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Vote by mail

2016 Mail Ballot Deadlines

Description of event Party Primaries General Election
Deadline to apply for a Braille/tactile ballot application August 1 September 26
Last day to apply for a mail ballot August 23
October 18
Mail ballot applications:    
Emergency mail ballot period - contact your local board of canvassers August 24 thru September 12 October 19 thru November 7
Ballot to be received by the State Board of Elections Election Day
Tuesday, September 13 by 8 pm
Election Day
Tuesday, November 8 by 8 pm

Rhode Island voters:

+ Rhode Island voters can vote by mail ballot in the following circumstances:
  1. A voter within the State of Rhode Island who is incapacitated to the extent that it would be an undue hardship to vote at the polls because of illness, or mental or physical disability, blindness, or serious impairment of mobility.
  2. A voter who is confined to any hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, rest home, or similar institution, public or private, within the State of Rhode Island.
  3. A voter who will be temporarily absent from the State because of employment or service intimately connected with military operations or who is a spouse or legal dependent residing with that person, or a United States citizen that will be outside of the United States. For more information please visit our military and overseas voters section.
  4. A voter who may not be able to vote at his or her polling place in his or her city or town on the day of the election.

Military/Overseas voters:

+ Rhode Island military/overseas voters use a special process to receive and return their mail ballot.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program provides step-by-step guidance on how a military/overseas voter can apply for and receive their mail ballot.

Out of state voters:

+ Registered to vote in another state, but living temporarily in Rhode Island?
You can still vote in your state's election with an absentee ballot: Find all mail ballots applications for upcoming elections.

Instructions for voting by mail ballot:

Step 1

Apply for a mail ballot.

Rhode island Mail Ballot

Download the application or call your local board of canvassers to request one.

Submit your mail ballot application to your local board of canvassers.

Step 2

Mark your ballot.

Rhode island Mail Ballot

Completely fill the oval next to your choice(s).

Step 3

Complete oath envelope.

Rhode island Mail Ballot

Insert voted ballot into the oath (smaller) envelope and seal it.

Print name.

Sign it.

Two individuals OR a notary must witness your signature.

Step 4

Mail or hand-deliver your ballot.

Rhode island Mail Ballot

Place completed oath envelope into the larger envelope addressed to the State Board of Elections.

Your mail ballot must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Frequently asked questions

What if I need help completing my mail ballot?
Contact your local board of canvassers if you need help with voting and/or witnessing your ballot.

Anyone applying for a mail ballot from a nursing home, convalescent home, or similar institution will have their ballot delivered by a bipartisan pair of supervisors appointed by the State Board of Elections. The bipartisan pair will provide assistance as needed and serve as witnesses for the voter.

Any voter who is blind or visually impaired is eligible to request a Braille or tactile mail ballot. A voter must request a Braille or tactile mail ballot from their local board of canvassers at least 45 days before an election.

Can I check to see if my mail ballot was received?
You can check to see if your mail ballot was received by the State Board of Elections by viewing your personal information in the Voter Information Center.

What if I miss the mail ballot application deadline and I cannot vote in person?
If emergency circumstances arise after the regular mail ballot application deadline, you can apply for an emergency mail ballot at your local board of canvassers until 4 p.m. on the day before the election. The State Board of Elections must receive your voted emergency mail ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

What if I do not receive my mail ballot or if I make a mistake or the ballot is damaged?
Request a replacement mail ballot by contacting our office at (401) 222-2340 or via email

Do I have to reapply for a mail ballot each time I want to vote by mail?
Yes, but voters who are permanently disabled or incapacitated can submit a Certification of Permanently Disabled or Incapacitated Voter for Automatic Application For Mail Ballot form to their local board of canvassers. This allows permanently disabled voters to be designated to receive a mail ballot application for each election in their jurisdiction.