Rhode Island | Voting Guide

Registration Deadlines and Election Dates

Voter Registration Deadline: 30 days before Election Day

  • State Primary Election Registration Deadline: August 9

  • State Primary Election: September 8

  • General Election Registration Deadline: October 4

  • General Election: November 3

  • Rhode Island allows for same day registration for the Presidential Election. However, if you register the day of the Presidential Election, you will only be allowed vote for the President and Vice-President.

Official Election Websites
Register at School or Home

Students have a choice about where to register to vote.


Students attending college may register at their campus address or choose to remain registered or register at their permanent or home address.


You may only be registered and vote in one location.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

Rhode Island’s voter registration form asks for your Rhode Island driver’s license or ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Rhode Island’s online form requires your Rhode Island driver’s license or ID number. Be sure to provide one of these numbers if you have one. If you do not have an ID or Social Security number, you may be asked to provide any of the following forms of identification at the time of registration, prior to voting, or at the time of voting:

  • U.S. Passport

  • Identification issued by a United States educational institution

  • U.S. Military identification card

  • Identification issued by the U.S. or State of Rhode Island

  • Government-issued medical card

  • Employee identification card

  • Identification card provided by a commercial establishment

  • Credit or debit card

  • Student identification card issued by a recognized United States educational institution

  • Health club identification card

  • Insurance plan identification card

  • Public housing identification card

Or a copy of any of the following documents, provided that the document includes the name and current address of the individual presenting it, and is dated since the date of the last general election, unless the document is intended to be of a permanent nature such as a pardon or discharge:

  • Utility bill

  • Bank statement

  • Document issued by a government agency

  • Lease or rental statement

  • Student identification card of tuition statement or bill issued by a recognized United States education institution

  • Insurance plan card

What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

Poll workers will ask you to show a current and valid photo ID when you vote at your polling place. The list of acceptable forms of ID includes:

  • Rhode Island driver’s license or permit

  • Rhode Island voter ID card

  • United States passport

  • Student ID card issued by a U.S. educational institution

  • United States military ID card

  • ID card issued by the United States or the State of Rhode Island (RIPTA bus pass, etc.)

  • Government issued medical card

  • Tribal ID

  • The state will provide free photo ID to voters who don’t have one. Registered voters who don’t have an acceptable photo ID can get a free voter ID at the Election Division office during normal business hours or select other locations on specific days. For more information, contact the Election Division at 401–222–2340 or elections@sos.ri.gov.

  • Voters who do not bring an acceptable ID to their polling place can vote using a standard provisional ballot. The ballot will be counted if the signature given at their polling place matches the signature on the voter registration.

Identification is not required to vote by mail.

Where Do I Vote?

Make a plan. Check your voter registration and absentee ballot status, look up your voting site and hours at: https://sos.ri.gov/vic

How Can I Vote?


Early Voting Period for the November 3 General Election: October 14 to November 2.

Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot: October 13 at 4:00 p.m.

Rhode Island voters who cannot, or prefer not, to vote in person can vote by mail.

All active Rhode Island voters will be mailed an absentee ballot application.

By Mail

  • Rhode Island allows voters to vote by mail-in ballot if they are unable to vote at their polling place on Election Day.

  • Applications must be received by the local board of canvassers no later than 4 p.m. on the 21st day before the election.

  • Contact your local election officials for a mail ballot or access it online.

  • The State Board of Elections must receive the completed mail ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Early In-Person

In the 20 days leading up to Election Day, you can vote in person at your city or town hall during their regular business hours. Contact your local board of canvassers for their normal business hours.

Election Day

Voting sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. If you are in line by the closing time, you have a right to vote.

Common Questions/Concerns

Registering to Vote Does Not Affect Your:

Federal Financial Aid

Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants, Perkins or Stafford loans, or your dependency status for FAFSA.

Status as a Dependent on Your Parents’ Taxes

Being registered to vote at a different address from your parents does not prevent them from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes.

Tuition Status

Being deemed out-of-state for tuition purposes does not prevent you from choosing to register to vote in your campus community.


Will registering to vote in Rhode Island affect my driver’s license or car registration?

Under Rhode Island law, a person who is registered to vote in Rhode Island is a resident of the state. Rhode Island residents are required to obtain a Rhode Island driver’s license and register their vehicles with the state within 30 days of becoming a resident. For more information, visit the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicle’s website at http://www.dmv.ri.gov/.

Fair Elections Center and Campus Vote Project intend the information contained herein to be used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed Rhode Island legal professional.


Last updated September 2020