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Living in a community comes with responsibilities, one of which is voting. As Americans it is our right to vote, and we should exercise that right every time there is an election.

Do you need a Voter ID?

Beginning this year, poll workers will ask you for ID when you vote.  If you do NOT have a valid RI Driver's License, US Passport or other photo ID, you will need a Voter ID.  Any registered voter who does not have one of those types of IDs can get one free of charge.

You must bring your Social Security Card, Medicare Card or other acceptable form of ID.  For more information and a list of acceptable documents, check the Secretary of State's Website at www.sos.ri.gov

Who may register to vote in Rhode Island?

  • a citizen of the United States,
  • a resident of the Rhode Island city or town where you wish to vote, and
  • at least 16 years of age. You must be at least 18 years of age to vote.

*If you are a convicted felon and not in prison and you are a US citizen at least 18 years of age on election day, you may restore your right to vote by notifying your local board of canvassers in writing that you have completed your prison sentence or by submitting a new voter registration form.

Who can cast a vote in a Rhode Island election?

Any registered voter may vote, so long as she or he has registered to vote at least 30 days prior to the primary or election in which they wish to vote.

Is it possible to register and vote on Election Day?

No. You must be registered to vote at least 30 days prior to the primary or general election.

Will I ever need to register again?

Registration is permanent and generally does not need to be renewed as long as you live at the same address.

You will need to register again if:

  • You change your name,
  • You change your address within your city or town,
  • You move to another city or town, or
  • You have been removed from the voting list for any reason.

How do I register or update my registration?

To register to vote, you must complete a voter registration form. That form must be received by an authorized public official of your city or town or the State of Rhode Island.

You may use either the Rhode Island Voter Registration Form or you may use the National Voter Registration Form. You may register in person or by mail. You may also register with the help of another person who delivers the forms to an authorized official for you.

Where do I register to vote or file a change of address?

You may obtain your registration form and register to vote in person at many different places, including offices you might visit to conduct other business. You may register at:

  • The local board of canvassers. These offices are usually open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some registrars offer registrations at other times and places in the community.
  • Any office of the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. You may register to vote when you apply for a driver’s license, license renewal or DMV personal identification document.
  • Agencies providing public assistance, such as the Department of Human Services.
  • State-funded programs assisting people with disabilities.
  • Armed forces recruiting offices.

Contact the Board of Elections at 401-222-2345 for a complete list of agencies where you may register or change your address.

Can I register by mail?

Yes. You may mail a completed Rhode Island Voter Registration form or a National Voter Registration form to your local board of canvassers. Federal and state forms are equally acceptable in Rhode Island.

What information will I need to provide to complete my registration?

If you are a first time mail registrant in RI or a first time registrant through a third party, and do not provide a driver’s license, RI ID or Social Security Number, you must provide one of the following identifications:
› A copy of a current and valid photo identification provided by a third party in the ordinary course of business that includes the name and photograph of the individual presenting it. Examples of photo identification include, but are not limited to:

  • Driver’s license or identification card of any state;
  • U.S. Passport;
  • Employee identification card;
  • Identification card provided by a commercial establishment;
  • Credit or debit card;
  • Military identification card;
  • Student identification card;
  • Health club identification card;
  • Insurance plan identification card;
  • Public housing identification card;

or a copy of any of the following documents, provided that the document includes the name and current address of the individual presenting it, and is dated since the date of the last general election, unless the document is intended to be of a permanent nature such as a pardon or discharge:

  • Utility bill;
  • Bank statement;
  • Government check;
  • Government paycheck;
  • Document issued by a government agency;
  • Sample ballot or other official elections document issued by a governmental agency, dated for the election in which the individual is providing it as proof of residency or identity;
  • Voter notification card issued by a governmental agency;
  • Public housing identification card issued by a governmental agency;
  • Lease or rental statement or agreement issued by a governmental agency;
  • Student identification card issued by a governmental agency;
  • Tuition statement or bill issued by a governmental agency;
  • Insurance plan card or drug discount card issued by a government agency;
  • Discharge certificates, pardons, or other official documents issued to the individual by a governmental agency in connection with the resolution of a criminal case, indictment, sentence; or other matter;
  • Public transportation authority senior citizen and disabled discount cards issued by a governmental agency;
  • Identification documents issued by governmental disability agencies;
  • Identification documents issued by government homeless shelters and other government temporary or transitional facilities;
  • Drug prescription issued by a government doctor or other governmental health care provider;
  • Property tax statement issued by a governmental agency;
  • Vehicle registration issued by a governmental agency;<
  • Vehicle certificate of ownership issued by a governmental agency.

Also, you have the option of bringing one of the identifications listed above to the polling place on Election Day, or mailing a copy of the identification to the local board of canvassers before the Election Day.

How do I know if I am properly registered to vote?

When you register for the first time or change your address, your local board of canvassers will send you an acknowledgement notice at the address from which you registered. (You will also be notified by mail if your registration does not meet the requirements for any reason.) If you do not receive the acknowledgement notice within three weeks, you should contact your local board of canvassers.

If you are not sure whether you have already registered, you can check with the board of canvassers in your home town, or use our Voter Information Center.

Can I keep my home address secret?

All the information on a voter registration form is public record except your driver's license and social security numbers. However, there is an exception for victims of domestic violence or voters living with victims of domestic violence.

If you have a court-ordered restraining order against another person to prevent domestic violence, you and your co-habitants may vote without making your residence address part of a public record.