RHODE ISLAND: VOTE BY MAIL FOR SECURE ELECTIONS IN 2020

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR RHODE ISLAND ELECTIONS OFFICIALS

ABOUT THIS RESOURCE

Sightline’s state-by-state guides are designed to give local election officials and legislators the information they need to identify and take the most important steps to get ready for November. Each set of state-specific resources includes best practices and established models from around the country, including practical nuts and bolts advice for clerks, materials from election administrators with experience conducting all mail elections, and information about vendors and costs.

How Rhode Island is prepared for Vote By Mail

  • Provides a postage-prepaid return envelope for mailed ballots.
  • Gives voters sufficient opportunity to cure signature problems.
  • Allows any voter to request an absentee ballot.
  • Is a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).
  • Allows county clerks to start processing ballots sufficiently early.
  • Allows voters to request a replacement ballot online.
  • Allows community organizations to collect and deliver sealed ballots.
  • Automatically registers voters and updates their address.

RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR SECURE ELECTIONS

Within each section, recommendations are arranged roughly in order of importance and ease of implementation.

For Local Election Officials
  • Coordinate with USPS.
  • Design ballots and envelopes that are easy to use.
  • Provide secure drop boxes.
  • Provide Election Day vote centers for in-person voting.
  • Consider using a professional printer and ballot sorter.
  • Count ballots at a secure centralized facility.
  • Invest in high-speed centralized equipment.
For Rhode Island’s Secretary of State
  • Use a comprehensive system to track ballots.
  • Mail absentee application forms to all registered voters.
For Lawmakers
  • Account for voters with nontraditional addresses.
  • Give voters a “single sign-up” option.
  • Use the voter’s signature to validate the ballot.
  • Allow counties to accept ballots postmarked on Election Day.
  • Allow voters to request an absentee ballot online.
  • Allow voters to request replacement ballots online.
  • Allow early in-person voting options.

Download the full Rhode Island action packet, with detailed information for each recommendation.

Rhode Island's Grade for Vote By Mail preparedness = C-

Our grading system: We evaluated each state on 16 factors, covering access, administration efficiency, security, and infrastructure.

 

Contact us

We welcome your questions and feedback. Email Kristin Eberhard, director of Sightline’s Democracy research program.

Photos: Vote By Mail in Rhode Island. Shutterstock.