RI Secretary of State asking voters to drop mail-in ballot off starting Friday

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – As Rhode Island’s Primary Election nears closer on September 8, it’s the first time the state is using a widespread mail-in ballot system.

Starting Friday, the Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is asking voters to stop mailing in their ballots and instead drop them off at one of the drop boxes across the state. It’s part of an effort to ensure that your ballot makes it to the Board of Elections Office by 8:00 p.m. on Primary Day so that your vote is counted.

The Secretary of States Office says out of 48,700 mail-in ballot requests, only 25,000 have been received.

“At this point it’s Friday, we’ve got a Labor Day holiday on Monday, I would not risk having the ballot get there September 9th and then having your vote not count,” Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said.

All you have to do is find your nearest drop box on vote.ri.gov and drop it in the bin. You can then check the website to make sure your ballot has been received.

That’s where ABC 6 spoke to Aaron Gregoire.

“It’s more for ease,’ Gregoire said. “I’m concerned the polling stations are going to be kind of crazy during Election Day.”

The Secretary of State says if you check the website on September 8 and your ballot has not been received, you can still vote provisionally.

For those who did not request mail-in ballots, but are concerned about crowds on Primary Day, you can still vote early Friday and Monday.

However, not everyone is convinced about the new widespread mail-in voting system.

“If you can go to the store with a mask, why can’t you go to the ballot with a mask?” David Gomes of East Providence said. “I am definitely voting in person.”

In Massachusetts, votes are still being counted days after the primaries.

However, Gorbea says every state has its own system. Rhode Island recently purchased high speed scanning and sorting equipment for the board of elections that will help with the processing of mail-in sorting ballots.

“We are receiving a lot more mail-in ballots this year than ever before,” Gorbea said. “So, as part of the way to speed up the process, those machines are helping us automate processes that would otherwise take a lot of people and a lot of time.”

If you have any questions related to voting, call the voter information hotline at 211.

Categories: News, Politics, Providence, Rhode Island