RI Board of Elections launches tool to track submitted mail ballots

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In this Oct. 13, 2020, photo, an envelope of a Pennsylvania official mail-in ballot for the 2020 general election in Marple Township, Pa. The Supreme Court will allow Pennsylvania to count ballots received up to three days after the election, rejecting a Republican plea. The justices divided 4-4 on Oct. 19, an outcome that upholds a state Supreme Court ruling that allowed election officials to receive and count ballots until Nov. 6, even if they don’t have a clear postmark. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A new online tool will help Rhode Islanders check the status of their submitted mail ballots.

The R.I. Board of Elections (BOE) launched the “Mail Ballot Status Lookup” tool on its website Wednesday.

“During this unprecedented election, we know Rhode Islanders are eager to ensure that their ballot has been received and their vote counted,” R.I. BOE Executive Director Robert Rapoza said. “We encourage all Rhode Islanders who have voted by mail ballot to use the tool to check the status of their ballot.”

When you visit the portal, you will receive one of four possible statuses:

  • Processing means your signature/identity is being verified.
  • Accepted means your signature/identity has been verified and your ballot has been approved to be counted.
  • Deficiency means there was an issue verifying your signature or identity and you will need to correct the issue. You will be mailed a notice.
  • Disqualified means your ballot was received late or there was an issue verifying your signature/identity and you did not correct it by Nov. 10.

On Wednesday, the BOE also released a frequently asked questions document for Rhode Island voters which includes the following:

Q: I submitted an application for a mail ballot and haven’t received it. How do I check the status?

A: Visit vote.ri.gov to check the status of your application and ballot. It can take up to 5 days for a ballot to be mailed after an application is received. If the system indicates no application has been received, please contact your board of canvassers at your local city/town hall.

Q: What if my signature doesn’t match?

A: The BOE employs bipartisan teams to compare signatures. If your signature doesn’t match they attempt to verify the driver’s license/state-issued ID or last 4 digits of your SSN that you can optionally provide. If they are unable to verify this information with DMV or the Social Security Administration or you don’t provide it, they will attempt to compare the signature on your mail ballot application to the signature on your voter registration record. If it doesn’t match, your ballot will be disqualified per state law.

Q: I dropped my ballot off at a drop box when will it be marked as received?

A: Mail ballots within drop boxes are collected by BOE teams each day and brought to their secure facility where the mailing envelopes are opened. The interior envelopes containing the voter’s signature and barcode are then scanned as received. This process can take several days depending on the volume. If your ballot is placed in one of our authorized drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, it will be eligible to be counted.

Q: I requested a mail ballot but no longer want to vote by mail. Can I vote an in-person emergency ballot at my city/town hall?

A: Unfortunately, you cannot vote an in-person emergency ballot once you have requested a mail ballot. You should deposit your mail ballot in any authorized drop box or deliver it to the BOE.

Q: When does my mail ballot need to be at the Board of Elections?

A: We must receive your ballot at our facility at 2000 Plainfield Pike in Cranston (parking lot drop box) or in one of our authorized drop boxes around the state by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 in order to be eligible to be counted. Military and overseas ballots receive an additional week to return their ballots.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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