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Secretary of State Mollis Says Sunday Is Crucial Deadline If You Want to Vote in September's Primary

PROVIDENCE, RI -- Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding Rhode Islanders that this Sunday is the deadline to register to vote in the September primary. It is also the last day for voters who have moved or changed their names recently to re-register in order to cast a ballot on Sept. 11.

"Be prepared to make your voice heard. Voting is the best opportunity most of us have to have a say in the future of our community," said Mollis.

State law requires Rhode Islanders to be registered at least 30 days before an election in order to be eligible to vote. In order to register, you must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Rhode Island and a U.S. citizen.

Although the deadline falls on a Sunday, Mollis will open his office at 148 West River St., Providence, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, every municipality has made arrangements to enable residents to register to vote at the last-minute.

"We are working with every city and town to ensure that everyone who is interested in voting in September's primary knows where to go and what to do in order to be properly registered before the deadline," said Mollis.

Rhode Islanders can also download a voter registration form in order to beat Sunday's deadline. Their original, signed form must be received by the Secretary of State's office or their local voter-registration location by closing time Sunday.

September's primary will include races for the U.S. House of Representatives as well as some General Assembly seats and municipal offices.

The primary will 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, state ID card, RIPTA bus pass, college ID and employee ID.

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, only photo ID 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.

Voters who do not already have 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. or at any of the locations posted on the Secretary of State's website at sos.ri.gov. Voters who already have an acceptable photo ID do not need the special Voter ID.

In order to obtain a free photo ID, voters must bring proof of identity such as a Social Security card, credit or debit card, utility bill or any 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.

The Secretary of State's office prepares the ballots for all 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 this year's elections, visit sos.ri.gov or call (401) 222-2340.

MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293

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Related links

Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State

Online: http://www.sos.ri.gov/

Release date: 08-08-2012

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