PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding anyone thinking about running for office that they have until today at 4 p.m. to file a Declaration of Candidacy in order to be eligible to appear on this year's ballot.
Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and electors for independent presidential candidates must file with the Secretary of State's Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence. Voters who plan to run for state or local office must file with the board of canvassers in the city or town where they are registered to vote.
Rhode Islanders can use the Secretary of State's Candidates Database to track everyone who has already filed to run for local, state and federal office.
Statewide more than 200 candidates have already filed including:
• Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse of Newport, Republican Benjamin Barrett Hinckley III of Newport and independents Todd Giroux of Bristol, Dany LaPorte of Woonsocket and David J. Slavin of Woonsocket for the U.S. Senate. • Democrats David Cicilline of Providence and Anthony Gemma of Lincoln, Republicans Brendan P. Doherty of Cumberland and Michael J. Donahue of Bristol, independents C. Michael Blake of Pawtucket and David S. Vogel of Providence and Kenneth A. Capalbo of South Kingstown as Unaffiliated for the U.S. House of Representatives in the First District. • Democrats Jim Langevin of Warwick and John O. Matson of Hopkinton, Republican Donald F. Robbio of Cranston and independent Abel Collins of South Kingstown for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Second District.
The next important milestone occurs from July 3 through July 13, when candidates must collect the signatures of enough eligible voters to officially put them on the ballot. The thresholds range from 50 signatures for some municipal offices to 1,000 signatures for U.S. Senate.
This year there will be contests for many municipal offices, General Assembly, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The statewide primary is Sept. 11 and the general election is Nov. 6.
Rhode Islanders can find all the crucial steps and deadlines in the Secretary of State's free "How to Run for Office" guide.
September's primary will also be the next statewide test of the state's new Voter ID law. Beginning this year, 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, employee ID and U.S. passport.
The Secretary of State's office will provide free IDs to voters who do not already have an acceptable photo ID. They can be obtained at the Secretary of State's Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In addition, a schedule of other locations where voters can obtain an ID is posted on-line.
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 includes a color photo of the voter and the voter's full name, 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, utility bill, bank statement or any government-issued medical card. Beginning in 2014, only photo IDs will be accepted.
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, 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.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293