TITLE 17
Elections

CHAPTER 17-20
Mail Ballots

SECTION 17-20-2.1


§ 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 form prepared by the secretary of state as prescribed in this section, setting forth the elector's application for a mail ballot.

(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 in person or by mail 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 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 the ballots 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 the 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 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 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.

(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 the time of making the application and voting his or her mail ballot as long as 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.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1983, ch. 172, § 9; P.L. 1984, ch. 231, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 391, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 161, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 294, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 386, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 439, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 435, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 227, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 314, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 205, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 56, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 121, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 354, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 396, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 190, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 217, § 1.)