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Early voting now open to all in RI: No explanation or application required

Motif has analyzed a few of the hotly contested races and the statewide referendum questions (“News Analysis – Elections 2022: Few contested races remain after primaries”, by Michael Bilow, Oct 5).

Every registered voter in RI is allowed to vote early with no need for explanation or pre-approval: just show up at your local city or town hall during their published hours and vote. Early voting began Oct 19 and continues until Nov 7, the day before election day, which is Nov 8. If you do not vote early, you can vote on election day when polls are open statewide 7am – 8pm (except on Block Island where they open at 9am).

For the current election cycle, you must have been registered on or before Oct 9. You can check your registration status: vote.sos.ri.gov/Home/UpdateVoterRecord You can look up your in-person election day polling place and view a sample ballot for your precinct: vote.sos.ri.gov/Home/PollingPlaces

Each city or town has its own schedule for early voting, published by the secretary of state – vote.sos.ri.gov/Elections/PollingPlaceHours – on the web. Most are Mon – Fri during the business day, 9am – 4pm, but some are open a little earlier or a little later, a few close early on Fri, and in some cases they are open on the last weekend before election day.

RI requires that you present photo identification in order to vote: to be used for voting purposes, it must not be expired more than six months prior but need not list a current address. Valid forms of photo identification include RI driving license or permit, US passport, ID card issued by any federally recognized tribal government, ID card issued by an educational institution in the US, US military ID card, ID card issued by the US or RI government agency (such as a RIPTA bus pass), government-issued medical card, or RI Voter ID card. If anyone needs photo identification to vote, they can get a RI Voter ID card at no cost from the Elections Division at the RI Department of State; telephone (401)222-2340 or e-mail elections@sos.ri.gov to learn how. The Elections Division can also accommodate those, such as transgender voters, whose current appearance or name may not match their photo identification.

The voting process in RI uses a large-format paper ballot on card stock that is marked with a felt-tip pen and then inserted by the voter for optical scanning. If for reasons of disability a voter is unable to use the regular system, they can be accommodated by an accessible “ExpressVote” using a touch-screen.

After completing the process, you should be issued an “I voted” sticker.

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