Our Homes, Our Votes
2022-2023 Housing Policy Guide
In August, Homes RI released our 2022-2023 Housing Policy Guide. The policy guide was crafted by housing practitioners, health equity experts, philanthropic organizations, and importantly, community members, residents and voters living and working in Rhode Island.
Our Homes, Our Votes
*Three first-time voters
Mail ballot applications filed
Voters who checked their registration status
New partnerships or staff trainings
Voter engagement/ community events
We know that housing opportunities are directly tied to the choices we make at the ballot. Through the Our Homes, Our Votes grant, we strengthened and expanded our voter mobilization, engagement, and education activities in 2022.
In addition to supporting voter access legislation, our team engaged directly with residents and Homes RI partners to strengthen voter education and mobilization within our communities. By providing regular updates and reminders to our network, we were able to encourage Rhode Islanders to participate in the 2022 elections and make their voices heard. Additionally, we drafted a 2022-2023 Housing Policy Guide to help shape concerned Rhode Islanders’ discussions with legislators about informed strategies to improve our State’s affordable housing.
Rhode Island Expands Voting Access
Exciting news! Thanks to your support, the Let RI Vote Act has been signed into law. The Let RI Vote Act (S2007), sponsored by Representative Katherine Kazarian (D) and Senator Dawn Euer (D), will make access to exercising the right to vote for Rhode Islanders a lot easier by:
- Allowing voters to apply for a mail ballot online
- Offering the choice to vote by mail without an excuse
- Removing the notary and witness requirement for mail ballots
- Establishing a multi-lingual voter hotline
- Reducing application deadline for voters to request a Braille ballot from 45 days to 21 days before the election
- Requiring at least one ballot drop box for each community
- Expands eligibility for nursing home residents to opt-in to automatically receive an application for a mail ballot
Thank you for those of you who showed up in support of the LRIV! With your successful advocacy, Rhode Islanders will benefit from improved voter access for the 2022 elections and beyond. We look forward to supporting future policy recommendations to continue to improve Rhode Island’s access to the ballot.
KNOW YOUR VOTING RIGHTS
If you do not have a permanent address, you can still vote no matter what your housing situation is! If you don’t have a permanent address, you can use the address of the city or town hall where you are residing when you fill out your voter registration form.
If someone tells you you cannot vote without a permanent address, your first step should be to contact the Secretary of State’s office at (401) 222-2340 to let them know this is happening.
You can call 211, which has a voting rights hotline.
You can also call the Board of Elections at (401) 222-2345 or your local board of canvassers at your city or town hall.
No one should be turned away at the polls. You have the right to request a provisional ballot if you are a qualified, registered voter and your name cannot be found on the voter list when you arrive at your designated polling place on Election Day, or if you do not bring a current and valid acceptable photo ID to the polling place. Your vote will be counted after your local board of canvassers confirms your eligibility.
Rhode Island General Laws, Section 17-19-49 currently prohibits the display or distribution of any poster, paper, circular or document that would aid, injure or defeat any candidate for public office or any political party or any question on the ballot.
This law prohibits such display within the voting place or within fifty (50) feet of the entrance or entrances to the building in which voting is taking place at any primary or election.
Election officials, that is, wardens, moderators, clerks and bi-partisan supervisors, assigned to a polling place are also prohibited from displaying or wearing any political party button, badge or other device that is intended to aid, injure or defeat the candidacy of any person for public office or any question on the ballot or to intimidate or influence any voter.
The State Board of Elections has oversight of the conduct of elections at polling places and that office should be contacted if you have any specific questions as to what campaigning is allowed.
You can request the assistance of a bipartisan pair of poll workers. Federal and state laws allow voters who are blind, disabled, or unable to read or write to bring a person of their choice into the voting booth. An affidavit must be completed by the person providing assistance.
All the information on a voter registration form is public record except your RI driver’s license and Social Security numbers.
The only exception is for victims or potential victims of domestic violence.
If you or a member of your household has a court-ordered restraining order against another person to prevent domestic violence, you may register to vote without making your residence address part of a public record. Contact the Department of State’s Elections Division at 401-222-2340 for an application to join the Address Confidentiality Program and for more information.
Under the Rhode Island Restoration of Voting Rights Act of 2006 (RIRVRA) the Secretary of State must ensure that persons who were not eligible to vote due to incarceration, will have their eligibility restored upon release from prison.
If you are a person convicted of a felony who was registered to vote in Rhode Island and plan to stay in the state, you will have your voter registration restored when you are released from prison. If you are sentenced to home confinement, probation or parole, you are still eligible to vote.
Gender identity should never prevent anyone from being a voter. Learn more about how to update your voter information if you have legally changed your name or need a Voter ID that better reflects your appearance today.
Click here for a short video with more information from the Secretary of State’s office.
Housing Providers Encouraged to Support Voter Registration & Engagement
On February 9, 2022, Several HUD offices sent out emails to their networks clarifying that housing providers who receive HUD funding should make voter registration opportunities and other election engagement available to their residents. Below are emails from the Office of Public and Indian Housing, Multifamily Housing, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, and HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs. These emails state explicitly that there is no barrier from HUD-funded organizations participating in non-partisan election work, as long as certain types of funding are not used to pay for it.