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How to Vote in Rhode Island’s 2024 Elections

Important dates and election information

Key dates

  • Presidential primary: Tuesday, April 2
  • State primary: Tuesday, Sept. 10
  • General election: Tuesday, Nov. 5
Voters In Rhode Island
Stickers are passed out to voters at a polling place in Cranston.
Boston Globe/Boston Globe via Getty Images

Voting at a glance


  • Mail voting: All registered voters can vote by mail without a reason.
  • Voting at the polls: A photo ID is required at your polling place. Otherwise, you’ll receive a provisional ballot.

Voting in Rhode Island

What to know about recent changes

Registered voters can request a mail ballot using an online portal that launched in July 2023.

A 2022 law allows all registered voters to cast a mail ballot without a reason, and the signatures of two witnesses or a notary on mail ballots are no longer required. That same law also permits long-term residents of nursing facilities to be placed on a permanent mail ballot list and automatically receive a mail ballot application each election.

Voter registration

The deadline to register to vote is Sunday, March 3, for the presidential primary and Sunday, Aug. 11, for the state primary.

You’ll automatically be registered to vote at a Division of Motor Vehicles appointment unless you opt out. To register:

  • Online: Go to Rhode Island’s voter information portal to register or update your information. Provide your Rhode Island driver’s license or state ID number and your date of birth.

Use Rhode Island’s voter information portal to check your registration status.

Registering to vote on Election Day

Same-day voter registration is available only for the Tuesday, Nov. 5, general election, and you can vote only for president and vice president. Locations are set by your local board of canvassers.

Primary voting and party affiliation

If you’re registered with a party, you may vote only in that party’s presidential and state primaries. Unaffiliated voters can vote in any party primary, but by doing so, they'll become affiliated with that party. To return to unaffiliated status, you must fill out a form at the polling place after you vote, update your information in the state’s voter information portal, or fill out a new voter registration form.

Ways to vote

Requesting a mail ballot 

The deadline to request a mail ballot is Tuesday, March 12, at 4 p.m. for the presidential primary and Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 4 p.m. for the state primary.

Any registered voter can request a mail ballot online, by mail or in person for the presidential and state primaries:

  • Online: Go to Rhode Island’s mail ballot application portal and follow the prompts. You’ll need your Rhode Island driver’s license or state ID number and your date of birth.

Presidential primary mail ballot applications can be requested now. The state primary mail ballot applications will be available this spring.

If an emergency prevents you from voting in person on Election Day for the presidential and state primaries, you can apply for an emergency mail ballot within 20 days of an election. This allows you to vote at your local board of canvassers until the day before an election at 4 p.m. Contact your board of canvassers to request an emergency mail ballot.

Returning your mail ballot

Your signature is required on the mail ballot certificate envelope for the presidential and state primaries. You no longer need the signature of two witnesses or a notary.

Return completed ballots by mail or in person:

  • By mail: Sign your mail ballot certificate envelope and place it in the larger, pre-addressed return envelope, seal it and mail it to the state board of elections. Prepaid postage is included. Allow seven mailing days to ensure the board of elections receives it by 8 p.m. on Election Day for the presidential and state primaries. 
  • In person: Hand-deliver your signed mail ballot certificate envelope to the state board of elections by 8 p.m. on Election Day for the presidential and state primaries.
  • Drop box: Place your signed mail ballot certificate envelope in any ballot drop box location by 8 p.m. on Election Day for the presidential and state primaries. Contact your local board of canvassers to find a drop box near you or use the drop box locator.

Track your ballot at the state’s voter information portal by entering your information into BallotTrax.

Voting in person before Election Day

You can vote early and in person at your local board of canvassers or another location designated by your city or town. Check the secretary of state’s website for a list of early voting locations and hours.

You will need to show a valid photo ID such as a Rhode Island driver’s license, U.S. passport or state voter ID card. If you do not bring a photo ID, you will be given a provisional ballot to cast.

You can vote early between Wednesday, March 13, and Monday, April 1, for the presidential primary.

Voters can vote early between Wednesday, Aug. 21, and Monday, Sept. 9, for the state primary.

Voting at the polls on Election Day

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the presidential and state primaries. If you live in New Shoreham, polls are open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the presidential primary and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the state primary. You will be allowed to vote after the polls close if you are in line by 8 p.m.

Use Rhode Island’s voter information portal to find your polling place.

Voter ID requirements on Election Day

You will need to show a valid photo ID such as a Rhode Island driver’s license, U.S. passport or state voter ID card to vote in the presidential and state primaries. If you do not bring a photo ID, you will receive a provisional ballot.

Voting with a disability

You can bring someone to the polls to help you, but that person cannot be your employer or from your union.

Each polling place and early voting location has accessible voting machines that can read and mark your ballot for you. To use the ExpressVote machine, tell the elections official at your polling place.

You can vote by mail using an accessible mail ballot, which is sent through an email link and which you can mark electronically. Apply for the accessible mail ballot by checking the accessibility box in the mail ballot application.

Braille, large print and tactile mail ballots also are available. Submit this form to request a braille, large print or tactile ballot, along with a mail ballot application, to your local board of canvassers.

More information about candidates

Key races:

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. House: two seats
  • U.S. Senate: one seat
  • State House: 75 seats 
  • State Senate: 38 seats

Sample ballots will be available at the secretary of state’s website.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Jan. 23, 2024, with new information about voting in the 2024 presidential primary.

Maura Kelly Lannan is a writer, editor and producer for AARP who covers federal and state policy. She has worked as a reporter for the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and the Waterbury, Connecticut Republican-American. She also has written for Bloomberg Government, The Boston Globe and other publications. 

Also of Interest:

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