Senate Bill #2007 (2022)

AN ACT RELATING TO ELECTIONS -- SECRETARY OF STATE -- LET RI VOTE ACT

Allows voting by mail without needing an excuse/improves voter roll cleanup/allows applying for mail ballots through online system/allows nursing home residents to receive mail ballot applications automatically/codifies mail ballot drop box requirements.

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  • 2022 – S 2007
  • 2022 – S 2007 SUBSTITUTE A
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  • LC003182
  • LC003182/SUB A
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  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2022
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO ELECTIONS – SECRETARY OF STATE – LET RI VOTE ACT
  • S TATE OF RHODE IS LAND
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2022
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO ELECTIONS – SECRETARY OF STATE – LET RI VOTE ACT
  • Introduced By: Senators Euer, Coyne, Quezada, McCaffrey, Goodwin, Sosnowski,
  • Miller, Archambault, Pearson, and Gallo
  • Miller, Archambault, Pearson, and Gallo
  • Date Introduced: January 06, 2022
  • Referred To: Senate Judiciary
  • It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
  • SECTION 1. Section 17-6-13 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-6 entitled "Secretary of State" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 17-6-13. Electoral process education Electoral process educationVoter information hotline.
  • (a) During each year in which a general election is to be held, the secretary of state shall identify communities within the state in need of electoral process education by outreaching community organizations. Electoral process education shall consist of instruction on how a person may become a candidate for electoral office and how a person registers and votes for candidates for electoral office. The secretary of state shall furnish electoral process education throughout the state of Rhode Island in a manner to be determined by the secretary of state.
  • (b)Thesecretaryof state shall make available a freetelephone hotline to provide the public with information about the electoral process, including the voting process, registering to vote, and polling locations. This hotline shall be available in multiple languages.
  • SECTION 2. Section 17-9.1-27 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-9.1 entitled "Registration of Voters" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • SECTION 1. Section 17-6-13 of the GeneralLaws in Chapter 17-6 entitled "Secretary of State"is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 17-6-13.ElectoralprocesseducationElectoralprocesseducationVoterinformation hotline.
  • (a) During each year in which a generalelection is to be held, the secretaryof state shall identify communities within the state in need of electoral process education by outreaching community organizations. Electoralprocess education shall consist of instruction on how a person may become a candidate for electoral office and how a person registers and votes for candidates for electoral office. The secretaryof state shall furnish electoral process education throughout the state of Rhode Island in a manner to be determined by the secretary of state.
  • (b) The secretaryofstateshall make available afreetelephone hotline to provide the public with information about the electoralprocess, including the voting process, registering to vote, and polling locations. This hotline shall be available in multiple languages.
  • SECTION 2. Section 17-9.1-27 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-9.1 entitled "Registration of Voters"is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 17-9.1-27. Periodic updating of voter registration records.
  • (a) In every odd-numbered year Not less than four (4) times within a calendar year, the secretary of state shall update the central voter register using the United States Postal Service National Change of Address (NCOA) Program. The office of the Secretary of State shall be responsible for obtaining the NCOA data and providing each local board of canvassers with their data; provided, that the updating shall be performed by each local board. The NCOA list of address changes shall be compared by the local board with lists of registered voters, and if address changes are detected for any voter, the local board shall institute the confirmation process described in § 17-9.1-26.
  • (b) Each local board of canvassers in each city or town shall send annually, a notice prescribed by the secretary of state and marked "Do Not Forward – Return if Undeliverable", to every active registered voter who has not voted in the past five (5) calendar years and has not otherwise communicated with the board during that period of time, advising them of their current polling place and voting eligibility, and informing them that mail that is returned as undeliverable will initiate the confirmation process described in § 17-9.1-26; provided, however, that the local boards shall not be obligated to send such notice if the state or federal government fails to appropriate the necessaryfunds. Themailingshall take place in all municipalities and be performed in a uniform manner, in accordance with standards adopted by the secretary of state and the list maintenance procedures provided by the National Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg.
  • (c) The secretary of state shall promulgate regulations for the uniform implementation of this section, consistent with all applicable federal voting laws. Such regulations shall be adopted in accordance with the rulemaking provisions of § 42-35-1 et seq.
  • (d) Beginning thirty (30) days before any state election and through certification of that election, local boards shall cease all list maintenance procedures required by this section.
  • SECTION 3. Section 17-10-1 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-10 entitled "Canvassing the Lists of Qualified Electors" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • (a) In every odd-numbered year Not less than four (4) times within a calendar year, the secretary of state shall update the central voter register using the United States Postal Service National Change of Address (NCOA) Program. The office of the Secretary of State shall be responsible for obtaining the NCOA data and providing eachlocal board of canvassers with their data;provided, thatthe updating shall be performedby eachlocalboard. The NCOA list of address changes shall be comparedby the local boardwith lists of registeredvoters, andif address changes are detectedfor any voter, the local board shall institute the confirmation process described in § 17-9.1-26.
  • (b) Each local board of canvassers in each city or town shall send annually, a notice prescribed by the secretaryof state and marked "Do Not Forward – Return if Undeliverable", to every active registered voter who has not voted in the past five (5) calendar years and has not otherwise communicated with the board during that period of time, advising them of their current polling place and voting eligibility, and informing them that mail that is returnedas undeliverable will initiate the confirmation process described in § 17-9.1-26; provided, however, that the local boards shall not be obligated to send such notice if the state or federal government fails to appropriate the necessaryfunds.The mailing shalltake place in all municipalities andbe performed in a uniform manner, in accordance with standards adopted by the secretaryof state and the list maintenance procedures provided by the National Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg.
  • (c) The secretary of state shall promulgate regulations for the uniform implementation of this section, consistent with all applicable federalvoting laws.
  • (d) Beginning ninety (90) days before any state election and through certification of that election, local boards shall cease alllist maintenance procedures required by this section.
  • SECTION 3. Section 17-10-1 of the GeneralLaws in Chapter 17-10 entitled "Canvassing the Lists of Qualified Electors" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 17-10-1. Maintenance of registration – Inactive file.
  • (a) The local board or its duly authorized agent shall maintain the files of registration cards in a condition that will correctly represent the registration of qualified voters at all times. It shall continuallypurgethecardsofvotersnolonger qualifiedtovoteinthecityortown.It shall promptly record all changes of address, changes of name, and transfers and cancellations of registration.
  • (b) If a confirmation card has been mailed to a registered voter at an address outside of the city or town of the voter's current registered address for voting purposes, or if the confirmation card has been mailed to an address within the same city or town where the voter is registered, which card was sent to confirm the voter's continuing residence within the city or town and not merely to confirm information provided by or through the postal service concerning a change of address within the city or town, and in both cases the voter has failed to respond to the confirmation card, the voter shall be stricken from the voting list and the voter registration shall be canceled if the voter has not voted or appeared to vote in an election during the period beginning on the date of mailingof the confirmationcard and endingon the dateafter the date ofthe secondgeneral election that occurs after the date of mailing of the card. Provided, that the registration of any person shall not be canceled during his or her service in the armed forces of the United States and during two (2) years thereafter. A voter whose registration has been canceled shall not thereafter be eligible to vote unless that voter shall again register in accordance with the provisions of this title and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of this state. The local board shall notify the secretary of state of any cancellation.The local board shall notify each voter whose registration has been canceled by a notice addressed to the voter at the voter's last known address, and a memorandum that the notice has been sent shall be maintained on file by the local board; provided, that failure to give or receive the notice shall not affect the cancellation of the voter's registration. The local board shall take affirmative action to purge the voter's name from its files of registration cards.
  • (c) Using the central voter registration system, upon receipt of the monthly list of individuals who have died from the office of vital statistics, as prescribed by § 23-3-5 or provided by the federal Social Security Administration's master death list, the secretary of state shall identify all voter registrations that may be reflected on the list and so notify electronically, the local board of canvassers of each applicable city or town. The local board, upon receipt of the list of deceased persons from the secretary of state, or upon receipt of an affidavit of death on forms prescribed by the secretary of state, shall promptly purge its files of registration cards by removing the cards of each deceased elector and canceling the voter registration information of the deceased elector from the central voter registration system.
  • (d) The local board shall maintain a separate list of all new registrations and all transfers of registration which are received by the board within the thirty (30) day period prior to the close of registration prior to each primary, regular, and special election. The list shall be maintained until the time that the election is held.
  • (a) The localboard or its duly authorized agentshall maintain the files of registration cards in a condition that will correctly represent the registration of qualified voters at all times. It shall continually purge the cardsof voters nolonger qualified tovote in the city or town. Itshallpromptly record allchanges of address, changes of name, and transfers and cancellations of registration.
  • (b) If a confirmation cardhas beenmailed to a registeredvoter atanaddress outside of the city or town of the voter's currentregisteredaddressfor voting purposes, or if the confirmation card has been mailed to an address within the same city or town where the voter is registered, which cardwas senttoconfirm the voter's continuing residence within the city or town and not merely to confirm information provided by or through the postal service concerning a change of address within the city or town, and in both cases the voter has failed to respond to the confirmation card, the voter shall be stricken from the voting list and the voter registration shall be canceled if the voter has not voted or appearedto vote in an election during the period beginning on the date of
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 2of 23 mailing of the confirmation cardand ending onthe date afterthe dateof the secondgeneralelection that occurs after the date of mailing of the card. Provided, that the registration of any person shall not be canceled during his or her service in the armed forces of the United States and during two (2) years thereafter. A voter whose registration has been canceled shallnot thereafter be eligible to vote unless that voter shall again register in accordance with the provisions of this title and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of this state. The local board shall notify the secretaryof state of anycancellation. The local boardshall notify eachvoter whose registration has been canceled by a notice addressed to the voter at the voter's last known address, and a memorandum thatthe notice has beensentshall be maintained on file by the local board;provided, that failure to give or receive the notice shall not affectthe cancellation of the voter's registration. The local board shall take affirmative action to purge the voter's name from its files of registration cards.
  • (c) Using the central voter registration system, upon receipt of the monthly list of individuals who have died from the office of vital statistics, as prescribed by § 23-3-5 or provided by the federalSocial Security Administration's masterdeathlist, the secretaryof stateshall identify all voter registrations that may be reflectedon the list and so notify electronically, the local board of canvassers of eachapplicable city or town. The local board, upon receipt of the list of deceased persons from the secretaryof state, or upon receipt of an affidavit of death on forms prescribed by the secretaryof state,shall promptly purge its files of registration cards by removing the cards of eachdeceasedelector andcancelingthe voter registration information of the deceasedelector from the centralvoter registration system.
