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RI to start releasing mail-ballot results on election night

October 27, 2020 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Board of Elections has unanimously approved a plan to start releasing mail ballot counts at 11 p.m. on election night.

The move approved Monday was made because of the large number of mail-in ballots this year prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, board Chairman Robert Rapoza said.

After the initial count, a second count will be released on Nov. 4, and a third count will be released once all mail ballots are counted, Rapoza said. Because voters are given seven days to fix deficiencies in their mail ballot, there will be a fourth release of any remaining mail ballot results the week after the election, or Nov. 10, he said.

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Usually, the board waits until all mail ballots had been tabulated to add them to the publicly-reported vote totals.

More than 126,000 mail ballots have been returned so far out of roughly 175,000 requested, Rapoza said.

The board also unanimously approved allowing voters to use expired Rhode Island driver’s licenses or state-issued identification cards with an expiration date of March 1 or later at the polls. The state Division of Motor Vehicles began extending renewal deadlines on that date due to the pandemic.