Today, Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee signed the Let RI Vote Act into law. The changes will be in effect for the 2022 election.
“Today Governor McKee signs into law the most sweeping reform to our elections in a generation,” said Marcela Betancur, spokesperson for the Let RI Vote campaign and Executive Director of the Latino Policy Institute. “The Let RI Vote Act will make voting more accessible for thousands of Rhode Island voters, including those with disabilities and language barriers, while also making our elections more secure.”
The Let RI Vote Act improves Rhode Island elections in ways that will make voting more accessible for eligible voters while modernizing processes to make our elections more secure. The Act removes the requirement that mail ballots be accompanied by the signatures of two witnesses or a notary public and requires all municipalities to provide secure mail ballot drop boxes; these practices were used successfully during three statewide elections in 2020. It also requires the state to create a secure online mail ballot application system, conduct more frequent voter roll cleanup, provide a multilingual voter hotline, and shorten the deadline for voters to request a braille ballot, among other improvements. The law finally recognizes that the in-person emergency mail ballot process is called ‘early voting’, which was an incredibly popular option for voters in 2020.
A coalition of more than 40 community organizations supported the Let RI Vote Act, and the groups’ members sent over 30,000 letters to legislators in support of the measure. It is one the largest grassroots mobilizations for voting rights in modern Rhode Island history.
Rhode Island is expanding voters’ access to ballots even as many other states are passing anti-voter bills. Last year, at least 19 states passed laws restricting access to voting – and 40 states have legislation pending now that would restrict voter access or interfere with election administration.
The Let RI Vote campaign is a project of the Rhode Island Voter Access Coalition.
Organizations supporting this project include:
AARP Rhode Island ⋄ ACLU of Rhode ⋄ Alliance of RI Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) ⋄ Brown Votes ⋄ Clean Water Action Rhode Island ⋄ College Democrats of Rhode Island ⋄ Common Cause Rhode Island ⋄ Every Vote Counts at Brown University ⋄ Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode Island ⋄ Housing Network of Rhode Island ⋄ Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University ⋄ League of Women Voters of Rhode Island ⋄ NAACP Providence Branch ⋄ National Council of Jewish Women, RI Action Team ⋄ National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) ⋄ National Organization for Women, Rhode Island Chapter ⋄ Planned Parenthood of Southern New England ⋄ Providence Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc ⋄ RepresentUs ⋄ Rhode Island AFL-CIO ⋄ Rhode Island Carpenters Union ⋄ Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence ⋄ Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence ⋄ Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness ⋄ Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights ⋄ Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus ⋄ Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council ⋄ Rhode Island Latino PAC ⋄ Rhode Island Service Employees International Union (SEIU) ⋄ Rhode Island Working Families Party ⋄ RIght From the Start Campaign ⋄ RI Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty ⋄ The National Vote at Home Institute ⋄ United Auto Workers Region 9A ⋄ The Womxn Project ⋄ Women’s Fund of Rhode Island