Emergency Rule and Regulation Establiching Vote-by-Mail Ballot Drop Boxes for September 8, 2020 Primary and November 3, 2020 General Election
410-RICR-20-00-24 INACTIVE RULE EMERGENCY RULE
1.3 Effect of Depositing Ballot in any Designated Drop Box.
A. For purposes of this Rule and Regulation, any ballot that is cast by a voter as either a mail ballot or emergency ballot and is deposited by the voter into a Drop Box on or before 8 p.m. on Election Day, shall be deemed to be received by the Board of Elections, pursuant to the requirements of R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-20-16. NO BALLOT SHALL BE ACCEPTED AND TABULATED IF NOT INSERTED WITHIN THE SEALED CERTIFICATION ENVELOPE PROVIDED TO THE VOTER PURSUANT TO R.I. Gen. Laws §17-20-21.
B. Any ballots deposited in a Drop Box by 8 p.m. on Election Day and enclosed within its Sealed Certification Envelope shall be processed, certified and tabulated in the same manner as all other mail and emergency ballots that have been cast and received by the Board of Elections by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
A. A Drop Box shall be established in each city and town in the State of Rhode Island and to the extent feasible shall be located prominently and in close proximity to the entrance at the exterior of the city or town hall building in each community. The Drop Box may be established inside a city or town hall building but only if it is placed in the vicinity of the office of the local board of canvassers and the building remains open and accessible to the public up throughout the prescribed time period prior to Election Day and until the close of the polls at 8 p.m. on Election Day and provided further that prominent signage be displayed outside of the municipal building that notifies the public of the existence and location of the Drop Box.
B. Each Drop Box shall be tamper-proof and the Drop Box shall use a slot opening that is capable of receiving mail and emergency ballots within the sealed certification envelopes. The opening of the Drop Box shall not be capable of receiving any larger item, including any package or material that could damage any deposited ballot. If the Drop Box is outside, it must be securely fastened to the ground and also be designed to protect deposited ballots from any outside elements, including rainwater.
C. The location of the Drop Box and the slot opening must be accessible to any handicapped person, and be at a height that permits the deposit of a ballot from the height of a wheelchair.
D. The Drop Box shall be clearly and visibly marked, as an “OFFICIAL BALLOT DROP BOX FOR ELECTION DAY. Ballots must be deposited here no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day unless the voter is in line to deposit his or her ballot at 8 p.m.” Each Drop Box shall also display the official seal of the Board of Elections.
E. The Drop Box shall also notify the voter that no postage is required when depositing the ballot into the Drop Box and that each ballot must be deposited within the Sealed Certification Envelope provided to the voter.
1.5 Public Notice of Drop Box Locations
The Board of Elections and Secretary of State shall provide public notice of the availability and location of each Drop Box. Said notice shall also be posted on the websites of the Board of Elections and Secretary of State and, to the extent feasible, on the official website for each city and town in Rhode Island.
1.6 Process for Retrieval and Delivery of Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes
A. The Board of Elections shall designate one or more staff members of each local board of canvassers as the official agents of the Board of Elections, for purposes of retrieving ballots deposited in Drop Boxes. For drop boxes outside the facility, each business day prior to the close of business of the local board of canvassers during the twenty-five (20) day period prior to Election Day, one or more staff members of each local board of canvassers shall retrieve all ballots deposited within the Drop Box and secure the ballots within the Secure Ballot Transfer Device office for subsequent delivery to the Board of Elections For drop boxes established inside the facility, one or more staff members of each local board of canvassers shall at least twice per week retrieve all ballots deposited within the Drop Box and secure the ballots within the Secure Ballot Transfer Device office for subsequent delivery to the Board of Elections.
B. At 8 p.m. on Election Day, upon the last ballot deposited by any person in line at that time, the designated agent of the Board of Elections shall ensure that no other ballots are deposited in the Drop Box.
B. Each Drop Box must be sealed and locked. The Drop Boxes should also be covered to prevent voters from attempting to deposit ballots after the close of the polls on Election Day.
C. Ballots shall then be retrieved from the Drop Boxes by the designated agent of the Board of Elections, accompanied by one or more staff members of the local board of canvassers.
D. The Board of Elections agent and a staff member of the local board of canvassers shall then collect all ballots from the Drop Box and place the ballots in a Secure Ballot Transfer Device.
E. The date and time of retrieval, and the number of ballots contained in the Drop Box, shall be noted on a retrieval form provided by the Board of Elections.
F. Upon retrieval of the ballots from the Drop Box, the Board of Elections agent shall also inspect the Drop Box for any evidence of tampering and shall note any such finding on the ballot retrieval form.
G. The completed ballot retrieval form shall be affixed to the outside of the Secure Ballot Transfer Device.
H. The ballots shall be transported to the Board of Elections in the Secure Ballot Transfer Device for processing and tabulation. Only persons designated by the Board, including assigned law enforcement officers, shall be authorized to transport the ballots to the Board. The Board shall record the time and date that the transported ballots were received.
I. When the Secure Ballot Transfer Device is received and opened by the Board, the number of ballots contained therein shall be counted by the Board staff to confirm the information contained on the ballot retrieval form. The Board findings shall be set forth on a ballot receipt form. The Board shall then process and certify the Sealed Certification Envelopes and tabulate the enclosed ballots in the same manner as all other mail and emergency ballots in accordance with the statutory requirements of Chapter 20 of Title 17 of the General Laws.
|Board of Elections
|Emergency Rule and Regulation Establiching Vote-by-Mail Ballot Drop Boxes for September 8, 2020 Primary and November 3, 2020 General Election
|Type of Filing
|08/14/2020 to 12/12/2020
R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-20-16
Purpose and Reason:
To provide mail ballot voters with an alternative method for the submission of ballots to the Board of Elections for tabulation in the September 8 2020 Primary and the November 3, 2020 General Elections by establishing drop box receptacles in each city and town in the State of Rhode Island and to address the need to offer an alternative method of transmitting the mail ballots to the Board on a timely basis under the requirements of RI General Laws 17-20-16
Brief statement of Reason for Finding Imminent Peril:
Due to COVID-19 there will be an increase in mail ballots requested and the quickest way to make sure the ballot is delivered to the Board of Elections on time is to drop the ballot in a drop box. The emergency period for mail ballots begins on August 19, 2020.