PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Using equipment borrowed from the state lottery, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis today set the order in which the candidates for the Democrat and Republican presidential nomination will appear on the state's April 24 primary ballot.
Barack Obama will appear first on the Democratic ballot, followed "Uncommitted."
Mitt Romney was selected first in the GOP lottery. He will be followed on the ballot by Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Buddy Roemer, "Uncommitted" and Ron Paul.
In a scene familiar to Rhode Islanders who watch the state's daily lottery numbers selected on television, candidates were assigned specially calibrated, numbered, white plastic balls. A representative from the state lottery operated the machine, which tumbled the balls on bursts of air. As each ball floated to the top of the machine's shoot, Mollis announced where the corresponding candidate's name will appear on the ballot.
Today's lottery also determined ballot position for the nearly 120 Rhode Islanders who are running to be a delegate at the Democratic or Republican National Convention. The process played out before an audience of about 30 candidates and supporters at the State House.
In order to be eligible to cast a ballot in the presidential primary, Rhode Islanders must register to vote by March 24. April 3 is the deadline to apply for a mail ballot.
The April 24 presidential primary will be the first test of the state's new Voter ID law the state's new Voter ID law for most voters. Voters will be asked to show ID when they vote at their polling place.
The Secretary of State's office is providing free IDs to registered voters who do not already have an acceptable photo ID such as a R.I. driver's license, U.S. passport or RIPTA bus pass.
This week's stops include the North Kingstown Senior Center March 8 from 10 a.m. to noon, Jamestown Town Hall March 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 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 information about the presidential primary and Voter ID, including the complete schedule of dates and locations voters can obtain a free ID, are posted at sos.ri.gov.