Mail-in ballots up ahead of the Rhode Island primary

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island voters are sending a higher number of mail-in ballots ahead of the upcoming primary.

The secretary of state’s office says 6,265 mail ballots were sent out for this year’s primary compared to 5,603 in 2014, and more than half have been returned.

Mail ballots that allow residents to vote early have doubled since lawmakers relaxed the eligibility requirements in 2011.

John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, says 20,000 people used mail ballots in 2008 compared to 40,000 in 2016.

Marion says it’s unclear whether the increase in mail ballots will indicate higher overall turnout.

Voters have until 4 p.m. Tuesday to submit a last-minute ballot.

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