Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people.

Democracy Fund

Rhode Island Voter OperaTions and Elections Systems

The Rhode Island Voter OperaTions and Elections Systems (RI VOTES), a project of the University of Rhode Island Foundation, uses data-driven simulations of polling places to recommend solutions for reducing Election Day wait times.


On Election Day, some voters across the country experience long wait times before casting their ballot. In 2016, the longest Rhode Island wait times exceeded 90 minutes. This can be partially attributed to new technology, which introduces challenges such as unexpected machine maintenance and reaching maximum capacity. The RI VOTES project works with the Rhode Island Department of State and with local election officials to address these issues.

This grant will support the development of simulations that predict wait times based on pre-existing data, facility layouts, resource availability, the types of technology used, and the level of turnout. Using these simulations, the RI VOTES project will make recommendations to Rhode Island election officials to inform Election Day preparations. The models will initially be developed using Rhode Island-specific data, and then will be adapted to a generalized model which can be used nationwide.

Total Commitment

2018: $99,961 up to one year.