En español | Rhode Island allows any voter to cast a mail ballot or vote early and in person.
The 2022 midterms decided races for governor as well as seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and state Legislature. The next statewide election is in 2024.
- Upcoming elections: Find information about statewide elections at the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website.
- Mail voting: All registered voters can vote by mail without a reason under a 2022 law.
- Early in-person voting: You can vote early and in person at a location designated by your city or town.
- Voting at the polls: ID is required at your polling place. Otherwise, you’ll receive a provisional ballot.
Have there been recent changes to voting in Rhode Island?
Under a 2022 law, all registered voters are permitted to cast a mail ballot without a reason – and the signatures of two witnesses or that of a notary on mail ballots are no longer required. The law 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.
How do I register to vote?
Register online, by mail or in person:
- 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.
- By mail: Download a registration form, complete it and mail it to your local board of canvassers. Or call your board of canvassers to request a form. You can also pick up a form at public libraries and some other state agencies.
- In person: Download and complete a registration form, then bring it to your local board of canvassers, the secretary of state’s office or the state board of elections office. You can also pick up a registration form at those locations. Check with your board of canvassers for more information.
You’ll automatically be registered to vote at a Division of Motor Vehicles appointment unless you opt out.
Use Rhode Island’s voter information portal to check your registration status.
Does 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.
How can I get a mail ballot?
Any registered voter can request a mail ballot online, by mail or in person:
- Online: Fill out an online mail ballot application from the voter information portal. Election officials will then mail voters their application that they'll need to sign and return to their local board of canvassers.
- By mail: Download a mail ballot application from the secretary of state’s website. Or call your board of canvassers and ask that an application be mailed to you.
- In person: Bring your completed application form to your board of canvassers.
Mail ballot application deadlines will be listed at the secretary of state’s website closer to an election.
How do I return my mail ballot?
Your signature is required on your completed mail ballot and the certificate envelope. But you no longer need the signature of two witnesses or a notary.
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. Allow seven mailing days to ensure the board of elections receives it by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
- In person: Hand-deliver it to the state board of elections, or place it in any ballot drop box location by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Contact your local board of canvassers to find a drop box near you.
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 an election at 4 p.m. Contact your board of canvassers for more information.
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, at your local board of canvassers or another location designated by your city or town. A complete list of early voting locations and hours will become available at the voter information portal closer to an election.
What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day?
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 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 — such as 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.
Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Dec. 6, 2022, with more information about voting in Rhode Island. The guide was first published on Aug. 19, 2020.
Also of Interest
- Stay updated on the 2022 election at AARP.org/elections.
- Keep up with local events and AARP advocacy efforts at states.aarp.org/rhode-island.