PROVIDENCE RI – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding Rhode Islanders who are living overseas or serving in the military out of state that they should begin looking for their mail ballots for this year's primary.
Mollis put the ballots in the mail July 27. Overseas and military voters with access to the Internet can also download their ballots. The ballots must be returned to the state Board of Elections by 9 p.m. Sept. 11 in order to be counted.
"By giving voters access to their ballot faster, we make it more likely they will be able to return their ballots by the deadline," said Mollis. "We hope Rhode Islanders with friends and family serving out of state or living overseas will help us make sure they know their ballots are available."
In addition to asking the public to spread the word, Mollis is also working with the R.I. National Guard to let deployed servicemen and women know that their mail ballots are available.
Only voters who are eligible under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) will find their ballots on-line. Mollis introduced the option in 2010.
Accessing the ballot on-line requires voters to use personal identification information. Once they complete their ballot, voters can return it by fax or mail, just as they have in previous elections.
According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Rhode Island led the nation in implementing the federal Military and Overseas Voters Act on behalf of Rhode Island's UOCAVA voters. One hundred percent of Rhode Island's UOCAVA ballots that were returned were counted in November 2010, which tied for first nationally with Connecticut and Hawaii.
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 military and overseas voting, visit sos.ri.gov or call (401) 222-2340.