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Vote at the Polls
Before heading to the polls, be sure to visit your personal Voter Information Center to:
- Verify that your address is up to date.
- See a sample ballot to familiarize yourself with the races and questions you will vote on.
- Find your polling place and check polling place hours.
- Find contact information for your local board of canvassers in case any issues arise.
When Election Day arrives, follow the steps below to make sure you are ready to #BEAVOTER!
Bring A Valid Photo ID
Poll workers will ask you to show a current and valid photo ID when you vote at your polling place. If you do not bring an acceptable photo ID to the polls, you may cast a provisional ballot. This means that your vote may be counted by your local board of canvassers after they verify your eligibility.
For a complete list of acceptable photo IDs and to learn about provisional ballots, refer to the FAQ section.
Get your ballot
Check in with poll workers by giving your name, address and photo ID. They will locate your name in the electronic poll book and ask you to sign on the electronic poll pad.
The poll workers will initial your signature and provide you with the appropriate ballot and a secrecy folder. The secrecy folder helps to ensure the privacy of your election choice(s).
Go to the voting booth
Once in the voting booth, be sure to check both sides of the ballot before you start marking it. Some elected offices or questions may appear on the back of the ballot.
Mark your ballot
Completely fill the oval next to your choice(s) using the black pen provided.
To vote for a candidate whose name is not on the ballot, you can fill in the oval to the left of “Write-in” and print the name clearly in the box.
If you make a mistake while marking your ballot, a poll worker will be able to assist you in obtaining a replacement ballot.
Proceed to the voting machine
To protect your privacy, place the ballot in the secrecy folder and proceed to the voting machine.
Counting your vote
Remove your ballot from the secrecy folder and insert your ballot into the voting machine.
The machine will scan your vote and indicate that your vote is counted.
If you made an error while voting, the machine will indicate that you made an error and ask if you would like to correct your error or continue casting your ballot.
Place the empty secrecy folder on the table next to the voting machine and proudly wear your “I voted” sticker.
What is a valid photo ID?
Rhode Island state law requires voters to present a valid photo ID at the polling place before being allowed to vote.
The following is a list of photo IDs you can show at the polling place:
- RI driver's license/permit
- US passport
- ID card issued by any federally recognized tribal government
- ID card issued by an educational institution in the United States
- US military identification card
- ID card issued by the US government or State of Rhode Island (RIPTA bus pass, etc.)
- Government issued medical card
- RI Voter ID card
What if I don't have a valid photo ID?
If you don’t have an acceptable form of photo identification, the Department of State will issue you one.
You must provide one of these proofs of identity to receive a free voter ID card:
- Employee ID card
- ID card provided by a commercial establishment
- Credit or debit card
- Military ID card
- Student ID card
- Health Club ID card
- Insurance Plan ID card
- Public Housing ID card
If you do not have one of the proofs of identity above, you must bring one of the documents below to obtain a free voter ID card.
It must include your name and be dated since November 8, 2016, unless the document is intended to be of a permanent nature such as a pardon or discharge:
- Utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government paycheck
- Document issued by a government agency
- Official elections document issued by a government agency, dated for the election in which the registered voter is providing it as proof of identity
- Voter notification issued by a governmental agency
- Public housing ID card issued by a governmental agency
- Lease or rental statement or agreement issued by a governmental agency
- Student ID card issued by a governmental institution/agency or non-governmental institution/agency
- Tuition statement or bill issued by a governmental agency
- Insurance plan card or drug discount card issued by a governmental agency
- Discharge certificates, pardons, or other official documents issued to the registered voter by a governmental agency in connection with the resolution of a criminal case, indictment, sentence or other matter
- Public transit authority senior citizen and disabled discount ID card issued by a governmental agency
- ID documents issued by governmental disability agencies
- ID documents issued by homeless shelters and other 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
If you do not bring an acceptable photo ID to the polling place, you will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. For more information regarding provisional voting, visit the State Board of Election’s website.
To apply for a RI Voter ID, visit the RI Department of State’s Elections Division Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at 148 W. River St. in Providence.
What happens if the voting machine jams, how do I cast my ballot?
If the voting machine malfunctions, please see a poll worker for instructions.
What if I need assistance casting my vote?
You can request the assistance of a bipartisan pair of poll workers. Federal and state laws allow voters who are blind, disabled, or unable to read or write to bring a person of their choice into the voting booth. An affidavit must be completed.
If I am still in line when the polls close at 8:00 p.m., will I be allowed to cast my vote?
Yes. you will be allowed to cast your vote if you are in line at your polling location by 8:00 p.m.
Can I bring my child(ren) with me to the polls?
Anyone under the age of 18, can go with an adult into the voting booth, provided that the child(ren) are under the voters care and supervision.
Are campaigns allowed inside polling places?
Rhode Island General Laws, Section 17-19-49 currently prohibits the display or distribution of any poster, paper, circular or document that would aid, injure or defeat any candidate for public office or any political party or any question on the ballot.
This law prohibits such display within the voting place or within fifty (50) feet of the entrance or entrances to the building in which voting is taking place at any primary or election.
Election officials, that is, wardens, moderators, clerks and bi-partisan supervisors, assigned to a polling place are also prohibited from displaying or wearing any political party button, badge or other device that is intended to aid, injure or defeat the candidacy of any person for public office or any question on the ballot or to intimidate or influence any voter.
The State Board of Elections has oversight of the conduct of elections at polling places and that office should be contacted if you have any specific questions as to what campaigning is allowed.