Free Voter IDs Available in Pawtucket, Providence This Week
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – One week after Voter ID debuted at the polls, the campaign to implement the new law begins anew when the Secretary of State's office swings into Pawtucket and Providence this week.
Voters who do not have a valid photo ID can obtain one on May 2 at the Mathieu Senior Center, 420 Main St., Pawtucket, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the Urban League Job Fair, 246 Prairie Ave., Providence, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on May 5 at the Multi-service Center for All, 370 Hartford Ave., Providence, from 10 a.m. to noon.
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.
Under the state's new Voter ID 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, RIPTA bus pass, college ID 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 Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
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 medical card. 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.
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.
In addition to this week's stops in Pawtucket and Providence, voters can also 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.
The next test of Voter ID will be the statewide primary on Sept. 11. Mail ballots do not require ID.
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, promotes 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.