PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Six candidates have qualified to run in Rhode Island's April 24 presidential primary, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis announced today.
Barack Obama will be the only candidate on the Democratic ballot. On the Republican side, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum made the cut.
In order to qualify to appear on the ballot, presidential hopefuls had to submit the signatures of at least 1,000 eligible Rhode Island voters. Today was the deadline for the Secretary of State's office to finish certifying the validity of the signatures.
"One indication that Rhode Islanders are taking this primary seriously is the number of signatures that were collected. In 2008, only Paul had more than 3,000. This year, three candidates exceeded that mark," said Mollis. "We certified more than 15,000 signatures in all."
Romney led all candidates with 3,320 certified signatures. Among Republicans, Romney was followed by Gingrich with 3,124, Paul with 3,081, Santorum with 1,687 and Roemer with 1,491.
President Obama's campaign submitted 2,403 valid signatures, topping the 2,017 he collected in 2008.
Two Republicans who filed to run in Rhode Island failed to reach the 1,000-signature threshold -- Mark Callahan of Oregon and Texas Governor Rick Perry, who suspended his campaign earlier this year.
April 24's presidential primary will be the first test of the state's new Voter ID law. Poll workers will ask voters to for an ID such as a R.I. driver's license or social security card before giving them a ballot.
"Voter ID strengthens the public's faith in the integrity of our elections by ensuring poll workers can match a face to the name voters give them. The simple act of asking for ID protects the rights of every voter," said Mollis.
The next milestone in Rhode Island's presidential primary calendar is Feb. 22 and 23, when voters who want to be a delegate at this summer's Democratic or Republican presidential conventions must file an official Declaration of Candidacy.
The Secretary of State's office prepares the ballots for all federal, state and municipal elections held in Rhode Island. In addition, it maintains the statewide voter registration list and creates guides to voting and running for office.
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. To learn more about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.
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