AG Neronha reminds voters of their rights

Rhode Island’s attorney general and secretary of state are reminding voters of their rights with the midterm election less than two weeks away.

Attorney General Peter Neronha said his staff stands ready to “preserve each Rhode Islander’s right to cast their vote safely.” If someone interferes with the right to vote through threats, intimidation or coercion, these behaviors can be reported immediately by dialing 2-1-1 then pressing 5.

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, and it is a right this office is committed to protecting,” he said.

According to Neronha, a Jamestown resident, voters in Rhode Island have the right to vote without pressure or intimidation. They also have the right to bring someone with them to the polls if they require assistance, and have the right to request a provisional ballot if their name is not on the voter roll or they don’t have acceptable photo ID. Voters also have the right to fix their mail ballot if it is rejected, and have the right to vote regardless of their gender identity.

Among the expanded rights granted to the electorate through passage of the Let R.I. Vote Act, which was signed by Gov. Dan McKee in June, voters have the right to vote by mail for any reason, the right to submit their mail ballots without witnesses or a notary, and have the right to vote in person in the 20 days leading up to Election Day at city and town halls. As of Wednesday morning, 209 voters in Jamestown voted early, and the state Board of Elections has received 43 mail ballots from local voters.

“I have spent my entire life fighting for voting rights,” Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said. “You can help defend our democracy and have a say in your government by voting this November. Your vote matters. Your secretary of state and attorney general stand ready to ensure no one interferes with or takes your vote away from you.”

For local voters, early in-person voting is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 7 at Town Hall. This very similar to voting at a polling place, Gorbea said. Voters should present their valid photo ID to the election official, and then check in using their name and address. The poll worker will then locate the name in the electronic poll book and ask for a signature. Voters needing assistance marking their ballot may choose to use the ExpressVote.