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Rhode Island Voter Registration Information

Friday, December 9, 2011

Presidential Primary Election
March 6, 2012

Presidential Primary Election Voter Registration Deadline
February 5, 2012

Primary Statewide Election
September 11, 2012

Primary Election Voter Registration
August 12, 2012 (still in question/this is a Sunday)

General Election
November 6, 2012

General Election Voter Registration Deadline
October 6, 2012

 Voter Registration and Eligibility
Must register at least 30 days before an election in which you wish to vote.
In order to change party affiliation, a voter must fill out a disaffiliation form, available at any polling place during a primary or from the local board of canvassers. After being disaffiliated for 90 days, the voter may choose another party.

 **Note: In Presidential elections, if you miss the deadline, you can still register and vote only for President/Vice-President at your Board of Canvassers up to the day of the election (R.I.G.L. 17-1-3) Though it is strongly advised to register for this limited ballot before the day of the election.


To register to vote in the State of Rhode Island, an individual must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a resident of a Rhode Island city or town where you wish to vote
  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Be 18 years old on or before Election Day;
  • Not be in jail or serving a sentence for conviction of any felony;
  • Not be on parole or probation for conviction of any felony;
  • Not be under any suspended sentence, probation or parole for any felony committed after November 5, 1986; and
  • Not be presently judged "mentally incompetent" by a court of law


Can register to vote in person or obtain a mail-in application from:


Who Can Absentee Vote in Rhode Island?

If you are a registered voter, you may vote by mail only if:

  • Absent from the state on Election Day during the entire time the polls are open
  • Absent from the city or town of your voting residence during the entire time the polls are open because you are a student or spouse of a student at an institution of higher learning within the state
  • It would be an undue hardship for you to vote at the polls because you are incapacitated due to illness or mental or physical disability, blindness or serious impairment of mobility.
  • Forbidden by the tenets of your religious faith from voting on Election Day
  • Confined to a hospital, rest home, convalescent home, nursing home or similar institution, public or private
  • Being detained while awaiting trial or imprisoned for any cause other than final conviction of a felony
  • Temporarily absent from the state because of employment or service connected with military operations or are a spouse or dependent of such a person
  • Employed by the State Board of Elections or the local Board of Canvassers or a poll worker assigned to work on Election Day outside of your voting district

 How Can I Acquire an Absentee Ballot?

Those interested in voting by absentee ballot must first obtain an application for a mail-in ballot from the local Board of Canvassers. A voter may designate someone to either pick up an application or call the local Board and request an application over the phone. This application must be filled out, witnessed or notarized, and delivered to the local Board so that it is received no later than 4:00 p.m. on the 21st day before the election or primary in which the voter wishes to vote. The application may be mailed or personally delivered by the voter or a person acting at the voter's request.

All applications for mail ballots must be notarized OR witnessed by 2 persons who must sign their names and addresses. All inner ballot envelopes, except those applied for under categories 3 and 7, must be notarized or witnessed.

Additional Information for Overseas Voters

How do I Return the Absentee Ballot and What is the Deadline?

Completed ballots may be mailed or hand-delivered to the local Board of Canvassers. The deadline for submitting a ballot is 9 p.m. on Election Day.

Other Information on Absentee Voting in Rhode Island

If a voter is permanently disabled, he/she may have a certificate from a physician or Christian Science practitioner filed with the Board of Canvassers for a period of 5 years during which mail ballot applications (not ballots) will be sent to the voter automatically for each election.

Emergency absentee voting
is available to voters who suddenly find themselves in one of the ten above-listed categories within twenty days of the election. Applications for emergency ballots will be accepted by the local Board of Canvassers up until noon of the day before the election. Completed ballots must be received by the Board of Canvassers by 9 p.m. on Election Day.

Source of information:
Rhode Island Board of Elections
50 Branch Avenue
Providence, Rhode Island 02904
Phone: 401-222-2345
Fax: 401-621-3255
TDD: 401-222-3135





Rhode Island Rhode Island

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