  • (d) The local board shall maintain a separate list of all new registrations and all transfers of registration which are received by the board within the thirty (30) day period prior to the close of registration prior to eachprimary, regular, andspecialelection. The list shall be maintained until the time that the election is held.
  • SECTION 4. Section 17-19-8.1 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-19 entitled "Conduct of Election and Voting Equipment, and Supplies" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 17-19-8.1. Ballots for voters who are blind, visually impaired or disabled.
  • (a) Any voter who is blind or visually impaired or disabled is eligible to request a special ballot for voting by mail ballot. Special mail ballots are available in Braille or tactile format.
  • (b) Requests must be made in writing to the local board of canvassers where the person is registered to vote or through the electronic voter registration portal established by §§ 17-20-2.3 and 17-20-8 at least forty-five (45) twenty-one (21) days before the election for which the voter is requesting the special ballot. In addition, the request will be valid for all elections held during the calendar year in which the request was received and in which the voter is eligible to participate. Applicants must also file the appropriate mail ballot application as required by chapter 20 of this title for each election in which they wish to participate.
  • (c)Theofficeofthesecretaryofstateshall prepareandprovidetheappropriateform,which shall be available at local boards and upon request from the office of the secretary of state. The voter may also choose to submit his or her request in writing without using the form provided, as long as the communication contains all of the required information. The request shall include the following information:
  • (a) Any voter who is blind or visually impaired or disabled is eligible to requesta special ballot for voting by mail ballot. Special mail ballots are available in Braille or tactile format.
  • (b) Requests must be made in writing to the local board of canvassers where the personis registeredto vote or through the electronic voter registration portal established by §§17-20-2.3 and 17-20-8 at least forty-five (45) twenty-one (21) days before the election for which the voter is requesting the special ballot. In addition, the requestwill be valid for all elections held during the
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 3of 23 calendar year in which the request was received and in which the voter is eligible to participate. Applicants must also file the appropriate mail ballot application as required by chapter 20 of this title for each election in which they wish to participate.
  • (c)The office of the secretaryof state shallprepare andprovide the appropriate form,which shall be available at local boards and upon request from the office of the secretaryof state. The voter may also choose to submit his or her request in writing without using the form provided, as long as the communication contains all of the required information. The request shall include the following information:
  • (1) The name and registered address of the voter;
  • (2) A daytime telephone number;
  • (3) An indication of whether this request is for the entire calendar year or only for the next upcoming election;
  • (3) Anindication of whether this requestis for the entire calendar year or only for the next upcoming election;
  • (4) The voter's political party affiliation, if the request for a special ballot is also for primaries;
  • (5) Indicate the special ballot format.
  • (d) All requests received by local boards must be processed and forwarded to the office of the secretary of state within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt. The secretary of state shall maintain a list of all persons requesting special Braille or tactile mail ballots and must forward a copy of the list to the state board of elections at least eighteen (18) days before the date of any election.
  • (e) The state board may adopt rules and regulations for the procedure for the manual reproduction of voted ballots, when necessary, and the tabulation of Braille and tactile mail ballots.
  • (f) The office of the secretary of state shall be responsible for the preparation and distribution of special Braille and tactile mail ballots. Whenever possible, the secretary of state shall prepare the Braille or tactile mail ballot so that the voted ballot can be read by the tabulation equipment, rather than being manually reproduced by election officials onto a machine readable ballot.
  • (g) The office of the secretary of state may adopt rules and regulations setting forth the procedure for the preparations and distribution of the Braille and tactile mail ballots.
  • (h)Theofficeofthesecretaryofstateshall prepareandpublishaguidedescribingthetypes of ballots available and the manner in which each ballot can be voted. This guide shall be revised whenever the types of ballots available are updated. This guide shall be available in print, Braille, audio, or other accessible formats.
  • (i) The office of the secretary of state shall establish a special Braille and tactile ballot program for voters who are blind or visually impaired. The office of the secretary of state shall expand the special ballot service to other voters with disabilities, as feasible, as determined by the secretary of state, and incorporate other accessible formats as technology and resources allow.
  • (5) Indicate the specialballot format.
  • (d) All requests receivedby local boards must be processedand forwardedto the office of the secretaryof state within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt. The secretaryof state shallmaintain a list of all persons requesting specialBraille or tactile mail ballots andmust forwarda copy of the list to the state board of elections at least eighteen (18) days before the date of any election.
  • (e) The state board may adopt rules and regulations for the procedure for the manual reproduction of voted ballots, whennecessary,andthe tabulation of Braille andtactile mail ballots.
  • (f) The office of the secretary of state shall be responsible for the preparation and distribution of special Braille and tactile mail ballots. Whenever possible, the secretary of state shall prepare the Braille or tactile mail ballot so that the voted ballot canbe readby the tabulation equipment, rather than being manually reproduced by election officials onto a machine readable ballot.
  • (g) The office of the secretaryof state may adopt rules and regulations setting forth the procedure for the preparations and distribution of the Braille and tactile mail ballots.
  • (h) The office of the secretaryofstateshallprepareandpublish a guide describing the types of ballots available and the manner in which eachballot canbe voted. This guide shall be revised whenever the types of ballots available are updated. This guide shall be available in print, Braille, audio, or other accessible formats.
  • (i) The office of the secretary of state shall establish a special Braille and tactile ballot program for voters who are blind or visually impaired. The office of the secretaryof state shall
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 4of 23 expand the specialballot service to other voters with disabilities, as feasible, as determined by the secretary of state, and incorporate other accessible formats as technology and resources allow.
  • (j) In accordance with the Help America Vote Act of 2003, the voting system at each polling place shall be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation as for other voters.
  • SECTION 5. Sections 17-20-1, 17-20-1.1, 17-20-2, 17-20-2.1, 17-20-2.2, 17-20-3, 17-20- 8, 17-20-9, 17-20-10, 17-20-13, 17-20-13.1, 17-20-14, 17-20-14.1, 17-20-14.2, 17-20-21, 17-20- 23, 17-20-24.1 and 17-20-30 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-20 entitled "Mail Ballots" are hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 17-20-1. Voting by mail ballot.
  • The electors of this state who, for any of the reasons set forth in § 17-20-2, being otherwise qualified to vote, are unable to vote in person, shall have the right to vote, in the manner and time provided by this chapter, in all general and special elections and primaries, including presidential primariesinthisstateforelectorsof president and vice-president of the UnitedStates, United States senators in congress, representatives in congress, general officers of the state, senators and representatives in the general assembly for the respective districts in which the elector is duly qualified to vote, and for any other officers whose names appear on the state ballot and for any city, town, ward, or district officers whose names appear on the respective city or town ballots in the ward or district of the city or town in which the elector is duly qualified to vote, and also to approve or reject any proposition of amendment to the Constitution or other propositions appearing on the state, city, or town ballot.
  • The electors of this state who,for any of the reasons setforth in § 17-20-2, being otherwise qualified to vote, are unable to vote in person, shall have the right to vote, in the manner and time provided by this chapter, in all generaland specialelections and primaries, including presidential primaries in this statefor electorsof presidentand vice-president of the United States,United States senators in congress, representatives in congress, general officers of the state, senators and representatives in the general assembly for the respective districts in which the elector is duly qualified to vote, andfor anyother officers whose names appear onthe state ballot andfor any city, town, ward, or district officers whose names appear on the respective city or town ballots in the wardor district of the city or townin which the elector is duly qualified tovote, and alsoto approve or reject any proposition of amendment to the Constitution or other propositions appearing on the state, city, or town ballot.
  • 17-20-1.1. Declaration of policy.
  • Those electors who are unable to vote in person at the polls for the reasons set forth in § 17-20-2 vote by mail are entitled to vote in a manner which reasonably guarantees the secrecy of their ballots. The procedures set forth in this chapter are designed to promote the effective exercise of their rights while safeguarding those voters who utilize the mail ballot process from harassment, intimidation, and invasion of privacy. The procedures are intended to prevent misuse of the electoral system by persons who are not eligible to vote by mail ballot. The provisions of this chapter shall be interpreted to effectuate the policies set forth in this section.
  • Those electors who are unable to vote in person at the polls for the reasons setforth in § 17-20-2 vote by mail are entitled to vote in a manner which reasonably guarantees the secrecyof their ballots. The procedures setforthin this chapter are designedto promote the effective exercise of their rights while safeguarding those voters who utilize the mail ballot process from harassment, intimidation, and invasion of privacy. The procedures are intended to prevent misuse of the electoral system by persons who are not eligible to vote by mail ballot. The provisions of this chapter shallbe interpreted to effectuate the policies set forth in this section.
  • 17-20-2. Eligibility for mail ballots.
  • Any otherwise qualified elector may vote by mail ballot in the following circumstances:
  • (1) An elector, within the State of Rhode Island who is incapacitated to the extent that it would be an undue hardship to vote at the polls because of illness, or mental or physical disability, blindness, or serious impairment of mobility;
  • (1) An elector, within the State of Rhode Island who is incapacitated to the extent that it would be anundue hardship to vote atthe polls because of illness, or mental or physical disability,
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 5of 23 blindness, or serious impairment of mobility;
  • (2) An elector who is confined in any hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, rest home, or similar institution, public or private, within the State of Rhode Island;
  • (3) An elector who will be temporarily absent from the state because of employment or serviceintimatelyconnectedwithmilitaryoperationsorwhoisaspouseorlegaldependent residing with that person, or a United States citizen that will be outside of the United States;
  • (3) An elector who will be temporarily absent from the state because of employment or serviceintimately connectedwith military operations or who is a spouseor legal dependentresiding with that person, or a United States citizen that will be outside of the United States;
  • (4) An elector who may not be able to vote at his or her polling place in his or her city or town on the day of the election chooses to vote by mail for any reason.
  • 17-20-2.1. Requirements for validity of mail ballot and mail ballot applications.
  • (a) Any legally qualified elector of this state whose name appears upon the official voting list of the city, town, or district of the city or town where the elector is qualified, and who desires to avail himself or herself of the right granted to him or her by the Constitution and declared in this chapter, may obtain from the local board in the city or town an affidavit a form prepared by the secretary of state as prescribed in this section, setting forth the elector's application for a mail ballot or may apply online in accordance with § 17-20-2.3.
