How to vote in Rhode Island
This information is for the November 3rd general election. For information on the September 8, 2020 state primary, check with the Rhode Island election office. Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Rhode Island offers absentee ballots by mail to voters who will be unable to vote in person. All other voters are expected to vote in person. Rhode Island offers early voting.
Who can vote
You have to register to vote before election day in Rhode Island. You can find the deadline to register to vote in the "Dates and deadlines" section.
To register in Rhode Island you must:
- be a citizen of the United States
- be a resident of Rhode Island
- be at least 16 years of age (you must be 18 years of age to vote on Election Day)
- not be currently incarcerated in a correctional facility due to a felony conviction
- not have been lawfully judged to be mentally incompetent
- *find more information on voting rights restoration here
Vote in person
Vote on election day
Voters registered in Rhode Island can look up where to vote on Rhode Island's site.
Rhode Island voters can also vote before Election Day. The early voting period runs from Wednesday, October 14, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
What to bring
- You will be asked to show photo ID to vote in Rhode Island. Acceptable forms ID include: Rhode Island driver's license; Rhode Island voter ID card; US passport; ID issued by a school or college in the US; US military ID; ID issued by the US government or State of Rhode Island; tribal ID; or a government-issued medical card.
- Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot. The voter has until the close of business the day after the election to provide information to the Board of Canvassers to help qualify their ballot.
Vote by mail
- Review the absentee ballot application and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for voting absentee.
- Fill out the application completely.
- Submit the request to your local election office. You should request your ballot as far in advance of the election as possible. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, October 13, 2020.
- When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it.
See what's on the ballot
Get step-by-step help
TurboVote can help you start the absentee/mail-in ballot request process, send you election reminders, and more. If you’d like more help planning how to vote, we can walk you through the process!
Election Day registration
Rhode Island allows for same day voter registration for the Presidential Election only. If you miss the voter registration deadline, you can register to vote on Election Day, but you will only be able to vote for President and Vice President. You will not be able to vote in any state, local, or other federal races. You can only register and vote on Election Day at the location designated by your local board of canvassers.
Military and overseas voters
Active-duty military, their families, and overseas citizens can register to vote and request their absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). To do so:
- Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), or download a copy. Your election official may have questions, so please provide an email address or phone number where they can reach you.
- Send the application to your election official.
- It is never too early to submit an FPCA! Please do so as soon as possible. You can look up recommended mailing dates by country and region.
- Please fill out and send back your ballot as soon as you receive it. Following are recommended return dates to make sure your ballot arrives at your election office on time:35 days before election - On a ship at sea: September 28, 202030 days before election - Outside of the US: October 2, 202011 days before the election - Stateside: October 23, 2020
- States begin mailing absentee ballots at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven't received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, contact your local election office.
If after submitting your FPCA, your ballot does not arrive, contact your election official first. Then:
- You can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Print, sign, and mail your FWAB to your local election office.
- If you mail a FWAB and then receive your regular absentee ballot, you should complete and mail your absentee ballot also. Election officials will ensure that only one ballot is counted.
Check your voter registration status
You can look up your voter registration record and verify that your information is correct using Rhode Island's voter registration lookup tool.
Dates and deadlines
- Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
- The deadline to register online to vote is Sunday, October 4, 2020.
- The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) Sunday, October 4, 2020.
- The deadline to register in person to vote is Sunday, October 4, 2020.
- The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, October 13, 2020.
- The early voting period runs from Wednesday, October 14, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
Election contact information for Rhode Island
Department of State’s Election Division
148 West River Street
Providence, RI 02904