Rhode Island
Rhode Island
TierMid Tier

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Grade TL;DR

In 2021, Rhode Island did not seize any opportunities through legislative means to progress on pro-voter reforms.
However, in 2022, the state passed key pro-voter legislation that significantly helped to expand access to the ballot
for all eligible voters in the Ocean State. Because of the robust legislation passed in 2022, while also taking into
consideration the opportunities missed in 2021, Rhode Island received an A- on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Rhode Island Started in 2020

  • Automatic Voter Registration: Front-End
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes (presidential races only)
  • Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Rhode Island as of 2020, we considered the state a middle tier state for
pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other middle tier states.

How Our Tier Compares:

  • COVI (2020): 19th
  • EPI Score (2020): 8th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 9/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): MEDIUM

2021: Two Years Ago

Legislative Action

The General Assembly did not pass any significant election-related laws during the 2021 session.

2022: This Past Year

Legislative Action

After years of hard work from pro-democracy groups and the Assembly, the “Let RI Vote Act” finally passed.

  • H 7100, “Let RI Vote Act”, establishes no-excuse absentee voting, removes onerous notary/witness requirement for absentee ballots, allows voters to request an absentee ballot via an online portal, and requires every town and city to have at least 1 drop box.
  • H 7428 creates a robust signature review process to allow more options for signature matches and allows ballot pre-processing to begin even earlier, starting 20 days before the election.