PROVIDENCE, RI -- Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis' campaign to smoothly implement the state's new Voter ID law is making two stops in Providence.
The Secretary of State's office will provide free IDs to registered voters who do not already have an acceptable photo ID like a R.I. driver's license, U.S. passport, college ID, U.S. military ID, government-issued medical card or federal- or state-issued ID including RIPTA bus passes.
Voters who qualify can get one of the new IDs at the DaVinci Center, 470 Charles St., Providence, on Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Multi-service Center for All, 370 Hartford Ave., Providence, on Feb. 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Secretary of State's office will also register new voters at the same time.
"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.
In order to obtain one of the new state-issued IDs, voters must bring proof of identity such as a social security card, credit or debit card, utility bill or government-issued document.
Under Rhode Island's new law, voters will be asked to show a current and valid ID when they vote at their polling place. 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 Mollis.
Voter ID will be phased in over two election cycles. In 2012 and 2013, voters can use a variety of non-photo IDs 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 R.I. driver's license, college ID, U.S. passport or RIPTA buss pass.
Eligible voters who do not bring an acceptable ID to the polls will not be turned away. They 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.
"No eligible voter will be denied the right to cast a ballot at the polls," said Mollis. More details about Voter ID are posted 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. 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.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293 or firstname.lastname@example.org