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URI Libraries Guide for Voting

This is a voting guide for the URI community.

Voting for the first time can be intimidating as you learn to navigate the voting system in your state.  Here are answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about voting in the United States. Have a question that isn't answered here?  Email Professor Alicia G. Vaandering at or use this form to submit a question.  This form is limited to members of the URI community, and you will need to access it using your URI email address (although your email address will not be collected).

You may also want to check out Rock the Vote's FAQs if you have other questions that are not answered here.

Who can register to vote?

To vote, you must meet the following requirements:

​​​​​​Do I register to vote in my home state or in the state where I am attending college?

You can vote either in your home state or in the state where you attend college, but you cannot vote in both.  This site will give you more information about this process. 

I think I already registered to vote at a different address, but I'm not sure. What should I do?

If you aren't sure if you're already registered to vote, use Rock the Vote to check your voter registration status.  You can also complete a new voter registration form using the address where you want to be registered on the line that asks for your address. If you think you were registered at another address, insert that address on the line that asks you to list a former address.

How do I register to vote?

Some states allow you to register to vote online whereas others require you to register in person or by mail.  Use the Voter Information by State pages on this guide to locate the state where you will register to vote.  Information and links will be provided to help you figure out how to register to vote in that specific state.

Where do I go to vote?

If you're voting in Rhode Island, you can use the Secretary of State Voter Information Center form to find your polling location.  If you're voting in another state, use the Voter Information by State pages to locate your state's resources on voting.  If you're voting by mail or absentee ballot, after requesting that your ballot be mailed to your college address, you'll be able to vote right from your bedroom!

Do I need a photo ID to vote?

Yes.  If you are voting in Rhode Island, check out this list of acceptable forms of voter id.  If you are voting in another state, use the Voter Information by State pages to find the voter information website for your state so that you can find information about what classifies as acceptable identification.  These websites will also provide you with more information about what type of id (if any) is necessary to vote by mail or absentee ballot.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.