PROVIDENCE, RI -- Voters who need a photo ID in order to comply with the state's new Voter ID law can get a free one from the Secretary of State's office today from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Budlong Manor.
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 photo IDs including a R.I. driver's license, state ID card, RIPTA bus pass, college ID and employee ID. Voters who already have an acceptable photo ID do not need the special Voter ID.
"The public's confidence in the integrity of our elections is diminished by the belief that identity theft occurs at the polls. Renting a car or getting a library card require ID. The right to vote deserves at least as much protection," said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
To obtain a free 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, will be created on the spot.
In addition to complete lists of acceptable IDs and proofs of identity, the schedule of dates and locations where voters can obtain a free ID are available on-line.
The primary on Sept. 11 will be the next test of Voter 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.
"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.
Voter ID has rolled out smoothly so far this year. Through the presidential primary and two municipal special elections, no problems at the polls have been reported to the Secretary of State's office. Fewer than 30 Voter ID-related provisional ballots have been cast and just one was rejected.
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.