Special Election: Housing & Infrastructure Bonds

Rhode Island will hold a statewide election on March 2, 2021 to vote on $400 million worth of debt service to pay for projects such as affordable housing, parks and transportation. The Government Affairs Committee will vet the proposals prior to the election and communicate with housing advocates on the merits of the proposal. Here are some important things to know about the election:

  • The Secretary of State office will send out mail ballot applications to all registered voters, who will have to fill them out and return them in order to receive a mail ballot.
  • Voters will also have the option of voting early in-person for 20 days prior to the March 2 election or voting in person at a polling place on the day of the election.
  • Rhode Island, mail voters will not be required to have a notary or two witnesses sign their ballot envelopes, which was the procedure prior to the pandemic. The R.I. General Assembly waived the requirements for the special election when lawmakers passed the legislation approving the bond items.

Key dates related to registering to vote for the election, voting early and returning the ballot applications:

  • Sunday, Jan. 31: Deadline to register to vote
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9:  Deadline to submit mail ballot applications
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10: Early in-person voting period begins
  • Monday, March 1: Early in-person voting period ends at 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 2: Special Referenda Election, polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voters will be asked to approve or deny seven different bond items:

  • Question 1:$107 million for higher education projects at all three state colleges, including a fine arts center at URI, Clarke Science Building at RIC, and renovations at all four CCRI campuses
  • Question 2:$74 million for green initiatives including state beaches, campgrounds, parks (including the I-195 land park), clean water, the Woonasquatucket greenway project and Providence river dredging
  • Question 3:$65 million for affordable housing development
  • Question 4: $72 million for transportation infrastructure, to match federal funds for ports, highways, roads and bridges
  • Question 5: $15 million for early childhood facilities and the education capital fund
  • Question 6: $7 million for arts and culture including the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts grant program, Trinity Repertory Company and Rhode Island Philharmonic
  • Question 7: $60 million for Quonset to develop the Port of Davisville and acquire and develop other industrial sites for “job-producing activities”


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