PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis kicked off the final week of his campaign to implement the state's new Voter ID law before the April 24 presidential primary with a stop at Charlesgate Apartments in Providence today.
Under the new law, voters will be asked to show an ID when they vote at the polls. Poll workers will accept a wide range of common IDs including a R.I. driver's license, U.S. passport, college ID, RIPTA bus pass 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.
During the visit to the 350-unit complex, Mollis explained where voters can obtain free IDs at the last minute and reminded them to bring ID when they vote.
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 card, bank statement or any government-issued document. Beginning in 2014, photo ID will be required.
"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.
The Secretary of State's office will provide free photo IDs to voters who do not already have an acceptable one. 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.
The Secretary of State's mobile Voter ID team has made dozens of stops and visited every city and town in Rhode Island. There are several more stops scheduled before April 24.
• April 18 - Richmond Community/Senior Center, 10 a.m. to noon • April 19 - Nickerson Community Center, Providence, 9 a.m. to noon • April 19 - New Shoreham Town Hall, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. • April 20 - Swift Community Center, East Greenwich, 10 a.m. to noon
In addition, voters can obtain a free ID at the Secretary of State's Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Most importantly, 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.