  • (a) Any legally qualified elector of this state whose name appears upon the official voting list of the city, town, or district of the city or town where the elector is qualified, and who desires to avail himself or herself of the right grantedto him or her by the Constitution anddeclaredin this chapter, may obtain from the local board in the city or town an affidavit a form prepared by the secretaryof state as prescribed in this section, setting forth the elector's application for a mailballot or may apply online in accordance with § 17-20-2.3.
  • (b) Whenever any person is unable to sign his or her name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, that person shall make his or her mark "X".
  • (c) The application, when duly executed, shall be delivered To receive a ballot in the mail, an elector must submit an application in person, or by mail, or electronically, so that it is received by the local board, not later than four o'clock (4:00) p.m. on the twenty-first (21st) day before the day of any election referred to in § 17-20-1.
  • (d) In addition to those requirements set forth elsewhere in this chapter, a mail ballot, in order to be valid, must have been cast in conformance with the following procedures:
  • (1) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(1) shall be mailed to the elector at the Rhode Island address provided by the elector on the application. In order to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature on all certifying envelopes containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public or before two (2) witnesses who shall set forth their addresses on the form.
  • (2) All applications for mail ballots pursuant to § 17-20-2(2) must state under oath the name and location of the hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, or similar institution where the elector is confined. All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(2) shall be delivered to the elector at the hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, or similar institution where the elector is confined; and theballots shall be voted and witnessed in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.
  • (3) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(3) shall be mailed to theaddress provided by the elector on the application or sent to the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence. In order to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature of the elector on the certifying envelope containing voted ballots does not need to be notarized or witnessed. Any voter qualified to receive a mail ballot pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(3) shall also be entitled to cast a ballot pursuant to the provisions of United States Public Law 99-410 ("UOCAVA Act").
  • (4) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(4) may be mailed to the elector at the address within the United States provided by the elector on the application or sent to the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence. In order to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature on all certifying envelopes containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public, or other person authorized by law to administer oaths where signed, or where the elector voted, or before two (2) witnesses who shall set forth their addresses on the form. In order to be valid, all ballots sent to the elector at the board of canvassers, must be voted in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.2.
  • (c) The application, whenduly executed, shall be delivered To receive a ballot in the mail, anelector must submit an application in person or by mail, so thatit is received by the local board, or receivedelectronically through the portal established by § 17-20-2.3, not later than four o'clock (4:00) p.m. on the twenty-first (21st) day before the day of any election referred to in § 17-20-1.
  • (d) In addition to those requirements setforth elsewhere in this chapter, a mail ballot, in order to be valid, must have been cast in conformance with the following procedures:
  • (1) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(1) shall be mailed to the elector at the Rhode Island address provided by the elector on the application. In order to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature on all certifying envelopes containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public or before two (2) witnesses who shall setforth their addresses on the form.
  • (2) All applications for mail ballots pursuant to § 17-20-2(2) must state under oath the name and location of the hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, or similar institution where the elector is confined. All mail ballots issued pursuant tosubdivision 17-20-2(2) shall be delivered to the elector at the hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, or similar institution where the elector is confined; and the ballots shall be votedand witnessedin conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 6of 23
  • (3) All mail ballots issued pursuantto subdivision 17-20-2(3) shall be mailed tothe address provided by the elector on the application or sent to the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence. In order to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature of the elector on the certifying envelope containing voted ballots does not need to be notarized or witnessed. Any voter qualified to receive a mail ballot pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(3) shall also be entitled to casta ballot pursuant to the provisions of United States Public Law 99-410 ("UOCAVA Act").
  • (4) All mail ballots issued pursuant to subdivision 17-20-2(4) may be mailed to the elector at the address within the United States provided by the elector on the application or sent to the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence. In order to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature on all certifying envelopes containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public, or other person authorized by law to administer oaths where signed, or where the elector voted, or before two(2) witnesses whoshall setforth their addresses onthe form. In order to be valid, all ballots sentto the elector atthe board of canvassers, must be voted in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.2.
  • (e) Any person knowingly and willfully making a false application or certification, or knowingly and willfully aiding and abetting in the making of a false application or certification, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be subject to the penalties provided for in § 17-26-1.
  • (f) In no way shall a mail ballot application be disqualified if the voter's circumstances change between thetime of makingthe application and votinghis or her mail ballot as longas voter remains qualified to receive a mail ballot under the provisions of § 17-20-2. The local board of canvassers shall provide the state board of elections with written notification of any change in circumstances to a mail ballot voter.
  • (f) In no way shall a mail ballot application be disqualified if the voter's circumstances change betweenthe time of making the application and voting his or her mail ballot as long asvoter remains qualified to receive a mail ballot under the provisions of § 17-20-2. The local board of canvassers shall provide the state board of elections with written notification of any change in circumstances to a mailballot voter.
  • 17-20-2.2. Requirements for validity of emergency mail ballots.
  • (a) Any legally qualified elector of this state whose name appears upon the official voting list of the town or district of the city or town where the elector is so qualified, who on account of circumstances manifested twenty (20) days or less prior to any election becomes is eligible to vote by mail ballot according to this chapter, may obtain from the local board an application for an emergency mail ballot or may complete an emergency in-person mail ballot application on an electronic poll pad at the board of canvassers where the elector maintains his or her residence.
  • (b) The emergency mail ballot application, when duly executed, shall be delivered in person, electronically, or by mail so that it shall be received by the local board not later than four o'clock (4:00) p.m. on the last day preceding the date of the election.
  • (c) The elector shall execute the emergency mail ballot application in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, which application shall contain a certificate setting forth the facts relating to the circumstances necessitating the application.
  • (d) In addition to those requirements set forth elsewhere in this chapter, an emergency mail ballot, except those emergency mail ballots being cast pursuant to subsection (g) of this section, in order to be valid, must have been cast in conformance with the following procedures:
  • (1) All mail ballots issued pursuant to § 17-20-2(1) shall be mailed to the elector at the state of Rhode Island address provided on the application by the office of the secretary of state, or delivered by the local board to a person presenting written authorization from the elector to receive the ballots, or cast in private at the local board of canvassers. In order to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature of the voter on the certifying envelope containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public, or other person authorized by law to administer oaths where signed, or where the elector voted, or before two (2) witnesses who shall set forth their addresses on the form. In order to be valid, all ballots sent to the elector at the board of canvassers must be voted in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.2.
  • (2) All applications for emergency mail ballots pursuant to § 17-20-2(2) must state under oath the name and location of the hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, or similar institution where the elector is confined. All mail ballots issued pursuant to this subdivision shall be delivered to the elector by the bipartisan pair of supervisors, appointed in conformance with this chapter, and shall be voted and witnessed in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.
  • (3) All mail ballots issued pursuant to § 17-20-2(3) shall be mailed by the office of the secretary of state to the elector at an address provided by the elector on the application, or cast at the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence. The signature of the elector on the certifying envelope containing the voted ballots issued pursuant to the subdivision does not need to be notarized or witnessed. Any voter qualified to receive a mail ballot pursuant to § 17-20-2(3) shall also be entitled to cast a ballot pursuant to the provisions of United States Public Law 99-410 ("UOCAVA Act").
  • (4) All mail ballots issued pursuant to § 17-20-2(4) shall be cast at the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence or mailed by the office of the secretary of state to the elector at the address within the United States provided by the elector on the application, or delivered to the voter by a person presenting written authorization by the voter to pick up the ballot. In order to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature of the voter on all certifying envelopes containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public, or other person authorized by law to administer oaths where signed, or where the elector voted, or before two (2) witnesses who shall set forth their addresses on the form. In order to be valid, all ballots sent to the elector at the board of canvassers must be voted in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.2.
  • (e) The secretary of state shall provide each of the several boards of canvassers with a sufficient number of mail ballots for their voting districts so that the local boards may provide the appropriate ballot or ballots to the applicants. It shall be the duty of each board of canvassers to process each emergency ballot application in accordance with this chapter, and it shall be the duty of each board to return to the secretary of state any ballots not issued immediately after each election.
  • (a) Any legally qualified elector of this state whose name appears upon the official voting list of the town or district of the city or town where the elector is so qualified, who on account of circumstances manifested twenty(20) days or less prior to any election becomes is eligible to vote by emergency mail ballot according to this chapter. Within twenty (20) days or less prior to any election, the elector may obtain from the local board an application for an emergency mail ballot or may complete an emergency in-person mail ballot application on an electronic poll pad at the board of canvassers where the elector maintains his or her residence.
  • (b) The emergency mail ballot application, when duly executed, shall be delivered in person or by mail so that it shall be receivedby the local board, or receivedelectronically through the portal established by § 17-20-2.3, not later than four o'clock (4:00) p.m. on the last day
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 7of 23 preceding the date of the election.
  • (c) The elector shall execute the emergencymail ballot application in accordance withthe requirements of this chapter, which application shall contain a certificate setting forth the facts relating to the circumstances necessitating the application.
  • (d) In addition to those requirements setforthelsewhere inthis chapter,anemergency mail ballot, exceptthose emergencymail ballots being castpursuantto subsection (g) of this section, in order to be valid, must have been cast in conformance with the following procedures:
  • (1) All mail ballots issued pursuant to § 17-20-2(1) shall be mailed to the elector at the state of Rhode Island address provided on the application by the office of the secretaryof state,or delivered by the local board toa person presenting written authorization from the elector to receive the ballots, or castin private atthe local board of canvassers. Inorder to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature of the voter on the certifying envelope containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public, or other person authorized by law to administer oaths where signed, or where the elector voted, or before two (2) witnesses who shall setforth their addresses on the form. In order to be valid, all ballots sentto the elector atthe board of canvassers mustbe voted in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.2.
  • (2) All applications for emergency mail ballots pursuant to § 17-20-2(2) must state under oath the name and location of the hospital, convalescenthome, nursing home, or similar institution where the elector is confined. All mail ballots issued pursuant to this subdivision shall be delivered to the elector by the bipartisan pair of supervisors, appointed in conformance with this chapter,and shall be voted and witnessed in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.
