a first time registrant through a third party, you must provide your valid Rhode Island driver's license number or valid Rhode Island ID number issued by the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles. If you do not have a valid state-issued driver's license or ID number, you must provide the last four digits of your social security number
If you do not present a Rhode Island driver's license, Rhode Island ID, or social security number, or if these numbers cannot be verified, you will be required to present one of the following forms of identification at either the time of registration, prior to voting, or at the time of voting:
If you do not have one of the items listed above, you may also present 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:
How to Check Registration
If you are a registered voter, you may vote by mail (absentee voting). Rhode Island allows no excuse mail ballot voting. If you may not be able to get to the polls on Election Day, you can fill out a mail ballot application and receive a mail ballot.
Rules and Deadlines for Absentee Voting
To apply for a mail ballot, you must first obtain an application for a mail ballot from your local board of canvassers. 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. Click here to download an application.
Mail ballot applications must be filled out completely and received by your local board no later than 4:00 P.M. on the 21st day before the election or primary in which you wish to vote. Please note that the application has to be physically at the local board by 4:00 P.M. on the deadline. Postmarked applications received after the deadline will not be accepted. Local Boards will not be responsible if you fail to deliver a properly completed application by the deadline.
If circumstances arise within 20 days of the election, which prevent you from going to the polls to vote on Election Day, you may be eligible to vote an emergency mail ballot. Emergency mail ballots are not available on Election Day. If you become ill after 4:00 pm the day before an election, you will be unable to vote.
Early voting is not permitted in Rhode Island.
All voters must present valid ID prior to voting. A voter must present one of the following forms of ID:
Any voter who is a first-time registrant and registers to vote by mail or third-party, and fails to write their valid Driver License number, State Identification number, or last four digits of their Social Security number on their voter registration form will not be allowed to present a birth certificate, Social Security card, or Government-issued medical card as a valid form of non-Photo ID.
You may update your address on your voter registration record if the election is more than 30 days away. If you do not update your address, the following rules apply:
If you moved to your current residence less than 30 days before the election you are eligible to vote at your previous assigned polling place in in your current city/town of registration, or at your assigned polling place in your previous City/Town of registration.
If you moved 30 days or more before, but less than 6 months, before the election from your previous City/Town of registration, you are eligible to vote a Limited Ballot at the Board of Canvassers of your previous City/Town of registration.
If you moved more than 6 months before the election from your previous City/Town of registration you are only eligible to vote for President/Vice-President.
Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot. Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) Rhode Island-specific FPCA page.
Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email. If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA. Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's Rhode Island-specific FPCA page.
Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by the 7:00 p.m., Election Day deadline. The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write-in their choices. The FWAB may also be used to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step. If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline. For specific instructions, visit the FVAP’s Rhode Island-specific FWAB page.
If you have been convicted of a felony and are currently serving your sentence, you are not eligible to register to vote or to vote. Once you have served your sentence, you may register and vote even if you are on probation.
For more information, visit Rhode Island's Board of Elections website or click here to read the Rhode Island State Election Code.
Top Issues to Field
For more information for voters with mental disabilities, visit The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and National Disability Rights Network’s document: “Voting Rights Guide for People with Mental Disabilities.”
Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
Conducting a Voter Registration Drive in your state? Here are some resources.