What voters should know as mail-in ballot application deadline approaches
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The 2020 Presidential Election is just three weeks away, but this week there are important deadlines voters should know about.
Voters have until 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 13, to drop their mail ballot applications off at one of the drop boxes across the state.
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says this year is a first in many ways.
“This is a really unusual year in Rhode Island, across the country and across the world,” Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said. “The COVID pandemic has really asked us to really think about how we do things. We wanted to make sure no Rhode Islander has to sacrifice their health for their constitutional right to vote.”
It’s the first widespread mail-in voting system where the state has already received 165,000 mail ballot applications as of Friday. That number is four times their previous high in the 2016 election.
“That means there’s a really big demand out there for voting from home,” Gorbea said.
To see if your mail-ballot application has been received, you can check your status on vote.ri.gov. However, if you missed the deadline, there are options.
“Your next option is to vote early in person,” Gorbea said. “You can go into your city or town hall and vote for the next 20 days early in person. Finally, your last option is to vote on November 3rd.”
Early voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 14 across the state, which is another first for the state aside from the state primary.
Registered voters can go to their local board of canvassers. All you have to do is bring an ID. All in person options require masks and social distancing.
Gorbea says while there are a lot of changes, you can trust that your vote will count.
“There’s a lot of stuff happening all over our country and I can’t speak to other places, but in Rhode Island, the Board of Elections, your local board of canvassers and the Secretary of State’s Office are working really hard to ensure that this election goes smoothly and that every voter has the ability to vote in whatever way they feel comfortable voting.”
To vote by mail or in-person, you must be a registered voter. The deadline for that has already passed.
If you haven’t gotten registered, your only option is to vote in-person at select locations on Election Day. You can only vote for the Presidential and Vice Presidential race.