As the United States draws nearer to a presidential election in the midst of a deadly pandemic, many states have adjusted how they are holding their elections to minimize in-person contact at the polls, including Rhode Island.
Rhode Island had mail-in voting before 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic prompted lawmakers to do away with a requirement for a voter to fill out their ballot in the presence of two witnesses or a notary public.
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Registered voters can request an application online, in person at a local board of canvassers, or call and request one to be sent in the mail. The deadline for submitting the application is Oct. 13.
Rhode Island currently allows anyone to apply for a mail-in ballot if they “may not be able to get to the polls on Election Day,” and they do not have to provide a reason.
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People who missed the deadline can apply for an emergency mail ballot from their local board of canvassers within 20 days of the election. If their request is granted, they will receive the emergency ballot and an envelope, which they must return to the board of canvassers.
The deadline for mail ballots to be received by the state board of elections is 8 p.m. on Election Day.