PROVIDENCE, RI -- The campaign to implement the state's new Voter ID law continues this week with stops at the Scituate Senior Center on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and the Cumberland Senior Center on Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.
The Secretary of State's office will provide free IDs to registered voters who do not already have one of a number of acceptable, current and valid photo IDs including a R.I. driver's license, a U.S. passport, an ID card issued by an U.S. educational institution, a U.S. military ID card, a U.S. government- or State of R.I.-issued ID card like a RIPTA bus pass or a government-issued medical card.
In order to obtain one of the new state-issued IDs, voters must bring one of 27 types of proof of identity such as a social security card, utility bill or government-issued document.
Under Rhode Island's new law, poll workers will ask voters to show an ID when they vote. The first test of the new law will be the state's April 24 presidential primary.
"Photo ID ensures that poll workers can match a face to the name that voters give them when they obtain their ballots at the polls. The simple act of asking for ID protects the rights of every voter," said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
The Secretary of State's office plans to visit every city and town leading up to the April 24 presidential primary. The next stops are at the DaVinci Center in Providence Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Coventry Town Hall Feb. 28 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Here is a complete list of locations and dates is posted on Mollis' website.
"The perception that identity theft could occur at the polls weakens the public's faith in the integrity of our elections. Voting should be at least as secure as everyday tasks like renting a car or getting a library card that routinely require ID," said Mollis.
Voter ID will be phased in over two election cycles. In 2012 and 2013, voters can use a variety of non-photo identification including a RIte Care or social security card if they do not have an acceptable photo ID. Beginning in 2014, poll workers will only accept photo IDs including a Rhode Island driver's license, military ID, college ID or U.S. passport.
Eligible voters who do not bring a ID to the polls will not be turned away. They can vote using a standard Provisional Ballot, which will be counted if the signature they give at their polling place matches the signature on their voter registration.
"No one will be denied the opportunity to vote," said Mollis.
Voter ID is not required for mail ballots.
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 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 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.