PROVIDENCE, RI – The first day's results are in and Ron Paul leads all candidates in the race to collect the 1,000 signatures necessary to appear on the state's April 24 presidential primary ballot, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis announced this afternoon.
Candidates have until Feb. 2 to submit the signatures of at least 1,000 eligible Rhode Island voters. Here are the first day's results: • Ron Paul submitted a total of 50 valid signatures of voters from Hopkinton, North Kingstown and Richmond • Newt Gingrich submitted 26 valid signatures from North Kingstown • Mitt Romney submitted 26 valid signatures from North Kingstown • Rick Santorum submitted 26 valid signatures from North Kingstown • Buddy Roemer submitted 25 valid signatures from North Kingstown
President Obama is the only candidate to have filed to run in the Democratic primary while Mark Callahan, Gingrich, Paul, Rick Perry, Roemer, Romney and Santorum filed on the Republican side.
The Secretary of State's office has added a new page to its website so the public can track the progress candidates are making toward achieving the 1,000-signature threshold.
At the same time that Rhode Islanders vote for a presidential candidate, they will elect delegates to the Republican and Democratic political conventions. Rhode Islanders who want to run for delegate must register to vote by this Friday, Jan. 24.
In order to be eligible to run, candidates for delegate must file an official "Declaration of Candidacy" with the Secretary of State's office on Feb. 22 or 23. Feb. 28 is the deadline to collect the signatures of at least 150 eligible voters in order to qualify to appear on the ballot.
As with the presidential candidates, the public can follow who has filed to run for delegate and the progress they are making achieving the 150-signature threshold on the Secretary of State's website.
Rhode Islanders must register to vote by March 24 in order to cast a ballot in the April 24 presidential primary. April 3 is the deadline to apply for a mail ballot.
Every key step leading up to Rhode Island's presidential primary is included in a 32-page guide that is posted on the Secretary of State's website.
In addition to the guidebook, Rhode Islanders will also find all the forms they will need in order to run for delegate to the Democratic or Republican convention this summer.
"This strategy saves us the cost of printing thousands of guides and forms and makes it easier for political parties, citizens and candidates to share links with their constituents, friends and supporters," said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
This will be the first election to take place since the state's new Voter ID law passed. Beginning this year, poll workers will ask voters to show a current and valid ID. A wide range of IDs will be accepted including a R.I. driver's license, college ID, U.S. passport and social security card.
"No eligible voter will be turned away at the polls. Anyone who does not bring an ID can vote using a standard provisional ballot. If the signature they give matches the one on their voter registration, their vote will be counted," said Mollis.
Although photo IDs will not be required until 2014, the we will provide free photo IDs to eligible voters who lack one.
The Republican National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 27-30 in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Democrats are scheduled to meet in Charlotte, NC, the week of Sept. 3.
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 state's voter registration database and distributes handbooks that explain how to run for office, how to register to vote and how to vote.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.
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