How to Register to Vote in Rhode Island?
Voter registration is a process where people eligible to vote to enroll on an electoral roll before being entitled or permitted to vote. The rules governing certification vary from state to state.
- In some states, registration is automatic, while in some voter has to apply to register
- Some jurisdictions have ‘election day registration’ while others do not
- Registration by those of voting age is compulsory in some states while in others, it is optional
- Only those states where voting is voluntary have a voter registration drive
- Not all, but many jurisdictions offer online registration
Voter registration has more benefits than shortcomings. The most important being, it acts as a positive reinforcement on citizens to cast their vote.
Eligibility to vote in Rhode Island
To register to vote in Rhode Island, the applicant must
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be a Rhode Island citizen
- Be at least 16 years of age; voter must be 18 to vote on election day
- Not be considered mentally incompetent by the court of law
- Not be currently incarcerated for a felony conviction. Voting rights are restored upon being released from incarceration. Those on parole/probation are eligible to vote
How to register to vote in Rhode Island?
One must complete the voter registration to be able to vote in Rhode Island. Applicants can register to vote online, by mail or in person.
Online: The applicant can register to vote at the state’s voter registration center portal which provides various online services. Personal information such as name as on the driver’s license, date of birth and driver’s license or identification card number has to be submitted. If the applicant does not have a Rhode Island driver’s license or identification card, the form can be completed by following the printing and mailing instructions.
By mail or in person: The applicant has to complete the Rhode Island Voter Registration Form or the National Voter Registration Form to register to vote in Rhode Island. Forms are also available at the local board of canvassers, Rhode Island DMV office, or other state agencies. The filled form can be submitted by mail or in person to county’s board of canvassers, and in person to local DMV office.
First-time voter registration in Rhode Island
Applicants who opt for mail-in registration and are registering to vote for the first time have to submit proof of identification. They have to provide Rhode Island driver's license number or the DMV issued ID number. In case the applicant does not have either of the two, the Social Security number can be submitted. If the applicant does not have any of the three, he/she will have to provide any document providing identification of the applicant mentioned below.
- Rhode Island Driver's License or Permit
- Rhode Island ID card
- United States passport
- An ID issued by a U.S. educational institution
- ID card issued by the United States or the State of Rhode Island
- U.S. military ID
- The government issued a medical card
- Tribal ID
- Insurance plan identification card
- Employee identification card
- Public housing identification card
- Utility bill
- Bank statement
- Lease or rental statement
Military and overseas voter registration in Rhode Island
Rhode Island residents serving in the military and stationed outside Rhode Island and U.S. citizens living overseas can register to vote by filling the Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request Federal Post Card Application form. The applicant can also use the Federal Voting Assistance Program's online registration.
Out of state voter registration in Rhode Island
Out of state residents can register to vote online or by the mail registration process. Out of state residents can apply for a mail ballot. The application must be physically present in the office before the deadline. Regardless of the postmark date, application received after the deadline will not be accepted.
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good. It is, but one step more to think one vote will not harm". One should remember that if you don't vote, you lose the right to complain.