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Vote by mail

Voting by mail ballot is a way for voters to cast a ballot if they are unable to vote at the polls on Election Day.

Any qualified Rhode Island voter may 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. An elector 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. An elector 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. An elector 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.

Steps to voting by mail ballot

Step One: Submit a mail ballot application for that election to your local board of canvassers. The local board of canvassers must receive the mail ballot application at least 21 days before an election. Applications must be signed originals, and cannot be emailed.

Step Two: Once you receive your ballot, you should start by reviewing it and all enclosures. Follow all the instructions and complete your ballot.

Step Three: After completing your ballot, insert it into the oath (smaller) envelope and seal it. Fill in the information on the outside of the oath envelope as required. Then sign the envelope. Unless you are a military or overseas voter, two individuals OR a notary must witness your signature.

Step Four: Place the sealed oath envelope containing your ballot into the larger envelope that is addressed to the State Board of Elections. You can mail or hand-deliver your ballot, but the State Board of Elections must receive your mail ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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Frequently asked questions

What if I need help completing my mail ballot?
The law permits you to receive help completing your ballot from a bipartisan pair of supervisors. Contact your local board of canvassers for more information.

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.

Further, 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 with 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 can't 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 us at (401) 222-2340 or

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.

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Are you 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
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