Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
December 14, 2020

Rhode Island's Electoral College Votes for Biden and Harris

PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Rhode Island's Electoral College convened to cast their votes for president and vice president. The state's four Presidential Electors for 2020 are Elizabeth Jane Beretta-Perik, James A. Diossa, Sabina Matos, and Joseph Robert Paolino, Jr. All four electors cast their votes for Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris.

The historic ceremony was held in a socially distant manner due to the ongoing pandemic. Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea presided over the proceedings in the House Chambers of the Rhode Island State House, and Governor Gina M. Raimondo joined virtually from the premises of the building.

"As we close out the Electoral College and the 2020 election cycle, I offer a heartfelt thank you to elections workers across the state for ensuring access to the ballot box while protecting the integrity of every vote in the midst of a pandemic," said Secretary Gorbea. "I'd like to remind all Rhode Islanders of the motto our state was founded on some 400 years ago – Hope. Now is the time for us to heal as a state and as a country to work towards the common Hope of a better tomorrow."

Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island and Providence Postmaster Jeanne Jackson also took part in the ceremony. A virtual invocation was provided by Bishop Jeffery Williams from the King's Cathedral in Providence, and Rhode Island musician Billy Gilman sang the national anthem via video.

During the proceedings, the electors voted to name Joseph Robert Paolino, Jr. as the President of Rhode Island's Electoral College and voted to name Sabina Matos as the Secretary of the Electoral College.

Title 3, Chapter 1 of the U.S. Code outlines the Electoral College process. Electors representing the political party of the candidate who wins the popular vote for president in each state officially elect the president and vice president by casting votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. The number of electors from each state is equal to the number of representatives and senators it has in Congress.

In Rhode Island, Democrat Joseph R. Biden and his vice-presidential running mate Kamala D. Harris won November's general election with 59.4% of the vote. As a result, the presidential electors for Rhode Island were chosen by the state Democratic Party.

On January 6, 2021, the United States Congress will meet in a joint session to count the electoral votes. When a candidate for president and a candidate for vice president have received at least 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes, November's election results will be official.


Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
November 2, 2020

Secretary Gorbea Reminds Rhode Islanders of Last-Minute Voting Options

PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea is reminding Rhode Islanders about two last-minute voting options for tomorrow's presidential election. First, if you missed the October 4 voter registration deadline, you can register to vote on Election Day and vote in the presidential race only. You will not be able to vote in any state, local, or other federal races.

Rhode Islanders can only register and vote on Election Day at the location designated by their local board of canvassers. Residents in most communities should go to their city or town hall to take advantage of same-day voter registration. However, Providence residents should go to the Dunkin Donuts Center at 1 La Salle Square and Johnston residents should go to the Senior Center at 1291 Hartford Avenue.

"With a heated presidential race and three safe and secure voting options, Rhode Islanders are casting ballots in record numbers this year," said Secretary Gorbea. "If you missed the voter registration deadline, it's not too late to be a part of history."

Second, any voter who planned to vote at the polls on Election Day but is suddenly unable to go can still vote using an emergency mail ballot. For example, if a voter is required to quarantine due to COVID concerns, that voter may fill out an emergency mail ballot application and designate a person to pick up their ballot for them.

Voters can obtain an emergency mail ballot until 4 p.m. on Election Day. However, please remember that all completed ballots must be received by election officials by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters who use an emergency mail ballot should have another person return the ballot using a secure drop box. Find the drop box closest to you by using Secretary Gorbea's drop box locator.


Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
October 30, 2020

Several RI Communities to Offer Early In-Person Voting this Weekend

PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea is informing Rhode Island voters that several communities will be providing extended early in-person voting hours this weekend. A full list of cities and towns with weekend early in-person hours is below.

To date, more than 115,000 Rhode Islanders have voted early in-person. Turnout for the 2020 general election in Rhode Island can be tracked using Secretary Gorbea's new data visualization on vote.ri.gov.

"The response to early in-person voting has been phenomenal," said Secretary Gorbea. "We've consistently had over 10,000 Rhode Islanders cast their ballot each day this week, even with the bad weather. High turnout elections nurture our democracy, making sure that a diversity of voices is heard."

Early in-person voting ends at 4 p.m. on Monday, November 2. Voters can use Secretary Gorbea's online guide to learn more about the process, or contact their local board of canvassers.

Communities offering early in-person voting this weekend

Central Falls: Saturday 10/31 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

East Providence: Saturday 10/31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Glocester: Saturday 10/31 from 8 a.m. to Noon

Providence: Saturday 10/31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (use entrance on Eddy Street)

Westerly: Saturday 10/31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (enter through side ramp to the lower level)


Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
October 27, 2020

Secretary Gorbea to Rhode Islanders: Start Returning Mail Ballots Via Drop Box

PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea is reminding Rhode Island voters that all mail ballots for the November 3 general election must be received by election officials by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

The United States Postal Service recommends mailing your ballot at least seven days before November 3 to ensure that it arrives on time. Starting today and going forward, any Rhode Island voter who still has a mail ballot is encouraged to return it using secure drop boxes located in every community.

