PROVIDENCE, RI — All active Rhode Island voters will receive a mail ballot application for the upcoming general election Nov. 3, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea announced Friday. To help the Board of Elections process the expected high number of ballots, Gov. Gina Raimondo authorized the Rhode Island National Guard to help with clerical work.
“Making it easy for Rhode Islanders to vote safely and securely from home will ensure that voters aren’t forced to choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote,” Gorbea said.
Mail ballot applications will be sent to all voters considered “active,” meaning they are registered and has not had a piece of election material returned as undeliverable. Frequency of voting is not a factor. Applications will begin arriving at voters’ homes this weekend and next week, giving voters plenty of time to get them filled out and returned before the Oct. 13 deadline.
“Many Rhode Island voters have demonstrated they prefer to vote safely by mail during the current pandemic,” said John Marion, the executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island. “Sending mail ballot applications to eligible voters is a common-sense step that will allow more voters that option for November.”
Those who wish to vote in the Nov. 3 election have until Oct. 4 to register, which can be completed online. The early voting period will begin Oct. 14.
The National Guard involvement in mail ballot processing will be purely clerical, Gorbea’s office said, and no guard members will actually handle mail ballots or make any decisions related to whether a voter receives one.
To help make it easier for voters to return their mail ballots, secure drop boxes will be placed in every community in the state. A list of drop box locations is available here.
Voters can register to vote, update their information, check the status of their mail ballots and more on the Secretary of State’s website. New this year, voters can call 211 with election questions, thanks to a partnership with the United Way.
This article originally appeared on the Cranston Patch