  • (3) All mail ballots issued pursuant to § 17-20-2(3) shall be mailed by the office of the secretaryof state to the elector at an address provided by the elector on the application, or castat the board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence. The signature of the elector on the certifying envelope containing the voted ballots issued pursuant to the subdivision does not needto be notarized or witnessed. Anyvoter qualified toreceive a mail ballot pursuant to § 17-20-2(3) shall also be entitled to casta ballot pursuant to the provisions of United States Public Law 99-410 ("UOCAVA Act").
  • (4) All mail ballots issued pursuant to § 17-20-2(4) shall be castatthe board of canvassers in the city or town where the elector maintains his or her voting residence or mailed by the office of the secretaryof state tothe elector atthe address withinthe United States provided by the elector on the application, or delivered to the voter by a person presenting written authorization by the voter topick up the ballot. In order to be valid, the voter must affix his or her signature of the voter on all certifying envelopes containing a voted ballot must be made before a notary public, or other
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 8of 23 person authorized by law to administer oaths where signed, or where the elector voted, or before two (2) witnesses who shall setforth their addresses on the form. In order to be valid, all ballots sent to the elector at the board of canvassers mustbe voted in conformance with the provisions of § 17-20-14.2.
  • (e) The secretary of state shall provide each of the several boards of canvassers with a sufficient number of mail ballots for their voting districts sothat the local boards may provide the appropriate ballot or ballots to the applicants. It shall be the duty of each board of canvassers to process eachemergencyballot application in accordance withthis chapter, and it shall be the duty of each board to return to the secretary of state any ballots not issued immediately after each election.
  • (f) Any person knowingly and willfully making a false application or certification, or knowingly and willfully aiding and abetting in the making of a false application or certification, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be subject to the penalties provided for in § 17-26-1.
  • (g) An emergency mail ballot application may be completed in person using an electronic poll pad provided by the board of canvassers upon presentation by the voter of valid proof of identity pursuant to § 17-19-24.2. Upon completion of the poll pad application, the voter shall be provided with a ballot issued by the secretary of state and upon completion of the ballot by the voter, the voter shall place the ballot into the state-approved electronic voting device, provided by the board of elections and secured in accordance with a policy adopted by the board of elections.
  • (g) An emergencymail ballot application may be completed in person using anelectronic poll pad provided by the board of canvassers upon presentation by the voter of valid proof of identity pursuant to § 17-19-24.2. Upon completion of the poll pad application, the voter shall be provided with a ballot issued by the secretaryof state and upon completion of the ballot by the voter, the voter shall place the ballot into the state-approvedelectronic voting device, provided by the board of elections and secured in accordance with a policy adopted by the board of elections.
  • 17-20-3. Definitions.
  • (a) Wherever used in this chapter, every word importing only the masculine gender is construed to extend to, and include, females as well as males.
  • (a) Wherever used in this chapter, every word importing only the masculine gender is construed to extend to, and include, females as wellas males.
  • (b) Whenever used in this chapter, "bipartisan pairs of supervisors" for primaries means a supervisor representing the endorsed candidates and a supervisor representing a majority of unendorsed candidates, and for nonpartisan elections and primaries means non-partisan pairs of supervisors.
  • (c) Wherever used in this chapter, "employed outside of the United States" includes any person who is:
  • (1) Employed by any agency, department or division of the United States government and who, by reason of that employment, resides outside of the continental United States;
  • (2) Employed outside the territorial limits of the United States; or
  • (3) A spouse or dependent residing with persons so employed.
  • (d) Wherever used in this chapter "services intimately connected with military operations" includes members of religious groups or welfare agencies assisting members of the armed forces who are officially attached to and serving with the armed forces and their spouses and dependents, and the spouses and dependents of members of the armed forces and of the merchant marine; provided, that the spouses and dependents are residing outside of the state with the members of the armed forces, merchant marine, or members of the religious or welfare agencies.
  • (d) Wherever usedin this chapter "services intimately connectedwith military operations" includes members of religious groups or welfare agencies assisting members of the armed forces
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 9of 23 who are officially attachedtoand serving with the armedforces andtheir spouses and dependents, and the spouses and dependents of members of the armed forces and of the merchant marine; provided, that the spouses and dependents are residing outside of the state with the members of the armed forces, merchant marine, or members of the religious or welfare agencies.
  • (e) Whenever a signature is required by a voter in this chapter, "signature" also means the voter's mark "X" if the person is unable to sign his or her name because of physical incapacity or otherwise.
  • (f) Whenever used in this chapter, "bipartisan" means not of the same recognized political party.
  • (g) Whenever used in this chapter, "emergency" voting pursuant to § 17-20-2.2(g) shall be construed to mean "early" voting.
  • (g) Whenever usedin this chapter, "emergency"voting pursuant to § 17-20-2.2(g) shall be construed to mean "early" voting.
  • 17-20-8. Application for ballot.
  • (a) Whenever any person is unable to sign his or her name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, that person shall make his or her mark "X".
  • (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter as to time and manner thereof, it shall be the duty of the applicant to cause the mail ballot application or the emergency mail ballot application, as the case may be, to be processed by the local board so that the applicant may receive theballot,castit,andcausedeliverythereoftobemadetothestateboardnot laterthaneight o'clock (8:00) p.m. on the date of election.
  • (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter as to time and manner thereof, it shall be the duty of the applicant to cause the mail ballot application or the emergencymail ballot application, as the case maybe,tobe processedbythe localboard so thatthe applicant may receive the ballot, castit, andcausedelivery thereofto bemade tothe stateboardnot later thaneight o'clock (8:00) p.m. on the date of election.
  • (c) The local board shall maintain a separate list of names and addresses of all applicants and their subscribing witnesses and a copy of the list shall be made available for inspection to any person upon request.
  • (d) Any person knowingly and willfully making a false application or certification or knowingly and willfully aiding and abetting in the making of a false application or certification shall be guilty of a felony.
  • (e) Voters shall be able to apply for a mail ballot electronically through the voter registration portal established by § 17-20-2.3
  • 17-20-9. Application by permanently disabled or incapacitated voters Application by permanently disabled or incapacitated voters and nursing home residents.
  • (a) A voter who is indefinitely confined because of physical illness or infirmity or is disabled for an indefinite period or who is a long-term resident in a nursing home, may, by signing an affidavit to that effect, request that an absentee a mail ballot application be sent to him or her automatically for every election. The affidavit form and instructions shall be prescribed by the secretary of state, and furnished upon request to any elector by each local board of canvassers. The envelopecontainingtheabsenteemail ballotapplicationshall beclearlymarkedasnot forwardable. If any elector is no longer indefinitely confined or is no longer residing in a nursing home, he or she shall notify the clerk of the local board of canvassers of this fact. The clerk shall remove the name of any voter from the mailing list established under this section upon receipt of reliable information that a voter no longer qualifies for the service. The voter shall be notified of the action within five (5) days after the board takes the action.
  • (b) The affidavit form and instructions prescribed in this section shall be mailed to the applicant along with a stamped return envelope addressed to the local boards of canvassers. The secretary of state may process applications pursuant to this section through the online mail ballot application portal established by § 17-20-2.3.
  • (c) For purposes of this section, "nursing home" refers to facilities defined and licensed by the department of health."Long-term" excludesanyresidentstemporarilyresidingin suchafacility for rehabilitation.
  • (d) The secretary of state shall maintain a list in the central voter registration system of all voters who automatically receive applications for mail ballots, pursuant to this section.
  • (e) Voters shall be able to apply for a mail ballot electronically through the voter registration portal established by § 17-20-2.3.
  • 17-20-9. Applicationbypermanentlydisabledorincapacitatedvoters Applicationby permanently disabled or incapacitated voters and nursing home residents.
  • (a) A voter who is indefinitely confined because of physical illness or infirmity or is disabled for anindefinite period or who is a long-term resident in a nursing home, may, by signing an affidavit to that effect,request that an absentee a mail ballot application be sent to him or her automatically for every election. The affidavit form and instructions shall be prescribed by the secretaryof state,andfurnished upon requestto anyelector by eachlocalboard of canvassers. The
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 10of 23 envelope containing theabsenteemail ballot application shall beclearly markedasnot forwardable. If any elector is no longer indefinitely confined or is no longer residing in a nursing home, he or she shall notify the clerk of the local board of canvassers of this fact. The clerk shall remove the name of any voter from the mailing list established under this section upon receipt of reliable information thata voter no longer qualifies for the service. The voter shall be notified of the action within five (5) days after the board takes the action.
  • (b) The affidavit form and instructions prescribed in this section shall be mailed to the applicant along with a stamped return envelope addressedto the local boards of canvassers. The secretaryof state may process applications pursuant to this section through the online mail ballot application portal established by § 17-20-2.3.
  • (c) For purposes of this section, "nursing home" refers tofacilities defined and licensed by the departmentof health. "Long-term" excludes anyresidents temporarily residing in sucha facility for rehabilitation.
  • (d) The secretaryof state shall maintain a list in the centralvoter registration system of all voters who automatically receive applications for mail ballots, pursuant to this section.
  • 17-20-10. Certification of applications – Issuance of ballots – Marking of lists – Mailing address.
  • (a) Upon receipt of the application, the local board shall immediately examine it and determine whether it complies with each of the requirements set forth by this chapter and compare the signature on the ballot application with the signature contained on the original registration card, except as may be otherwise provided by law, to satisfy itself that the applicant is a qualified voter. Upon determining that it does meet each requirement of this chapter and that the signature appears to be the same, the local board shall mark the application "accepted" and record in the space provided on the ballot application the senatorial, representative, and voting district in which the applicant should vote.
  • (b) The local board shall also record the city or town code and district information in the mailinglabel section of themail ballot application.Thelocal board shall also print or type the name of the elector and the complete mailing address in that section. If the local board does not accept the application, the local board shall return the application to the elector, together with a form prescribedbythesecretaryofstate,specifyingthereasonorreasonsforthereturnoftheapplication.
  • (c) Not later than 4:00 p.m. on the eighteenth (18th) day before the day of any election referred to in this chapter or within seven (7) days of receipt by the local board, whichever occurs first, the local board shall certify the applications to thesecretary of state through the CVRS system as this procedure is prescribed by the secretary of state. Upon the certification of a mail ballot application to the secretary of state, the local board shall enter on the voting list the fact that a mail ballot application for the voter has been certified and shall cause the delivery of the certified mail ballot applications together with the signed certified listing thereof in sealed packages to the state board of elections.
