PROVIDENCE, R.I. —One-hundred-and-nineteen Rhode Islanders have qualified to run for presidential delegate in the state's April 24 presidential primary, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis has announced.
In order to qualify to appear on the ballot, the candidates had to collect the signatures of at least 150 eligible voters. The Secretary of State's office validated more than 18,000 signatures.
Among the prominent Rhode Islanders who qualified were Democrats Joe Paolino and Myrth York as Obama delegates and Republicans Don Carcieri, Scott Avedisian and Alan Fung as Romney delegates.
Their names and those of 114 others will appear alongside Democrat Barack Obama and Republicans Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum on the ballot.
Statewide, 36 Rhode Islanders will vie to represent President Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, the week of Sept. 3. Voters will elect 22 delegates on April 24.
Romney led all Republican candidates with 27 delegates hoping to go to the Republican National Convention Aug. 27-30 in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Twenty-three Rhode Islanders are Paul delegates, followed by 22 for Santorum and 11 for Gingrich. No one filed to run as a Roemer delegate. Voters will elect 16 delegates and 16 alternates.
Rhode Islanders must register to vote by March 24 in order to cast a ballot in the presidential primary. April 3 is the deadline to apply for a mail ballot.
April 24's presidential primary will be the first test of the state's new Voter ID law. Beginning this year, poll workers will ask voters to show a current and valid ID at the polls. A wide range of IDs will be accepted including a R.I. driver's license, college ID, U.S. passport and social security card.
"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.
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 ballot will be counted.
"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.
Although photo IDs will not be required until 2014, the Secretary of State's office is visiting every city and town to provide free Voter IDs to registered voters who don't already have a valid photo ID.
This week's stops include the Leon Mathieu Senior Center, Pawtucket, March 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the North Kingstown Senior Center March 8 from 10 a.m. to noon and the Cranston Senior Center March 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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.
More details about Voter ID including the schedule of locations where voters can obtain an ID are posted on the Secretary of State's website at sos.ri.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293