Mover's Guide: Rhode Island

August 10, 2010

Board of Elections: 401-222-2345

I moved from the address at which I am registered.  What should I do?

I moved from another state.

If you moved to Rhode Island from another state, you must register to vote in Rhode Island to be able to vote.[1]  The last day to register in time to vote in the next election is thirty days before the election.[2]

If you moved from out of state, you are only eligible to vote if you have been a resident of Rhode Island for at least thirty days, of the city or town in which you want to vote for at least the thirty days prior to the day of the election, and if you are registered in the city or town in which you want to vote for at least the thirty days prior to the day of the election.[3]  You may vote for President and Vice President on Election Day at your city or town hall even if you are not registered to vote at your current address.  When you cast this ballot at city hall, you will also complete a registration form to update your address. [4]

I moved within Rhode Island.

If you moved within the same city or town, you should notify your local election board about your change of address or go to your polling place on Election Day to update your address.[5]  If you moved to a different city or town, you should complete a new registration form to update your registration records.[6]  That form is available here:http://www.elections.state.ri.us/voting/registration.php

The election is right around the corner and I never updated my registration from my previous address.  What should I do?

Many registered Rhode Island voters who move are still entitled to cast a ballot that will be counted — even if they did not notify the appropriate election official about the move before Election Day.

Scenario One: New Address, but Same Polling Place

If you moved to a new address that is covered by the same polling place as your old address, you can vote at that polling place or at your local board of canvassers after filling out a written change of address form.  This is true regardless of how close to the election you moved.[7]

Scenario Two: New Address in Same City or Town but New Polling Place

If you moved to a new address in a different polling place within the same city or town, 30 days or more before an election, you can vote a full ballot at the polling place for your new address or at the local board of canvassers after filling out a written change of address form.[8]

If you moved to a new address in a different polling place within the same city or town, less than 30 days before an election, you can vote a full ballot at the polling place associated with your old address or the local board of canvassers after filling out a written change of address form.[9]

Scenario Three: New Address in New City or Town

If you moved to a new address that is in a different city or town within the state less than 30 days before an election, you can vote in your old city or town.[10]

If you moved to a new address that is in a different city or town within the state less than six months before the next election, but do not register in your new city or town, you can vote a limited ballot from the board of canvassers of your former city or town.[11]


[1] R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-9.1-1 (2010).

[2] R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 17-9.1-3(a) (note that deadline is not extended if it falls on a Sunday or legal holiday).

[3] R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-1-3; 17-9.1-9(b).

[4] 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1(e) (2010); R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-1-3 (2010).

[5] R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-9.1-16(a) (2010).

[6] R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-9.1-16(b).

[7] R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-9.1-16(a)(1); 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg-6(e)(1) (2010).

[8] R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-9.1-16(a)(2)(i).

[9] R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-9.1-16(a)(2)(ii).

[10] R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-9.1-16(b)(1).

[11] R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-9.1-16(b)(2).