  • (d)(1) Upon the ballots becoming available, the secretary of state shall immediately issue and mail, by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a mail ballot to each eligible voter who has been certified. With respect to voters who have applied for these mail ballots under the provisions of § 17-20-2(1), the secretary of state shall include with the mail ballots a stamped, return envelope addressed to the board of elections.
  • (2) The secretary of state shall include on the mail ballot envelope a numerical or alphabetical code designating the city or town where the voter resides. The secretary of state shall immediately thereafter indicate on the voter's record that the secretary of state has sent mail ballots; provided that this mark shall serve solely to indicate that a mail ballot has been issued and shall not be construed as voting in the election.
  • (e) Prior to each election, the secretary of state shall also furnish to the chairperson of the state committee of each political party a list of the names and residence addresses of all persons to whom mail ballots have been issued. The secretary of state shall also furnish to a candidate for political office, upon request, a list of the names and residence addresses of all persons to whom mail ballots have been issued within his or her district.
  • (f) If a ballot is returned to the secretary of state by the postal service as undeliverable, the secretary of state shall consult with the appropriate local board to determine the accuracy of the mailing address, and the secretary of state shall be required to remail the ballot to the voter using the corrected address provided by the local board. If the local board is unable to provide a different address than that to which the ballot was originally mailed, the ballot shall be reissued by the secretary of state to the board of canvassers in the city or town where the voter resides utilizing the numerical or alphabetical code established in subsection (d) of this section. The board shall then attempt to notify the voter at his or her place of residence that the ballot has been returned as undeliverable. The ballot must be voted and witnessed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
  • (g) The acceptance of a mail ballot application by the board of canvassers and the issuance of a mail ballot by the secretary of state shall not create any presumption as to the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant or as to the applicant's compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Any inaccuracy in the provided information or irregularity in the application may be raised as a challenge to the ballot before the board of elections at the time of certification. If the challenge raised at that time is meritorious, the ballot shall be voided.
  • (a) Upon receipt of the application, the local board shall immediately examine it and determine whether it complies with eachof the requirements setforth by this chapter and compare the signature on the ballot application with the signature contained onthe original registration card, exceptas may be otherwise provided by law, to satisfy itself that the applicant is a qualified voter. Upon determining thatit does meeteachrequirement of this chapter andthat the signature appears to be the same, the local board shall mark the application "accepted" and record in the space provided on the ballot application the senatorial, representative, and voting district in which the applicant should vote.
  • (b) The local board shall also recordthe city or town code and district information in the mailing labelsection of the mail ballot application. The localboard shallalso print or type the name of the elector and the complete mailing address in that section. If the local board does not accept the application, the local board shall return the application to the elector, together with a form prescribedbythe secretaryofstate,specifying the reasonor reasons for the returnof the application.
  • (c) Not later than 4:00 p.m. on the eighteenth (18th) day before the day of any election referredto in this chapter or within seven (7) days of receiptby the local board, whichever occurs first, the localboard shall certifythe applications to the secretaryofstatethrough the CVRSsystem as this procedure is prescribed by the secretary of state. Upon the certification of a mail ballot
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 11of 23 application to the secretaryof state,the local board shall enter on the voting list the factthata mail ballot application for the voter has been certified and shall cause the delivery of the certified mail ballot applications together with the signed certified listing thereof in sealedpackages to the state board of elections.
  • (d)(1) Upon the ballots becoming available, the secretaryof state shall immediately issue and mail, by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a mail ballot to eacheligible voter who has been certified. With respectto voters who have applied for these mail ballots under the provisions of § 17-20-2(1), the secretary of state shall include with the mail ballots a stamped, return envelope addressed to the board of elections.
  • (2) The secretary of state shall include on the mail ballot envelope a numerical or alphabetical code designating the city or town where the voter resides. The secretaryof state shall immediately thereafterindicate on the voter's recordthatthe secretaryofstatehas sentmail ballots; provided that this mark shall serve solely to indicate thata mail ballot has beenissued and shall not be construed as voting in the election.
  • (e) Prior to eachelection, the secretaryof state shall also furnish to the chairperson of the state committee of eachpolitical party a list of the names and residence addresses of allpersons to whom mail ballots have been issued. The secretaryof state shall also furnish to a candidate for political office, upon request, a list of the names and residence addresses of all persons to whom mail ballots have been issued within his or her district.
  • (f) If a ballot is returned to the secretaryof state by the postalservice as undeliverable, the secretaryof state shall consult with the appropriate local board to determine the accuracyof the mailing address, and the secretaryof state shall be required to remail the ballot to the voter using the correctedaddress provided by the local board. If the localboard is unable to provide a different address than that to which the ballot was originally mailed, the ballot shall be reissued by the secretaryof state tothe board of canvassers in the city or town where the voter resides utilizing the numerical or alphabetical code established in subsection (d) of this section. The board shall then attempt to notify the voter at his or her place of residence that the ballot has been returned as undeliverable. The ballot must be voted and witnessed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
  • (g) The acceptance of a mailballot application by the board of canvassers andthe issuance of a mail ballot by the secretaryof state shall not create anypresumption as to the accuracyof the information provided by the applicant or as to the applicant's compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Any inaccuracy in the provided information or irregularity in the application may be raised as a challenge to the ballot before the board of elections at the time of certification. If the
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 12of 23 challenge raised at that time is meritorious, the ballot shall be voided.
  • (h) Within two (2) business days of receipt by the local board, the board shall certify emergency mail ballot applications and shall cause the delivery of the emergency mail ballot applications, and certification sheet in sealed packages to the state board of elections.
  • 17-20-13. Form of application.
  • The application to be subscribed by the voters before receiving a mail ballot shall, in addition to those directions that may be printed, stamped, or written on it by authority of the secretary of state, be in substantially the following form:
  • STATE OF RHODE ISLAND
  • APPLICATION OF VOTER FOR BALLOT FOR ELECTION ON
  • (COMPLETE HIGHLIGHTED SECTIONS)
  • NOTE – THIS APPLICATION MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF YOUR CITY OR TOWN NOT LATER THAN 4:00 P.M ON ________ BOX A (PRINT OR TYPE) NAME _________________ VOTING ADDRESS_____________________________ CITY/TOWN_________________________________________STATE RI ZIP CODE________ DATE OF BIRTH___________ PHONE # ____________ BOX B (PRINT OR TYPE) NAME OF INSTITUTION (IF APPLICABLE)_______________________________ ADDRESS__________________________ ADDRESS__________________________ CITY/TOWN____________________ STATE__________ ZIP CODE_____________ FACSIMILE NUMBER (if applicable)____________________ I CERTIFY THAT I AM ELIGIBLE FOR A MAIL BALLOT ON THE FOLLOWING BASIS; (CHECK ONE ONLY)
  • () 1. I am incapacitated to such an extent that it would be an undue hardship to vote at the pollsbecauseofillness,mental orphysicaldisability,blindnessoraseriousimpairment ofmobility. If the ballot is not being mailed to your voter registration address (BOX A above) please provide the Rhode Island address where you are temporarily residing in BOX B above.
  • NOTE – THIS APPLICATION MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF YOUR CITY OR TOWN NOT LATER THAN 4:00 P.M ON ________ BOX A (PRINT OR TYPE) NAME _________________ VOTING ADDRESS_____________________________ CITY/TOWN_________________________________________STATERI ZIP CODE________ DATE OF BIRTH___________ PHONE # ____________ BOX B (PRINT OR TYPE) NAME OF INSTITUTION (IF APPLICABLE)_______________________________ ADDRESS__________________________ ADDRESS__________________________ CITY/TOWN____________________ STATE__________ ZIP CODE_____________ FACSIMILE NUMBER (if applicable)____________________ I CERTIFY THAT I AM ELIGIBLE FOR A MAIL BALLOTON THE FOLLOWING BASIS; (CHECK ONE ONLY)
  • () 1. I am incapacitated to such an extent thatit would be anundue hardship to vote atthe polls becauseof illness, mentalor physical disability, blindness or aserious impairment of mobility. If the ballot is not being mailed to your voter registration address (BOX A above) please provide the Rhode Island address where you are temporarily residing in BOX B above.
  • () 2. I am confined in a hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, rest home, or similar institution within the State of Rhode Island. Provide the name and address of the facility where you are residing in BOX B above
  • () 3. I am employed or in service intimately connected with military operations or because I am a spouse or dependent of such person, or I am a United States citizen and will be outside the United States. Complete BOX B above or the ballot will be mailed to the local board of canvassers.
  • () 4. I may not be able to vote at the polling place in my city or town on the day of the election. Ichoose to vote by mail. If the ballot is not being mailed to your voter registration address (BOX A above) please provide the address within the United States where you are temporarily residing in BOX B above. If you request that your ballot be sent to your local board of canvassers please indicate so in BOX B above. BOX D OATH OF VOTER
  • I declare that all of the information I have provided on this form is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I further state that I am not a qualified voter of any other city or town or state and have not claimed and do not intend to claim the right to vote in any other city or town or state. If unable to sign name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, applicant shall make his or her mark "X".
  • SIGNATURE IN FULL____________________________________ Please note: A Power of Attorney signature is not valid in Rhode Island.
  • () 3. I am employed or in service intimately connected with military operations or because
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 13of 23 I am a spouse or dependent of suchperson, or I am a United States citizen and will be outside the United States. Complete BOX B above or the ballot will be mailed to the local boardof canvassers.
  • () 4. I may not be able to vote at the polling place in my city or town on the day of the election. I choose to vote by mail. If the ballot is not being mailed to your voter registration address (BOX A above) please provide the address within the United States where you are temporarily residing in BOX B above. If you requestthat your ballot be sent to your local board of canvassers please indicate so in BOX B above. BOX D OATH OF VOTER
  • I declare that all of the information I have provided on this form is true and correctto the best of my knowledge. I further state that I am not a qualified voter of any other city or town or state and have not claimed and do not intend to claim the right to vote in any other city or town or state. If unable to sign name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, applicant shall make his or her mark "X".
  • SIGNATURE IN FULL____________________________________ Please note:A Power of Attorney signature is not valid in Rhode Island.
  • 17-20-13.1. Form of emergency mail ballot application.
