PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s Secretary of State is urging voters to vote by mail ballot in the upcoming presidential primary election.
The 2020 presidential primary in Rhode Island is June 2, postponed from April 28 after Gov. Gina Raimondo approved the Board of Election’s request to push it back, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, every registered voter has been sent a mail ballot application.
If you wish to vote by mail ballot in the upcoming election, you must send the completed application back to the Board of Elections by Tuesday, May 19 at 4 p.m.
“This is not a ‘postmark by May 19.’ If you still have that mail ballot application in your hands on Monday, I recommend that you take it to your local Board of Canvassers and city or town hall and drop it off there and they will make sure that it gets there,” Gorbea said.
Gorbea said if the application is in the mail by Saturday, it should make it in time.
In-person voting will be available, but voters can expect the process to take longer than usual.
To limit the number of polling station volunteers and adhere to social distancing guidelines, there will only be 47 polling locations open on June 2 which is down from more than 180 prior to the pandemic.
There will be at least one polling place open in each city and town, with four in Providence, three in Pawtucket and two in Cranston.
“Be prepared for a long wait if you go vote in person,” Gorbea said. “Be prepared for a lot of security measures, a lot of poll workers dressed up in all sorts of safety gear, Plexiglas, 6 feet apart distancing and hand sanitizer.”
“That’s why I’m encouraging everybody to just vote by mail if you can,” she added.
Voters can go to the state’s election information website for guidance.