A small state dominated by Democrats, Rhode Island is one of the weaker blue states in terms of registration and voting processes.
EveryDistrict Action Fund is not currently tracking any pro-voting legislation in Rhode Island. Contact your legislator using the FIND MY LEGISLATOR button below and encourage them to introduce legislation that would implement one of EveryDistrict Action Fund’s recommendations for Rhode Island.
Automatic Voter Registration- Governor Raimondo signed House Bill 5702 into law in July 2017, implementing automatic voter registration. While AVR in Rhode Island has started at the Department of Motor Vehicles, the legislation allows it to expand to social service agencies.
RECOMMENDATION: Ensure that expansion of automatic voter registration to social service agencies does take place.
Online Voter Registration- Online voter registration is provided in Rhode Island. The registration deadline is 30 days before Election Day.
Same-Day Registration- Rhode Island does not allow for same-day registration.
RECOMMENDATION: Implement same-day registration.
Voter ID Requirement- Photo Voter ID is required to vote in Rhode Island. Valid forms of identification include Rhode Island voter card, driver’s license, student ID, military ID, and government-issued medical card. Without an ID, a voter must sign a provisional ballot with signature check.
RECOMMENDATION: Eliminate Voter ID requirement due to suppressive effect.
Early Voting- Rhode Island does not allow early voting.
RECOMMENDATION: Implement early voting in Rhode Island.
No Excuse Absentee- Rhode Island requires voters to provide an excuse before voting absentee; the list of required excuses is very restrictive.
RECOMMENDATION: Eliminate excuse requirement for absentee voting.
Mail-In Voting- Mail-in voting is only permitted in the context of the restrictive absentee voting process.
RECOMMENDATION: Move Rhode Island toward a mail-in vote state in line with practices in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Felon Re-Enfranchisement- Returning citizens have their voting rights automatically restored upon release from prison.
Voter Bill of Rights- While Rhode Island does have a voter bill of rights, it is not easily accessible for Rhode Island voters.
RECOMMENDATION: Make the voter bill of rights clearly accessible on appropriate websites and provide directly to voters.
Polling Hours- Polls open at 7 am or 8 am and close at 8 pm for 12-13 hours of voting time on Election Day.
RECOMMENDATION: Extend voting time to 14 hours on Election Day.
Wait Time Service Standard- Like other states, Rhode Island does not have a wait time service standard. With few voting options due to the lack of early voting, Rhode Island critically needs to establish standards to limit wait times for voters.
RECOMMENDATION: Implement and monitor a wait time service standard for polling places in Rhode Island.
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