AARP AARP States Rhode Island Voters

How to Vote in Rhode Island’s 2022 Elections

En español | Rhode Island’s Sept. 13 primaries will determine which candidates appear on November’s general election ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislature, governor and other state offices. 

What's new this year?

Recently passed legislation is changing how you vote. All registered voters are permitted to cast a mail ballot without an excuse – and the signatures of two witnesses or that of a notary on mail ballots are no longer required. The legislation also grants residents of nursing facilities the right to be placed on a permanent mail ballot list, allowing them to automatically receive a mail ballot application each election.

Learn more about the recent changes in Rhode Island at our Tele-Town Hall June 23 at 10 a.m. Go to vekeo.com/aarprhodeisland/ to register.

Essential info:

  • Mail voting: All registered voters can vote by mail without an excuse in September’s primaries and November’s general election, thanks to new legislation.
  • Early in-person voting: You can vote early and in person at the city or town hall where you’re registered from Aug. 24 through Sept. 12 for the primaries and Oct. 19 through Nov. 7 for the general election.
  • In-person voting on Election Day: The state’s primary election is Tuesday, Sept. 13; the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you live in New Shoreham, polls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Voters In Rhode Island
Stickers are passed out to voters at a polling place in Cranston.
Boston Globe/Boston Globe via Getty Images


How do I register to vote?

  • Online: Go to Rhode Island’s voter information portal to register or update your information. You must provide your Rhode Island driver’s license or state ID number and the last four digits of your Social Security number. The registration deadline is Aug. 14 for the primaries and Oct. 9 for the general election. 
  • By mail: Download a registration form, complete it and mail it to your local board of canvassers. Or call your local board of canvassers and request that one be mailed to you. You can also pick up a registration form at public libraries and some other state agencies. Registration forms must be postmarked by Aug. 14 for the primaries and by Oct. 9 for the general election.

You’ll automatically be registered to vote at a Department of Motor Vehicles appointment unless you opt out.
Use Rhode Island’s voter information portal to check your registration status.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote in the primaries?

Yes. If you’re registered with a party, you may only vote in that party’s primary. 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.

The deadline to change your party before the Sept. 13 primary is Aug. 15.

How can I get a mail ballot? Are there important deadlines?

Any registered voter can request a no-excuse mail ballot and vote from home in September’s primaries and in November’s general election. After you receive and complete your ballot, your signature is required on the mail ballot certificate envelope. But you no longer need the signature of two witnesses or a notary on the envelope. 

You can request a ballot by mail or in person.

  • By mail: Download a mail ballot application from the secretary of state’s website. Or call your local board of canvassers and ask that an application be mailed to you. Your local board of canvassers must receive your application by Aug. 23 for the primaries and by Oct. 18 for the general.
  • In person: Bring your completed application form to your local board of canvassers by 4 p.m. on Aug. 23 for the primaries and by 4 p.m. on Oct. 18 for the general.

Return completed ballots by mail or in person.

  • By mail: Place the mail ballot certificate envelope in the larger, pre-addressed return envelope, seal it and mail it to the state board of elections. Prepaid postage is included. The state recommends allowing seven mailing days to ensure the board of elections receives it by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you'd planned to vote in person on Election Day but an emergency prevents you from doing so, you can apply for an emergency mail ballot and vote at your local board of canvassers until the day before the election at 4 p.m. Contact your local board of canvassers for more information.

You can track your ballot at the state’s voter information portal by entering your information into BallotTrax.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

Yes. You can vote early at your city or town hall from Aug. 24 through Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. for the primaries and Oct. 19 through Nov. 7 at 4 p.m. for the general. Check with your local board of canvassers for their business hours. 

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

The primary election is Tuesday, Sept. 13, and the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you live in New Shoreham, polls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. You will be allowed to vote after the polls close if you are line to vote by 8 p.m.

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

Do I need identification to vote?

Yes, you’ll need to show a photo ID — like a Rhode Island driver’s license, state voter ID card or U.S. passport — at the polling place. If you don’t have ID, you’ll receive a provisional ballot.

ID is not required to vote by mail unless you’re a first-time voter who didn’t provide your driver’s license or the last four digits of your Social Security number when you registered. In that case, you’d need to provide an acceptable ID, such as a driver’s license, voter ID card, utility bill or bank statement.

What races are on the ballot?

  • Governor 
  • U.S. House: two seats
  • State Senate: all 38 seats
  • State House: all 75 seats
  • Lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and general treasurer

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on June 14 with information about an upcoming Tele-Town Hall. The guide was first published on Aug. 19, 2020.

Also of Interest

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