"Rhode Island could see historic turnout in this election. Don't miss out on being part of history because you returned your ballot too late," said Secretary Gorbea. "Using a secure drop box will ensure that your mail ballot is received in time to be counted."

All drop boxes in Rhode Island are under surveillance 24 hours a day. They are emptied daily by local boards of canvassers and the mail ballots are transported to the Board of Elections. Voters can use any drop box to return their mail ballot. Voters can use Secretary Gorbea's drop box finder to find the one closest to them, and track the status of their mail ballot online at vote.ri.gov.
Voting from home is one of three safe and secure options Rhode Islanders have for casting a ballot this year. Voters who did not apply for a mail ballot also have the choice of voting early in-person or voting at the polls on Election Day. Learn more about each of these voting options at vote.ri.gov or by calling 2-1-1.


Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
September 13, 2020

Statement by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on Elections Postcards sent by United States Postal Service

This weekend, Rhode Islanders received a national postcard from the United States Postal Service regarding voting by mail. Every state has different election laws and policies.

Despite knowing this, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy made the unfortunate decision to send a single postcard to all states regarding voting by mail. Thus, the postcard contributes misinformation to the national conversation on this important election.

I want to make sure that Rhode Island voters have the correct information for voting with a mail ballot:

• If you choose to vote from home, you must request a mail ballot at least 21 days before an election. That means that Rhode Island voters have until October 13 to request a mail ballot to vote from home.
• My office sends all mail ballots with postage paid return envelopes. You do not need to find postage stamps to send back your ballot. If you chose to use the U.S. Postal Service to return your ballot, put it in the mail by October 27.
• Rhode Island voters also have the option of using elections-only drop boxes available throughout the state. The Rhode Island Board of Elections is in the process of installing secure drop boxes in every community as an option for returning your mail ballot.
• In order for your mail ballot to be counted it needs to be at the Board of Elections or one of the drop boxes by 8pm on November 3rd.

This situation gives me the opportunity to remind Rhode Island voters that you should make your election officials your trusted sources of information this year. Go to vote.ri.gov or call 2-1-1 with any questions about your safe and secure voting options.


Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
September 11, 2020

Secretary Gorbea: All Active RI Voters to Receive Mail Ballot Applications for November Election

PROVIDENCE, RI – Today Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea and Board of Elections member Jennie Johnson made several announcements regarding the November 3 general election in Rhode Island.

First, Secretary Gorbea announced that her office will send all active registered voters a mail ballot application for the November 3 general election. "Active" status means a voter is registered and has not had a piece of official elections mail returned as undeliverable. It does not reflect the frequency of voting.

"Making it easy for Rhode Islanders to vote safely and securely from home will ensure that voters aren't forced to choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote," said Secretary Gorbea.

Mail ballot applications for the November 3 general election will begin arriving in mailboxes this weekend and continue through next week to ensure that voters who choose to vote from home have time to return their applications and receive their mail ballots.

John Marion, Executive Director of Common Cause Rhode Island, supported the decision. "Many Rhode Island voters have demonstrated they prefer to vote safely by mail during the current pandemic," said Marion. "Sending mail ballot applications to eligible voters is a common-sense step that will allow more voters that option for November."

Next, Secretary Gorbea announced that Governor Gina Raimondo has authorized the Rhode Island National Guard to assist in processing what is expected to be a record number of mail ballot applications for the November 3 general election. The National Guard's role in this process is purely clerical. No members of the National Guard will handle actual mail ballots, and they will not make any decisions that determine whether a voter receives a mail ballot.

Board of Elections member Jennie Johnson announced that the Board has arranged for secure mail ballot drop boxes to be placed in every community in Rhode Island. She also reminded Rhode Island voters that this year, they have the new option of voting early in-person with an emergency ballot. Lastly, she outlined efforts to sanitize polling places and recruit poll workers for the November 3 general election.

The deadline to register to vote in the November 3 general election is Sunday, October 4. The deadline to submit a mail ballot application is Tuesday, October 13. The early in-person voting period begins on October 14. Voters are encouraged to check and update their registration on vote.ri.gov. Voters can also track the status of their mail ballot application and their mail ballot at vote.ri.gov.

New this year, voters can also call 2-1-1 with any election questions. This free service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in over 200 languages thanks to a partnership between Secretary Gorbea's office and United Way of Rhode Island.


Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
August 13, 2020

Statement by Secretary Gorbea on Today's Supreme Court Ruling

I thank the Supreme Court for delivering their decision in a timely manner and I look forward to delivering Rhode Islanders safe and secure elections they can trust."

-Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
August 7, 2020

Statement by Secretary Gorbea on 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling

"Today is another victory for voting rights and the safety of Rhode Islanders. I thank the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit for upholding the removal of Rhode Island's burdensome requirement that voters obtain two witnesses or a notary to vote by mail during the pandemic, and for delivering this decision in a timely manner.

No one should have to choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote. I will always fight to ensure all Rhode Islanders can vote safely and securely."

-Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
August 6, 2020

Secretary Gorbea, Drag Out the Vote Announce Partnership to Engage and Empower Rhode Islanders

PROVIDENCE, RI – With the September 8 primary and November 3 general election fast approaching, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea is proud to announce a partnership with Drag Out the Vote to educate and register voters in Rhode Island.

Drag Out the Vote is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works with drag performers to promote participation in democracy. The group advocates for increased voter access and engagement with focus on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.

"Government should work for everyone, and the best way to hold your elected officials accountable is by exercising your constitutional right to vote," said Secretary Gorbea. "I want to thank Drag Out the Vote and founder Jackie Huba for their work to engage and empower voters. While the pandemic may not allow you to 'sashay your way to the polls,' as Jackie says, there are still safe and secure ways to cast your ballot in Rhode Island this year - like voting from home and voting early in-person."

The partnership between Secretary Gorbea's office and Drag Out the Vote will include public awareness campaigns conducted through traditional and social media, and will provide Rhode Islanders with vital information on how to register to vote, ways to cast a ballot and important election deadlines.

"One in five LGBTQ+ people are not registered to vote, and election cycle after election cycle, youth turnout continues to be a challenge," said Drag Out the Vote founder Jackie Huba. "The power of Secretaries of State, like Secretary Nellie Gorbea, has the potential to change the future of our country by increasing ballot access and safely executing our elections for all Americans. We are proud that she is partnering with us in using the art and activism of drag to educate and register voters."

Rhode Island's first Drag Out the Vote Ambassador, Anthony DeRose, also known by his drag alter ego Jacqueline DiMera, made this partnership possible. "I am so excited and proud to be working with Drag Out the Vote to use my love of politics and drag to make a difference," said DeRose. "Secretary Gorbea and I are determined to ensure that the voices of all Rhode Islanders, especially those in the LBGTQ+ community, are heard at the ballot box."

To register to vote or learn more about your options for voting safely and securely in Rhode Island, visit vote.ri.gov. The deadline to register to vote in the September 8 statewide primary is Sunday, August 9.

To learn more about Drag Out The Vote, visit https://www.dragoutthevote2020.org/.


Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea
June 29, 2020

Elections Task Force to Review Presidential Primary and Prepare for Fall Elections

PROVIDENCE, RI – On Wednesday, July 1, at 11 a.m., an Elections Task Force consisting of state and local elections officials and members of the public will review Rhode Island's June 2 Presidential Primary and assess actions required to ensure safe and secure elections in the fall.

The Task Force will be co-chaired by Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea and Board of Elections Chairwoman Diane C. Mederos. The meeting will be held virtually on the Rhode Island Department of State's Facebook page to adhere to social distancing best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting is open to the public and will have time dedicated for public comment. Voters can also submit their questions and comments ahead of time by emailing elections@sos.ri.gov.

"The June 2 Presidential Primary was unlike any election in our state's history," said Secretary Gorbea. "In any new process, there are opportunities to learn and evolve. Working together, elections officials, voters and stakeholders will identify what worked and what needs to improve."

"At the Board of Elections, we are committed to conducting safe and secure elections," said Chairwoman Mederos. "During these unprecedented times we are facing challenges that none of us could have imagined, but our commitment remains the same. It has never been more important to work with our Secretary of State and our local election officials to ensure that our elections are conducted so that all Rhode Island voters maintain their essential right to vote in the safest possible way."

"Rhode Island's elections officials face unprecedented challenges in preparing for the upcoming September and November elections," said Nick Lima, Director of Elections for the City of Cranston. "It is imperative that we collaboratively analyze the recently concluded Presidential Primary and determine the best unified path forward to ensure a successful electoral process for voters this fall."

Topics slated for discussion during the Elections Task Force include: • The mail ballot application process • Timing of sending mail ballots to voters • Voters who requested a mail ballot but did not receive one • Educating voters on the mail ballot process • Providing drop boxes in all communities • How voters can track the status of their ballot • The number of physical polling places • Safety at physical polling places • Difficulty finding poll workers

Elections 2020 Task Force members • Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea – Co-chairwoman • Diane C. Mederos, Chairwoman, Board of Elections – Co-chairwoman • Jennifer L. Johnson, Board of Elections • Dr. Isadore S. Ramos, Board of Elections • Louis P. Cirillo, Town Clerk, Town of Bristol • Marianne, Kelly, Town Clerk, Town of West Warwick • Erin Liese, Town Clerk, Town of Jamestown • Nick Lima, Registrar/Director of Elections, City of Cranston • Tracy Nelson, Canvassing Clerk, City of Newport • Kathy Placencia, Administrator of Elections, City of Providence • Jacqueline Schulz, Registrar of Voters, Town of Portsmouth • Carol Wordell, Town Clerk, Town of Little Compton • Marcela Betancur, Public Member • Cristin Langworthy, Public Member • David Montenegro, Public Member • Sheri L. Sweitzer, Public Member • Nicole Tingle, Public Member