  • The emergency mail ballot application to be subscribed by the voters before receiving a mail ballot shall, in addition to any directions that may be printed, stamped, or written on the application by authority of the secretary of state, be in substantially the following form:
  • STATE OF RHODE ISLAND
  • EMERGENCY APPLICATION OF VOTER FOR BALLOT FOR ELECTION ON________
  • (COMPLETE HIGHLIGHTED SECTIONS)
  • NOTE – THIS APPLICATION MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF YOUR CITY OR TOWN NOT LATER THAN 4:00 P.M. ON________ BOX A (PRINT OR TYPE) NAME _______________________________________________________________________ VOTING ADDRESS____________________________________________________________ CITY/TOWN ______________STATE RI ZIP CODE _________________________________ DATE OF BIRTH____________________PHONE#___________________________________ BOX B (PRINT OR TYPE) NAME OF INSTITUTION (IF APPLICABLE) ______________________________________ ADDRESS ___________________________________________________________________ ADDRESS ___________________________________________________________________ CITY/TOWN______________STATE________ ZIP CODE ____________________________
  • (COMPLETE HIGHLIGHTED SECTIONS)
  • NOTE – THIS APPLICATION MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE BOARD OF CANVASSERSOFYOUR CITYOR TOWN NOT LATER THAN 4:00P.M. ON________ BOX A (PRINT OR TYPE) NAME _________________________________________________________________ VOTING ADDRESS_______________________________________________________ CITY/TOWN ______________STATE RI ZIP CODE ______________________________ DATEOF BIRTH____________________PHONE#________________________________ BOX B (PRINT OR TYPE) NAMEOF INSTITUTION (IFAPPLICABLE) ___________________________________ ADDRESS ______________________________________________________________ ADDRESS ______________________________________________________________ CITY/TOWN______________STATE________ ZIP CODE__________________________
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 14of 23
  • I CERTIFY THAT I AM ELIGIBLE FOR A MAIL BALLOT ON THE FOLLOWING BASIS: (CHECK ONE ONLY)
  • ( ) 1. I am incapacitated to such an extent that it would be an undue hardship to vote at the polls because of illness, mental or physical disability, blindness or a serious impairment of mobility. If not voting ballot at local board, ballot will be mailed to the address in BOX A above or to the Rhode Island address provided in BOX B above. If the ballot is to be delivered by the local boardofcanvasserstoapersonpresentingwrittenauthorizationtopickuptheballot,complete BOX A above and fill in the person's name below.
  • I hereby authorize ____________________________________ to pick up my ballot at my local board of canvassers.
  • ( ) 1. I am incapacitated to such anextent thatit would be an undue hardship to vote at the polls because of illness, mental or physical disability, blindness or a serious impairment of mobility. If not voting ballot at local board, ballot will be mailed to the address in BOX A above or to the Rhode Island address provided in BOX B above. If the ballot is to be delivered by the localboard of canvasserstoapersonpresenting writtenauthorization topick up the ballot, complete BOX A above and fill in the person's name below.
  • I hereby authorize __________________________________ to pick up my ballot at my local board of canvassers.
  • ( ) 2. I am confined in a hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, rest home, or similar institution within the State of Rhode Island. Provide the name and address of the facility where you are residing in BOX B above.
  • ( ) 3. I am employed or in service intimately connected with military operations or because I am a spouse or dependent of such person, or I am a United States citizen who will be outside the United States. If not voting ballot at local board, provide address in BOX B above.
  • ( ) 4. I may not be able to vote at the polling place in my city or town on the day of the election I choose to vote by mail. If the ballot is not being mailed to your voter registration address (BOX A above) please provide the address within the United States where you are temporarily residing in BOX B above. If you request that your ballot be sent to your local board of canvassers please indicate so in BOX B above.
  • I hereby authorize ____________________________________ to pick up my ballot at my local board of canvassers.
  • ( ) 3. I am employed or in service intimately connected with military operations or because I am a spouse or dependent of such person, or I am a United States citizen who will be outside the United States. If not voting ballot at localboard, provide address in BOX B above.
  • ( ) 4. I may not be able to vote atthe polling place in my city or town on the day of the election I choose to vote by mail. If the ballot is not being mailed to your voter registration address (BOX A above) please provide the address within the United States where you are temporarily residing in BOX B above. If you requestthat your ballot be sent to your local board of canvassers please indicate so in BOX B above.
  • I hereby authorize __________________________________ to pick up my ballot at my local board of canvassers.
  • Under the pains and penalty of perjury, I certify that on account of the following circumstances manifested twenty (20) days or less prior to the election for which I make this application. I will be unable to vote at the polls.
  • BOX D OATH OF VOTER
  • I declare that all of the information I have provided on this form is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I further state that I am not a qualified voter of any other city or town or state and have not claimed and do not intend to claim the right to vote in any other city or town or state. If unable to sign name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, applicant shall make his or her mark "X".
  • SIGNATURE IN FULL _____________________________________________
  • Please note: A Power of Attorney signature is not valid in Rhode Island.
  • 17-20-14. Voting from hospitals, convalescent homes, nursing homes, rest homes or similar institutions public or private within the State of Rhode Island – Penalty for interference.
  • (a) The state board of elections shall appoint as many bipartisan pairs of supervisors as are necessary whose duty it shall be to attend each hospital, rest home, nursing home and convalescent home, or similar types of personal care facility in the state within twenty (20) days prior to the election. They shall supervise the casting of votes by persons using mail ballots at a place that preserves their secrecy and shall take acknowledgments or serve as witnesses, and jointly provide assistance, if requested, to assure proper marking, sealing, and mailing of ballots as voted. Every mail ballot cast by a patient in a hospital or convalescent home within this state must be witnessed by the state supervisors. It shall be the duty of the person or persons in charge of hospitals, rest homes, nursing homes and convalescent homes, or similar types of personal care facility to allow the state supervisors to perform their duties as set forth in this section at all reasonable times. Every person who willfully hinders the state supervisors in performing their duties as set forth in this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • (b) It shall be the responsibility of the state board of elections to provide all bipartisan pairs of supervisors with an official identification card. All bipartisan pairs of supervisors will be required to have in their possession their identification card when conducting official business.
  • (c) Any person who deliberately misrepresents themselves as an official of the board of elections, or who deceives, coerces, or interferes with a voter casting a ballot, shall be subject to prosecution under § 17-20-30.
  • I declare that all of the information I have provided on this form is true and correctto the best of my knowledge. I further state that I am not a qualified voter of any other city or town or state and have not claimed and do not intend to claim the right to vote in any other city or town or state. If unable to sign name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, applicant shall make his or her mark "X".
  • SIGNATURE IN FULL _________________________________________
  • Please note:A Power of Attorney signature is not valid in Rhode Island.
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 15of 23
  • 17-20-14.Voting from hospitals, convalescent homes, nursing homes, rest homes or similar institutions public or private within the State of Rhode Island – Penalty for interference.
  • (a) The state board of elections shall appoint as many bipartisan pairs of supervisors as are necessarywhose dutyit shall be toattend each hospital, rest home, nursing home and convalescent home, or similar types of personal care facility in the state within twenty (20) days prior to the election. They shall supervise the casting of votes by persons using mail ballots at a place that preserves their secrecyandshall take acknowledgments or serve as witnesses, and jointly provide assistance, if requested, to assure proper marking, sealing, and mailing of ballots as voted. Every mail ballot castby a patient in a hospital or convalescenthome within this state must be witnessed by the state supervisors. It shall be the duty of the person or persons in charge of hospitals, rest homes, nursing homes and convalescent homes, or similar types of personal care facility to allow the state supervisors to performtheir duties as setforthin this section atall reasonable times. Every person who willfully hinders the state supervisors in performing their duties as set forth in this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • (b) Itshall be the responsibility of the stateboard of elections to provide all bipartisan pairs of supervisors with an official identification card. All bipartisan pairs of supervisors will be required to have in their possession their identification card when conducting official business.
  • (c) Any person who deliberately misrepresents themselves as an official of the board of elections, or who deceives, coerces,or interferes with a voter casting a ballot, shall be subject to prosecution under § 17-20-30.
  • 17-20-14.1. Mail ballots – Local supervision.
  • Each local board shall be authorized to appoint one or more bipartisan pairs of supervisors in the manner that other bipartisan pairs of supervisors are appointed for each election, whose duty it shall be to attend each person who makes an application for a mail ballot under §§ 17-20-2.1 and 17-20-2.2, who does not fall under the provisions of § 17-20-14, and who requests that a bipartisan pair of supervisors be sent by the board of canvassers to that person's place of residence for the purpose of supervising or assisting the mail voter in casting his or her vote. The bipartisan pairs of supervisors shall supervise the casting of votes by persons using the mail ballot at a place that preserves their secrecy and shall take acknowledgments or serve as witnesses, and jointly provide assistance, if requested, to assure proper marking, sealing, and mailing of ballots as voted. The failure or neglect of any local board to appoint these bipartisan pairs, or the failure or neglect of any pair to attend any place at which a mail voter's ballot may be used, or the marking, sealing, or mailing of ballots in the absence of any pair, shall not invalidate any ballot.
  • Eachlocal board shall be authorized to appoint one or more bipartisan pairs of supervisors in the manner thatother bipartisan pairs of supervisors are appointed for each election, whose duty it shall be to attendeachperson who makes an application for a mailballot under §§ 17-20-2.1 and 17-20-2.2, whodoes not fall under the provisions of § 17-20-14, and who requests thata bipartisan pair of supervisors be sent by the board of canvassers to that person's place of residence for the purpose of supervising or assisting the mail voter in casting his or her vote. The bipartisan pairs of supervisors shall supervise the casting of votes by persons using the mail ballot at a place that preserves their secrecyandshall take acknowledgments or serve as witnesses, and jointly provide assistance, if requested, to assure proper marking, sealing, and mailing of ballots as voted. The failure or neglect of any local board to appoint these bipartisan pairs, or the failure or neglect of any pair to attendany place at which a mail voter's ballot may be used, or the marking, sealing, or mailing of ballots in the absence of any pair, shallnot invalidate any ballot.
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 16of 23
  • 17-20-14.2. Voting from board of canvassers.
