BRISTOL-WARREN, RI — Voting is already well underway for the Nov. 3 general election in Rhode Island, both through mail ballots and early, in-person voting.
In addition to the presidential and congressional races, there are several key races at the state and local level, as well as one statewide ballot question. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, voting, like so much else, looks a lot different this year, and final results are not expected until at least a few days after the election.
The deadline to register to vote and request a mail ballot have passed in Rhode Island. To check your voting status, visit the Secretary of State’s elections website. There, voters can also find their polling place, or check the status of their mail ballot.
Requests for mail ballots had to be submitted by Oct. 13. Voters who requested a mail ballot must complete and return it by 8 p.m. on election night. There are several options to return signed, sealed absentee ballots: by mail or delivered by hand to a secure election drop box or the voter’s local Board of Canvassers. Voters can check the status of their mail ballot online, on the Secretary of State’s website.
Find a list of dropboxes here.
Early in-person voting
Early, in-person voting is offered from Oct. 14 to Nov. 2. Voters fill out their ballot at their town or city hall. Here are a few things to remember.
- Bring a valid photo ID. Voters who do not have an acceptable form of ID will be given a provisional ballot.
- Wear a fabric face covering. The Rhode Island Department of Health is asking Rhode Islanders to make mask wearing “the norm” to cut down on the transmission of coronavirus in the state.
- Don’t touch your face while at the polling location.
- Maintain a social distance of at least six feet from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after voting.
- Bring a pen, such as a blue or black ink sharpie or Paper Mate Flair, if you do not want to borrow one.
In Bristol, there are six local questions on the ballot, listed below.
- Question two: Changing the town administrator position title to “mayor.”
- Question three: An amendment to the town charter allowing the town council to appoint an interim town administrator if needed, in the event a member of the council cannot fill a sudden vacancy.
- Question four: Amending the town charter to allow the town council 90 days to appoint a town solicitor and probate judge, after the election.
- Question five: Eliminating the residency requirement for the sealer of weights and measures.
- Question six: Changing the town charter to align purchasing requirements with the state law.
- Question seven: Amending the town charter to eliminate the requirement that the capital project commission meet at least four times annually.
There are nine voting precincts in the town. A list of polling places for Election Day is available on the town’s website. Call the Bristol Board of Canvassers at 401-253-7000 for information about early in-person voting.