Mollis Reminds Voters To Prepare For Voter ID, New Polling Places, New Closing Time
The following is a press release:
Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding voters to be prepared for changes at the polls when vote in this Tuesday’s presidential primary.
Under the state’s new Voter ID law, poll workers will ask them for ID for the first time. A wide range of common IDs including a R.I. driver's license, RIPTA bus pass, college ID and Social Security card will be accepted.
"The perception that identity theft could occur at the polls weakens the public's faith in the integrity of our elections," Mollis said. "Voting should be at least as secure as everyday tasks like renting a car or getting a library card that routinely require ID."
Most importantly, no eligible voter will be denied the right to vote. Voters who do not bring an acceptable ID to the polls can vote using a standard Provisional Ballot. If the signature they give at their polling place matches the signature on their voter registration, their ballot will be counted.
Mollis advises voters to use the Voter Information Center on his website at sos.ri.com to find their polling place, check the accuracy of their voter registration record, find out when their polling place opens and see a sample ballot.
"It is very likely you will have a different polling place on Tuesday than the last time you voted," Molli said. Just 135 polling places will be open. More than 500 were open for the last statewide election in November 2010."
Tiverton voters will go to the VFW, 134 Shove St., Countryview Estates Community Room, 325 Hurst Lane, or the Sandywood Farms Community Center, 43 Muse Way. Only the Wilbur-McMahon School Auditorium, 28 Commons, will be open in Little Compton.
“Make a note," Mollis added. "This is the first election where polls will close at 8 p.m. So anyone who is used to voting as late as 9 p.m. should plan accordingly."
Barack Obama will be the only candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination on the ballot. The Republican ballot will feature Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. In addition, nearly 120 Rhode Islanders are running to be a delegate at the Democratic or Republican National Convention.
Even though photo ID won’t be required until 2014, Mollis will provide free photo IDs to voters who do not already have one. Because of the wide range of non-photo IDs that will be accepted on Tuesday, there’s no rush. But, voters who lack any acceptable ID can obtain a free one at the Secretary of State’s Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence, on Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the day of the primary from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In order to obtain a free Voter ID, voters must bring proof of identity such as a Social Security card, credit or debit card, utility bill or government-issued document. The ID, which includes a color photo of the voter and the voter's full name as it appears in the state's voter registration database, will be created on the spot.
The Secretary of State's office prepares the ballots for all federal, state and municipal elections held in Rhode Island. In addition, the office maintains the statewide voter registration list, encourages voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier for Rhode Islanders to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.