  • The local board of canvassers shall appoint as many supervisors as are necessary whose duty it shall be to supervise the casting of votes by persons using mail ballots at a place that preserves their secrecy and to take acknowledgments or serve as witnesses, and jointly provide assistance, if requested, to assure proper marking, sealing, and mailing of ballots as voted. Every certifying envelope containing a mail ballot cast at a board of canvassers must have the signature of the elector notarized by an appointed person authorized by law to administer oaths or before two (2) appointed witnesses who shall set forth their signature on the form. The certifying envelope of any mail ballot votedat thelocal board of canvassers shall be stamped bythe local boardto indicate it was voted on in conformance with the law. Every person who willfully hinders the local supervisors in performing their duties as set forth in this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The local board shall transmit a list to the state board of elections containing the names and signatures of people authorized to witness mail ballots.
  • The local board of canvassers shall appoint as many supervisors as are necessarywhose duty it shall be to supervise the casting of votes by persons using mail ballots at a place that preserves their secrecy and to take acknowledgments or serve as witnesses, and jointly provide assistance, if requested, to assure proper marking, sealing, and mailing of ballots as voted. Every certifying envelope containing a mail ballot castata board of canvassers must have the signature of the elector notarized by anappointed personauthorized bylaw to administer oaths or before two (2) appointed witnesses who shall setforth their signature on the form. The certifying envelope of anymail ballot votedatthe local boardof canvassersshallbe stampedbythe local board to indicate it was voted on in conformance with the law. Every person who willfully hinders the local supervisors in performing their duties as setforth in this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The local board shall transmit a list to the state board of elections containing the names and signatures of people authorized to witness mail ballots.
  • 17-20-21. Certifying envelopes.
  • The secretary of state shall cause to be prepared and printed and shall furnish with each mail ballot an envelope for sealing up and certifying the ballot when returned. The envelope shall be printed in substantially the following form:
  • The secretaryof state shall cause to be prepared and printed and shall furnish with each mail ballot an envelope for sealing up and certifying the ballot whenreturned. The envelope shall be printed in substantially the following form:
  • "After marking ballot or ballots, fold and enclose in this envelope and seal it. Certify to statement hereon. Enclose in envelope addressed to board of elections, which must receive the envelope not later than the time prescribed by § 17-18-11 for the closing of polling places on the day of election."
  • Date of Election______________ City/Town of__________________
  • Date of Election______________ City/Town of__________________
  • Certificate of Voter
  • Print Name of Voter
  • I swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that I am:
  • I am a United States citizen;
  • I am a resident and qualified voter of the State of Rhode Island;
  • I am eligible to cast a mail ballot under the provisions of § 17-20-2; and
  •  Iamnot qualifiedtovoteelsewhere. Ihave not and will not voteelsewhere
  • in this election.
  • I hereby attest under the pains and penalty of perjury, that the enclosed voted ballot was cast by me, and that the signature or mark on this certifying envelope was made by me.
  • Voter must sign full name here: _____________________________________________
  • (If unable to sign name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, voter shall make his
  • I swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that I am: 1. I am a United States citizen; 2. I am a resident and qualified voter of the State of Rhode Island; 3. I am eligible to cast a mailballot under the provisions of § 17-20-2; and 4. I am not qualified to vote elsewhere. I have not and will not vote elsewhere in
  • this election.
  • I hereby attestunder the pains and penalty of perjury, that the enclosed voted ballot was castby me, and that the signature or mark on this certifying envelope was made by me.
  • Voter must sign fullname here: _________________________________________
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 17of 23
  • (If unable to sign name because of physical incapacity or otherwise, voter shall make his
  • or her mark "(X)").
  • I hereby attest under penalty of perjury that the enclosed voted ballot was cast, and the
  • signature or mark on this certifying envelope was made by the voter whose name appears on
  • the label above.
  • Before me the __________ day of ___________ 20____, at ___________ (city or town),
  • county of ___________, state of ____________, personally appeared the above named voter,
  • Before me the __________dayof ___________ 20____,at___________(city or town),
  • county of ___________,state of ____________, personally appeared the above named voter,
  • to me known and known by me to be the person who affixed his or her signature to this ballot
  • envelope.
  • ___________________________________
  • Notary Public
  • Notary must also print his or her name
  • Witness:
  • ___________________________ ____________________________
  • (Signature)(Print Name) (Address)
  • (Signature)(Print Name) (Address)
  • Note: Mail ballots must either be sworn to before a notary public or before two (2) witnesses who must sign their names and addresses.
  • 17-20-23. Marking and certification of ballot.
  • (a) A voter may vote for the candidates of the voter's choice by making a mark in the space provided opposite their respective names.
  • (b) In case a voter desires to vote upon a question submitted to the vote of the electors of the state, the voter shall mark in the appropriate space associated with the answer that the voter desires to give.
  • (c)Votersreceivinga mailballot pursuant to§ 17-20-2(1),(2),and(4) shall markthe ballot in the presence of two (2) witnesses or some officer authorized by the law of the place where marked to administer oaths. Voters receiving a mail ballot pursuant to § 17-20-2(3) do not need to have their ballot witnessed or notarized. Except as otherwise provided for by this chapter, the voter shall not allow the official or witnesses to see how he or she marks the ballot and the official or witnesses shall hold no communication with the voter, nor the voter with the official or witnesses, as to how the voter is to vote. Thereafter, the The voter shall enclose and seal the ballot in the envelope provided for it. The voter shall then execute before the official or witnesses the certification on the envelope. The voter shall then enclose and seal the certified envelope with the ballot in the envelope addressed to the state board and cause the envelope to be delivered to the state board on or before election day.
  • (c)Votersreceiving amail ballot pursuantto §17-20-2(1), (2), and(4) shall markthe ballot in the presence of two (2) witnesses or some officer authorized by the law of the place where marked to administer oaths. Voters receiving a mail ballot pursuant to § 17-20-2(3) do not need to have their ballot witnessedor notarized. Exceptas otherwise provided for by this chapter,the voter shall not allow the official or witnesses to see how he or she marks the ballot and the official or witnesses shall hold no communication with the voter, nor the voter with the official or witnesses, as to how the voter is to vote. Thereafter, the The voter shall enclose and seal the ballot in the envelope provided for it. The voter shall then execute before the official or witnesses the certification on the envelope. The voter shall then enclose and sealthe certified envelope with the ballot in the envelope addressed to the state board and cause the envelope to be delivered to the
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 18of 23 state board on or before election day.
  • (d) These ballots shall be counted only if received within the time limited by this chapter.
  • (e) There shall be a space provided on the general election ballot to allow the voter to write in the names of persons not in nomination by any party as provided for in §§ 17-19-31 and 17-20- 24.
  • (e) There shallbe a space provided on the generalelection ballot to allow the voter to write in the names of persons not in nomination by any party as provided for in §§ 17-19-31 and 17-20- 24.
  • 17-20-24.1. Irregularities in obtaining and casting mail ballots.
  • The requirements set forth by this chapter controlling mail ballot eligibility and the procedure bywhich mail ballotsareobtained and cast shall bestrictlyappliedto assuretheintegrity of the electoral system. No mail ballot which was not obtained and/or cast in material conformance with the provisions of this title shall be certified by the board of elections. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 34-12-3 to the contrary, any mail ballot application or mail ballot certification notarized by a person who is not in fact a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths and take acknowledgements shall be void. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to requirethe disqualificationof aballot merelybecause the elector didnot sign theelector's full name as it is listed on the voter registration list, but omitted or included a middle initial or name, abbreviated a first and/or middle name, or made a similar omission or inclusion, as long as the board of elections can reasonably determine the identity of the voter.
  • The requirements set forth by this chapter controlling mail ballot eligibility and the procedure bywhich mail ballots areobtained andcastshall be strictly applied toassurethe integrity of the electoralsystem. Nomail ballot which was notobtained and/or castinmaterial conformance with the provisions of this title shall be certified by the board of elections. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 34-12-3 to the contrary, any mail ballot application or mail ballot certification notarized by a person who is not in fact a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths and take acknowledgements shall be void. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require thedisqualification of a ballot merely becausetheelector did notsign the elector'sfull name as it is listed on the voter registration list, but omitted or included a middle initial or name, abbreviated a first and/or middle name, or made a similar omission or inclusion, as long as the board of elections can reasonably determine the identity of the voter.
  • 17-20-30. Penalty for violations.
  • (a) Any person who knowingly makes or causes to be made any material false statement in connection with his or her application to vote as a mail voter, or who votes or attempts to vote under the provisionsof thischapter,byfraudulentlysigningthename of another upon anyenvelope provided for in this chapter, or who, not being a qualified voter and having knowledge or being chargeable with knowledge of the fact, attempts to vote under this chapter, or who votes the ballot of another voter, or who deliberately prevents or causes to prevent the mail ballot to be received by the voter or to be returned to the board of elections, or who falsely notarizes or witnesses the voter signature on the ballot application or mail ballot, or who deceives, coerces, or interferes with the voter casting his or her ballot, and any person who does or attempts to do, or aid in doing or attemptingto do, a fraudulent act in connection with any vote cast or to be cast under the provisions of this chapter, shall be guilty of a felony.
  • (a) Anyperson whoknowingly makes or causes tobe made anymaterialfalse statement in connection with his or her application to vote as a mail voter, or who votes or attempts to vote under the provisions of this chapter,byfraudulently signing the name of another upon anyenvelope provided for in this chapter, or who, not being a qualified voter and having knowledge or being chargeable with knowledge of the fact,attempts to vote under this chapter, or who votes the ballot of another voter, or whodeliberately prevents or causes toprevent the mailballot tobe receivedby the voter or to be returnedto the board of elections, or who falsely notarizes or witnesses the voter signature on the ballot application or mail ballot, or who deceives, coerces,or interferes with the voter casting his or her ballot, and any person who does or attempts to do, or aid in doing or attempting todo, afraudulent actin connection with any vote castor to be castunder the provisions of this chapter, shall be guilty of a felony.
  • (b) Any person who, having received a mail voter's ballot and having voted or not voted the mail ballot, votes or fraudulently attempts to vote at any elective meeting within the state held on the day for which the ballot was issued shall be guilty of a felony.
  • (c) Any officer or other person who intentionally opens a mail voter's certified envelope or examines the contents before the envelope is opened by the board of elections, as provided in this chapter, shall be guilty of a felony.
