Chapter 257
2015 -- H 5931
Enacted 07/15/2015

A N   A C T

Introduced By: Representatives Coughlin, Solomon, Kazarian, Johnston, and Melo
Date Introduced: March 19, 2015

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
     SECTION 1. Section 17-9.1-26 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-9.1 entitled
"Registration of Voters" is hereby amended to read as follows:
     17-9.1-26. Confirmation process -- Verification of the address of registered voter. --
(a) (1) Whenever: (i) an An acknowledgement card, which card that was mailed to a voter
whose application to register to vote has been accepted, accepted is returned as undeliverable;
(ii) through Through the periodic updating of voter registration records as provided in § 17-9.1-
27, a change of address is detected for any voter; (iii) as As the result of a challenge under § 17-
9.1-28, the challenged voter fails to appear before the local board; or (iv) a A mailing by the jury
commissioner to a voter is returned as undeliverable; the local board shall begin the confirmation
process described in subsection (b) of this section.
     (2) Whenever any other official mailing mailing, from either the state board or a local
board or from the office of the secretary of state, which official mailing has been sent to at least a
majority of the registered voters in a particular city or town, is returned as undeliverable to any
one or more of the voters to whom it was mailed, the local board may commence the
confirmation process described in subsection (b) of this section.
     (b) The confirmation notice shall be sent by first-class first-class, forwardable mail and
shall be of any size or other specifications that shall be determined by the state board. The notice
shall include a voter registration form that may be used by the voter to verify or correct the voter's
residence address for voting purposes.
     (c) The confirmation notice shall be prepared in substantially the following form and
shall contain substantially the following information, subject to any additional information as
may be required by the state board; provided, that the wording of the form may be revised and
updated from time to time by the state board in a manner to make its content as easily readable
and understandable as possible:
     The board of canvassers has received information that you may no longer reside at the
address from which you are currently registered. If you have not permanently changed your
residence address address, or if you have permanently changed your residence address but
continue to live in the same city or town town, you should immediately return the voter
registration form no later than fourteen (14) days after the date of this mailing even if this notice
was mailed to your correct current address. If the voter registration form is not returned,
affirmation or confirmation of your current address may be required at the polls on election day.
If the registration form is not returned and you do not vote by __________, which is the date of
the second general election following the date of this mailing, then your name may be removed
from the voter registration list. If you have permanently changed residence address to another city
or town in Rhode Island, please complete, complete and return the completed voter registration
form to the local board of canvassers in the city or town of your current address.
      (d) The confirmation notice shall be mailed to both the voter's current registered address
and any new residence address, to the extent both addresses are available to the local board.
     (e) If a confirmation notice is mailed to a voter and returned as undeliverable, or if
delivered and the voter has not responded within fourteen (14) days from the date of the mailing,
the voter shall remain on or be placed on on, or be placed on, the inactive list and shall not be
permitted to vote until the voter has signed an affirmation form at either the approved polling
place or at the local board of canvassers as provided in this chapter. Any application for a mail
ballot under § 17-20-2.1 or an emergency mail ballot under § 17-20-2.2 shall serve as a proper
affirmation form under this section if the address is the same as the voter's current address on
record with the board of canvassers. If the voter fails to vote by the second general election
following the date of the confirmation mailing, then the voter shall be removed from the voting
list. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, if the confirmation mailing was based upon the
change of address information provided by or through the United States Postal Service National
Change of Address Program, and the voter has failed to respond to the confirmation mailing, the
voter shall remain on the active list of voters and shall not be required to sign the affirmation
form. In these cases, the voter's residence address for voting purposes will be changed by the
local board to the new address as indicated by the National Change of Address Program.
     (f) Local boards shall be required to maintain for a period of at least two (2) years a
record of all outgoing confirmation mailings, including the reasons for the mailing of the
confirmations. Records shall be kept in a fashion that may be determined by the state board.
     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.