PROVIDENCE, RI With Rhode Island's September 8 primary and November 3 general election fast approaching, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea today announced a partnership with United Way of Rhode Island to launch the state's first 2-1-1 Voter Information Hotline. The new voter information capability of Rhode Island's 2-1-1 puts it among a select group of 2-1-1 programs in the U.S. to offer the service.
Historically, Rhode Islanders have known 2-1-1 as an information and referral helpline. This new partnership builds on United Way's social service expertise and multilingual capacity with information Rhode Islanders need to ensure they can vote safely. A recommendation from Secretary Gorbea's Elections 2020 Task Force, the hotline is a free resource available 24/7 via phone by dialing 2-1-1, then pressing 9. Users seeking voter information may also text their zip code to 898211 for assistance. Text service is available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Assistance is available in more than 150 languages, and TDD/TYY access is provided for those with hearing impairments.
Trained United Way 2-1-1 call specialists are able to provide information on a range of questions voters may have about the impact of COVID-19 on this year's elections, including: Voter registration Polling locations Ways to vote The mail ballot application process Mail ballot drop-off locations
"It's vital that Rhode Islanders turn to trusted sources for elections information like the 2-1-1 Voter Information Hotline and vote.ri.gov this year," said Secretary Gorbea. "The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, and elections are no exception. We're here to answer any questions you have so you can still exercise your fundamental right to vote. Thank you to United Way of Rhode Island for stepping up and partnering with my office on this important and innovative public resource."
The 2-1-1 Voter Information Hotline will be available through November 6. Voters can also find answers to frequently asked questions and important election dates and deadlines on vote.ri.gov.
"Voting is not only a right and a privilege, it is a vital civic duty in which nothing not even a pandemic should impact one's ability to cast their ballot," said Cortney Nicolato, President & CEO, United Way of Rhode Island. "With three simple numbers, 2-1-1 has changed the way our neighbors receive help and information, and right now everyone needs to know they can also call 2-1-1 with questions about voting."
Since its local inception in 2007, 2-1-1 has handled more than 2 million calls from Rhode Islanders, helping them access help and information through a direct human connection. A national model, 2-1-1 in Rhode Island was the first in the country to offer mobile, on-location services through its 2-1-1 outreach van, and plays a critical, statewide role during storms and times of emergency through a partnership with RIEMA.