  • (c) Anyofficer or other personwho intentionally opens a mail voter's certified envelope or examines the contents before the envelope is opened by the board of elections, as provided in this
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 19of 23 chapter, shall be guilty of a felony.
  • (d) The offenses in this section shall be punishable by imprisonment of not more than ten (10) years and/or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5000).
  • SECTION6. Chapter 17-20oftheGeneral Lawsentitled"Mail Ballots" isherebyamended by adding thereto the following sections:
  • SECTION6. Chapter17-20 of theGeneralLawsentitled "Mail Ballots" is herebyamended by adding thereto the following sections:
  • 17-20-2.3. Online application for mail ballot.
  • (a) In addition to any other available means of applying for a mail ballot, the secretary of stateshall establishand maintain asystem, through which voters mayapplyfor amail ballot online.
  • (b) Applications filed using such system shall be considered filed on the calendar date the application is initially transmitted by the voter through the online mail ballot application system.
  • (c) A voter shall be ableto applyfor a mail ballot usingthe online ballot application system when the voter:
  • (1) Completes an online mail ballot application form, established by the secretary of state, substantially similar to the paper-based mail ballot application form established by § 17-20-13;
  • (2) Affirms, subject to penalty of perjury, by means of electronic or manual signature, that the information contained in the mail ballot application is true; and
  • (a) In addition to any other available means of applying for a mail ballot, the secretaryof stateshall establish andmaintain asystem,through which voters mayapply for amail ballot online.
  • (b) Applications filed using such systemshall be considered filed on the calendar date the application is initially transmitted by the voter through the online mail ballot application system.
  • (c)A voter shall be able to apply for amail ballot using the online ballot application system when the voter:
  • (1) Completes an online mail ballot application form, established by the secretaryof state, substantially similar to the paper-based mailballot application form established by § 17-20-13;
  • (2) Affirms, subject to penalty of perjury, by means of electronic or manualsignature, that the information contained in the mail ballot application is true; and
  • (3) Verifies the voter's identity by providing the voter's date of birth and a Rhode Island driver's license number or state identification number.
  • (d) The portal for mail ballot applications shall be available in any language required by federal or state voting rights laws.
  • (d) The portal for mail ballot applications shall be available in any language required by federalor state voting rights laws.
  • (e) To ensure full, equal, and independent access to all voters with disabilities, the portal for mail ballot applications shall comply with all requirements under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12165, and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 compliance level AA.
  • 17-20-22.1. Mail ballot drop boxes.
  • (a) "Drop box" means the locked and secure container established and maintained by the board of elections, in accordance with this section, that shall serve as a receptacle for the receipt of mail and emergency ballots cast by voters. Every drop box established by the board of elections shall be deemed to be the property of the board of elections and shall be accessible to the public, beginning twenty (20) days prior to the date of a state election and twenty-four (24) hours per day and seven (7) days per week throughout this period, if established outside a municipal building, and during the normal business hours of the facility if established inside a municipal building. All drop boxes must be accessible on election day, from the time polls open until the time they close, in accordance with §§ 17-18-10 and 17-18-11. Any ballot that is cast by a voter, as either a mail ballot, or emergency ballot and is deposited into a drop box on or before the close of polls on election day, shall be deemed to be received by and in the possession of the board of elections. At the close of polls on election day, upon the last ballot deposited by any person in line at that time, a designated agent of the board of elections shall ensure that no other ballots are deposited in the drop box.
  • (b) Drop boxes must be labeled "State of Rhode Island Official Ballot Drop Box for Mail Ballots," and include language about postage and display the official seal of the board of elections. Drop boxes must be accessible by persons with disabilities. Drop boxes shall be monitored by a video surveillance system.
  • (c) No town or city shall have fewer than one drop box. A drop box may be established inside a municipal building, only if the building remains open and accessible to the public throughout the prescribed time period prior to election day and until the close of the polls, in accordance with § 17-18-10. A drop box shall also be placed outside the Office of the Board of Elections and the Election Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. Drop boxes must be placed in locations that are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • (d) The board of elections shall promulgate rules to implement this section, including rules for the location of drop boxes and the receipt, storage, security, regular collection, and transportation of the mail ballots returned, in accordance with this section. All rules promulgated under this section shall be done in accordance with the rulemaking provisions of § 42-35-1, et seq.
  • (e) Each local board of canvassers shall determine the location of every drop box located within the geographic area over which that local board has authority, in accordance with the rules promulgated by the board of elections.
  • (f) Each drop box shall not accept the deposit of mail ballots after the last person in line to deposit a ballot in that drop box at the time the polls close, on the day of the election, has deposited their ballot.
  • (g) Each local board shall make the location of every drop box within the area over which it has authority publicly available on its website, to the extent feasible. The board of elections shall make the location of all drop boxes located within the state, publicly available at its office and on its website.
  • (h) The board of elections shall designate one or more staff members of each local board of canvassers, as the official agents of the board of elections, for purposes of retrieving ballots deposited in drop boxes and, by regulations promulgated in accordance with the rulemaking provisions of § 42-35-1, et seq., establish a schedule and process by which drop boxes are regularly emptied and any ballots they contain are securely and promptly transported to the board of elections.
  • (a) "Drop box" means the locked and secure container established and maintained by the board of elections, in accordance withthis section, that shall serve as a receptacle for the receiptof mail and emergency ballots cast by voters. Every drop box established by the board of elections shall be deemed to be the property of the board of elections and shall be accessible to the public, beginning twenty (20) days prior to the date of a state election and twenty-four (24) hours per day and seven (7) days per week throughout this period, if established outside a municipal building, and during the normal business hours of the facility if established inside a municipal building. All drop boxes must be accessible on election day, from the time polls open until the time they close,
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 20of 23 in accordance with §§ 17-18-10 and 17-18-11. Any ballot that is cast by a voter, as either a mail ballot, or emergency ballot and is deposited into a drop box on or before the close of polls on election day, shall be deemed to be received by and in the possession of the board of elections. At the close of polls on election day, upon the last ballot deposited by any person in line at that time, a designated agent of the board of elections shall ensure that no other ballots are deposited in the drop box.
  • (b) Drop boxes must be labeled "State of Rhode Island Official Ballot Drop Box for Mail Ballots," andinclude language about postage anddisplay the official sealof the board of elections. Drop boxes must be accessible by persons with disabilities. Drop boxes shall be monitored by a video surveillance system.
  • (c) No town or city shall have fewer than one drop box. A drop box may be established inside a municipal building, only if the building remains open and accessible to the public throughout the prescribed time period prior to election day and until the close of the polls, in accordance with § 17-18-10. A drop box shall also be placed outside the Office of the Board of Elections and the Election Division of the Office of the Secretaryof State. Drop boxes must be placed in locations that are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • (d) Each local board of canvassers shall determine the location of every drop box located within the geographic area over which that local board has authority, in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the board of elections.
  • (e) Eachdrop box shall not acceptthe deposit of mail ballots after the last personin line to deposit a ballot in thatdrop box atthe time the polls close, on the day of the election, has deposited their ballot.
  • (f) Eachlocal board shall make the location of everydrop box within the area over which it has authority publicly available on its website, to the extent feasible. The boardof elections shall make the location of all drop boxes located within the state, publicly available atits office and on its website.
  • (g) The board of elections shall designate one or more staff members of eachlocal board of canvassers, as the official agents of the board of elections, for purposes of retrieving ballots deposited in drop boxes and establish a schedule and process by which drop boxes are regularly emptied and any ballots they contain are securely and promptly transported to the board of elections.
  • (h) The board of elections shall promulgate regulations consistent with this section, including regulations for the location of drop boxes and the receipt, storage, security, regular collection, and transportation of the mail ballots returned.
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 21of 23
  • (i) The board of elections may promulgate regulations for the use of drop boxes for depositing mail ballot applications during the applicable timeframe for accepting mail ballot applications.
  • SECTION 7. Section 17-20-32 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-20 entitled "Mail Ballots" is hereby repealed.
  • 17-20-32. Inquiry by board of elections.
  • Upon the request of any candidate for public office and upon a showing of good cause for it or upon its own motion, the board of elections shall inquire into any notary public or witness who witnesses the voter signatures on more than fifty (50) mail ballot envelopes in any one election and any notary public or witness who the board has reason to believe has not complied with the provisions of this chapter. The inquiry shall attempt to determine whether the notary public or witness was actually present when the documents were signed by the voters and whether all other applicable requirements set forth in this chapter were complied with. Any criminal violation of this chapter uncovered by the board of elections shall be referred to the state police for further investigation.
  • SECTION 8. This act shall take effect upon passage.
  • Upon the requestof any candidate for public office and upon a showing of good cause for it or upon its own motion, the board of elections shall inquire into any notary public or witness who witnesses the voter signatures on more thanfifty (50) mail ballot envelopes in any one election and any notary public or witness who the board has reason to believe has not complied with the provisions of this chapter. The inquiry shall attempt to determine whether the notary public or witness was actually presentwhen the documents were signed by the voters and whether all other applicable requirements setforth in this chapter were complied with. Any criminal violation of this chapter uncovered by the board of elections shall be referred to the state police for further investigation.
  • SECTION 8. This act shalltake effect upon passage.
  • ========
  • LC003182
  • LC003182/SUB A
  • ========
  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO ELECTIONS – SECRETARY OF STATE – LET RI VOTE ACT
  • ***
  • Thisact,tobeknownasthe"LetRIVoteAct,"wouldallow votingbymail withoutneeding an excuse, improve voter roll cleanup procedures, allow voters to apply for mail ballots through an online system, allow long-term nursing home residents to receive mail ballot applications automatically, codify mail ballot drop box requirements, remove the notary and witness requirement for mail ballots, establish a voter information hotline, and allow more time to request special Braille ballots.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC003182 ========
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 22of 23
  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO ELECTIONS – SECRETARY OF STATE – LET RI VOTE ACT
  • ***
  • This act,to beknown asthe "LetRI VoteAct,"would allow voting bymail without needing anexcuse,improve voter roll cleanup procedures, allow voters to apply for mail ballots through an online system, allow long-term nursing home residents to receive mail ballot applications automatically, codify mail ballot drop box requirements, remove the notary and witness requirement for mail ballots, establish a voter information hotline, and allow more time to request specialBraille ballots.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC003182/SUB A ========
  • LC003182/SUB A - Page 23of 23

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