PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding Central Falls residents that this Sunday is the deadline to register to vote in the June 19 special election to fill the Ward 2 City Council seat formerly held by Richard Aubin Jr.
Even though the deadline falls on a Sunday, City Hall will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for last-minute registrations. State law requires Rhode Islanders to register at least 30 days before an election. In order to register and vote in the special election, you must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Rhode Island and a U.S. citizen.
In addition to first-time voters, the deadline also applies to residents who have moved or changed their names recently. State law requires voters to update their voter-registration records at least 30 days before an election.
Voter-registration forms can also be downloaded from the Secretary of State's website. In order to beat the deadline, the Central Falls Board of Canvassers must receive the original, signed form by 4 p.m. May 20.
Alfonso DeJesus Acevedo, Robert A. Ferri and Anthony Goes qualified to face off in a non-partisan special primary June 5. The top two vote-getters will appear on the June 19 ballot.
The Ward 2 races will be the second local test of the state's new Voter ID law.
Under the new law, poll workers will ask voters to show an ID when they vote. A wide range of common IDs including a R.I. driver's license, RIPTA bus pass, U.S passport, employee ID and Social Security card will be accepted.
"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.
Voters who lack an acceptable photo ID can obtain a free one at the Secretary of State's Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mollis is also identifying locations in Central Falls where voters will be able to obtain a free ID prior to the June 5 special primary.
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.
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, credit or debit card, bank statement or any government-issued medical card. Beginning in 2014, only photo IDs will be accepted.
"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.
The Secretary of State's office prepares maintains the state's voter registration database, encourage voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier 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