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Secretary of State Mollis Announces Free Voter IDs Available in 7 Communities This Coming Week

PROVIDENCE, RI Voters who need a photo ID in order to comply with the state's new Voter ID law can get a free ID from Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis at seven locations this coming week.

The new law requires poll workers to ask voters for ID when they vote at the polls. The first test of Voter ID will be the April 24 presidential primary.

"The public's confidence in the integrity of our elections is diminished by the belief that identity theft occurs at the polls. Renting a car or getting a library card require ID. The right to vote deserves at least as much protection," said Mollis.

Voters can obtain a free Voter ID at Essex Village in North Kingstown April 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Burrillville Housing Authority April 3 from 10 a.m. to noon, Glocester Town Hall April 3 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the Smithfield Senior Center April 4 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., Foster Town Hall April 5 from 10 a.m. to noon and Harrington Hall in Cranston April 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. Voters can also go to the Secretary of State's Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Secretary of State's office will provide free IDs to voters who do not already have an acceptable photo ID such as 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 like a RIPTA bus pass.

In order to obtain a Voter ID, voters must bring proof of identity such as a Social Security card, credit or debit card, utility bill or government-issued document. The ID, which includes a color photo of the voter and the voter's full name as it appears in the state's voter registration database, will be created on the spot.

"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.

Here is the complete schedule of locations where voters can obtain a free Voter ID. Mail ballots do not require ID.

Voter ID will be phased in over two election cycles. In 2012 and 2013, voters can also use a variety of non-photo IDs including a Social Security or Medicare card. Beginning in 2014, only photo IDs will be accepted.

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 one will be denied the opportunity to vote," said Mollis.

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, encourages voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting.

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

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Related links

Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State

Online: http://www.sos.ri.gov/

Release date: 03-30-2012

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