PROVIDENCE, R.I. \u2014 The following is an op-ed from Rep. Deborah Ruggiero regarding the upcoming primary and general election.\n\nTHE\u00a0MANY WAYS TO VOTE in RHODE ISLAND\n\nBy Rep. Deborah Ruggiero\n\nA democratic government cannot function without citizens\u2019 participation.\u00a0 It is an important responsibility of every U.S citizen to VOTE.\n\nCOVID- 19 has changed our lives and it\u2019s changed how we vote. Our older and health-compromised citizens are at greater risk of being in a crowd at a polling place.\u00a0 We need to make voting easier and safer for everyone during a pandemic.\n\nIt\u2019s important to review the many ways you can now vote in Rhode Island in the upcoming Sept. 8 primary and Nov. 3 general election.\n\nFor the primary, you have until Aug. 18 to submit a mail ballot application to your local board of canvassers at your town or city hall. Or you can download it from Secretary of State\u2019s website: \u00a0https:\/\/elections.ri.gov\/voting\/applymail.php. Fill out the application and mail it or drop it off at your local board of canvassers.\n\nOnce you receive your mail ballot in the mail, vote in the comfort of your home, but don\u2019t delay. The last day to safely mail your mail ballot to the Board of Elections is Wednesday, Sept. 2. The day before the primary, Monday, Sept. 7, is Labor Day, so there won\u2019t be any mail delivery.\n\nIf you miss the Aug. 18 deadline for a mail ballot, you have another option to vote. The General Assembly passed, and the governor signed into law, a bill that now allows you to cast your ballot into an actual voting machine at your local town or city hall in the 20 days prior to an election.\n\nSo, from Aug. 19 until the election, Monday through Friday during business hours, you can go into your town or city hall and ask to vote.\n\nYou\u2019ll need to present your license or legal photo ID to request a ballot. Once you vote, you place your ballot into the voting machine to be counted.\u00a0\u00a0 It\u2019s easy, it\u2019s safe and it\u2019s another voting option.\n\nSpoiler Alert: You should get an \u201cI VOTED\u201d sticker! (I love the new blue stickers with the Independent Man on the State House).\n\nYou can still vote in person at the polls on primary day, Sept. 8, and Election Day on Nov. 3, but stay safe and WEAR A MASK.\u00a0 Your vote matters.\n\n- Rep. Deborah Ruggiero represents District 74- Jamestown\/Middletown.