The deadline to register to vote (by any means) is Aug. 14 for the primary and Oct. 9 for the general election.
Postcards hit mailboxes last week notifying voters of deadlines and polling locations based on each voter’s precinct. Residents will want to pay special attention to their assigned location, as for many it will have changed, due to both redistricting and accessibility.
Once every 10 years, State Law requires that the General Assembly form a committee of members to redraw district lines based on census data. That process occurred in early 2021, so this is the first election impacted by the new district boundaries. Within districts, precincts cannot include more than 3,000 people, which translates to 8 distinct polling locations in town, selected for attributes like parking and accessibility. They include the Rockwell, Guiteras, and Mt. Hope schools, the Fire Department Headquarters, St. Elizabeth Auditorium, Franklin Court Community Room, RWU’s North Dormitory, and the Quinta-Gamelin Center.
Though primaries don’t draw as many voters as general elections, all 8 polling locations will be open for the primary as well as the general election.
“We didn’t want to make things any more confusing immediately following redistricting by assigning different locations for the primary and general election this year,” said Town Clerk Melissa Cordeiro, whose office, along with the Board of Canvassers, is responsible for ensuring that the local electoral process runs smoothly.
“We want people to have the opportunity to vote,” said Cordeiro. Accordingly, both mail ballots and early in-person voting will be available to Bristol residents.
The deadline to register to vote (by any means) is Aug. 14 for the primary and Oct. 9 for the general election. Changes of political affiliation must be made by Aug. 15 in the event you are affiliated with one party and will want to vote in another party’s primary. As always, unaffiliated voters may affiliate on the way in to their polling spot, vote in their primary of choice, and unaffiliate on the way out. Affiliation is only a concern for the primary — voters of any affiliation may vote for any candidate they choose in the general election.
Mail ballots, early in-person options
If you would like to vote by mail, the deadline for requesting a ballot is Aug. 23 for the primary and Oct. 18 for the general election.
Early in-person voting will be available at the Town Hall from Aug. 24 to Sept. 12 for the primary and Oct. 19 to Nov. 7 for the general election. To participate early in-person, simply visit the Town Hall any of those dates during business hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Need more info?
Did not receive a voter registration card, moved and did not inform Board of Canvassers, or are unsure if you have a party affiliation on file? You can visit voteRI.gov, or call Town Hall for assistance. You can also find the answers, along with the updated precinct map, on the Town Clerk’s page of the town website.
“We are always looking for poll workers to help out for both the primary and general elections,” said Cordeiro. “Anyone who is interested in helping us ensure a free and fair election can find applications at Town Hall and on the town’s website.”
State Primary — Sept. 13
Voter registration deadline — Aug. 14
Affiliation change deadline — Aug. 15
Mail ballot application deadline — Aug. 23
Early in-person voting available — Aug. 24 to Sept. 12
General election — Nov. 8
Voter registration deadline — Oct. 9
Mail ballot application deadline — Oct. 18
Early in-person voting available — Oct. 19 to Nov. 7