PROVIDENCE, RI – The Secretary of State's campaign to implement the state's new Voter ID law will stop in four communities this coming week. Under the new law, voters will be asked for ID when they vote at the polls beginning with 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. Voting deserves at least as much protection," said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
Voters can obtain a free Voter ID at Lincoln Manor in Lincoln on Tues., April 10, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Manville Manor in Lincoln on Wed., April 11, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Warren Senior Center on Thurs., April 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the Portsmouth Senior Center on Fri., April 13, from 10 a.m. to noon and the Ocean State Center for Independent Living in Warwick on Fri., April 13, from 10 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 an 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 will include 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 dates and locations where voters can obtain a 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.
No eligible voter will be denied the right to vote. Voters who do not bring an acceptable ID to the polls 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.
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.