All eligible R.I. voters to receive mail-in ballot applications for November election
PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea made multiple announcements Friday about how voting will look different for the November election.
Every active registered voter in the state will receive a mail ballot application starting this week.
Gorbea says it’s to reduce the spread of COVID during what she expects to be record voter turnout this year.
“This is going to make it easy to vote from home this November, and it’s going to ensure that voters don’t have to choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote,” she said.
The National Guard will now be involved in processing those applications.
“The Guard will only be opening the envelopes, unfolding the paper, putting into piles that are sorted by city and town,” Gorbea said. “And that’s it.”
Voters can place their completed mail ballots in any of 40 secure drop boxes across the state.
The Board of Elections can start processing those ballots 20 days before Election Day.
“As they come in, so that it’s not waiting until right after the election – which we know the volume, especially that we’re going to see for this general election,” said Jennie Johnson of the Rhode Island Board of Elections.
Officials say the results won’t likely be available as quickly as in previous years.
“Because of the different methods we’re providing due to the pandemic, it is to be expected that the election results will take a little bit longer,” Gorbea said.
Voters can also cast ballots in-person at the state’s polling places up to 20 days before Election Day.
Those who vote by mail can track their ballots online at vote.ri.gov.