Common Questions

Please view our extensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for answers to a variety of questions, which may be quicker than awaiting a response from one of our staff.

Common Mail Ballot Questions:

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

Visit our Mail Ballot Tracker to verify the status of your application. It can take up to 5 days for a ballot to be mailed after an application is received. Ballots are typically sent about 1 month before an election if an application has already been received. You can check the status of your application and ballot at If the system indicates no application has been received, please contact your Board of Canvassers in your City/Town Hall. They are responsible for approving your application.

Can I check the status of my mail ballot directly with the Board of Elections?

Yes, you can use our Mail Ballot Tracker to obtain a status on whether it is in Processing, Accepted, Deficient, or Disqualified.

  • 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. It will be opened and placed through our high-speed counter.
  • 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.
  • You can also check the status within your voter record at the RI Secretary of State's Voter Information Center

    My Ballot says “Pending Certification” within my voter record on the Secretary of State Voter Information Portal at What does that mean?

    This means your signature is at the Board of Elections and is in the process of being compared to the signature on your voter registration record.

    What if my signature doesn’t match?

    The Board of Elections employs bipartisan teams to compare signatures. They attend a training conducted by a former FBI forensic signature analyst. We understand that voters’ handwriting may change due to normal variations or injury or disability. If your signature doesn’t match we will attempt to verify the driver’s license/state-issued ID or last 4 digits of your SSN that you can optionally provide. If we are unable to verify this information with DMV or the Social Security Administration or you don’t provide it, we will lastly 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.

    If my signature or information cannot be verified and my mail ballot is disqualified, will I be notified?

    Yes, you will received a notice in the mail and still have time to have your ballot counted. Please sign the notice and have it signed by 2 witnesses or notarized and return it to our office in the postage prepaid return envelope by 4pm on Nov. 10. You may also return it to the Board of Elections Drop Box at 2000 Plainfield Pike in Cranston.

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

    Mail ballots within drop boxes are collected by Board of Election teams each day and brought to our 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.

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

    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 Board of Elections.

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

    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.

    How are mail ballots processed by the Board of Elections?

    Step 1: Ballots arrive in a mailing envelope, which is sliced open using the mail ballot envelope sorter/signature verifier. The ballots is sealed within a certification envelope inside the mailing envelope, commonly referred to as the inner envelope. These inner envelopes contain the voter signature and barcode on the exterior, and must be removed by a staff of 25 seasonal employee.

    Step 2: Once the inner envelopes are out, they are again run through the mail ballot envelope sorter/signature verifier and the barcode for each voter is scanned so the voter can check our website or to receive an updated status. An image is also taken of the voter’s signature on the certification envelope. Twelve bipartisan pairs of BOE staff on computer workstations then review all of the signatures captured and compare those to each voter’s signature within their voter registration record. This is done on the computer workstations where each voter’s signatures is compared side by side with their signature in their voter registration record. Any non-matching signatures are flagged. These flagged signatures are then reviewed again by an advanced review team who attempts to verify the voter’s driver’s license number/state-issued ID number if optionally provided by the voter. If that is not verified or not provided, the advanced review team will compare the voter’s signature to the signature on their mail ballot application, per executive order.

    Step 3: Once the ballots have completed Step 2 they are run through the mail ballot envelope sorter/signature verifier a final time. The approved ballots are automatically opened, sorted by city/town, and removed from their envelopes by BOE staff. They are then run through one of 3 high-speed counters. Ballots which were not approved due to non-matching signature or invalid driver’s license or SSN are separated and the voter is mailed a notice to correct the issue by Nov. 10.

    Still have a question? View our FAQ. Otherwise, click here for our contact information.

    Rhode Island Board of Elections

    Rhode Island Board of Elections
    2000 Plainfield Pike
    Cranston, RI 02921
    Phone: 401-222-2345
    Fax: 401-222-3135
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