PROVIDENCE, RI -- With the Sept. 11 primary less than a month away, the Secretary of State's office will be in four communities next week providing free photo IDs to voters who need one in order to comply with 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 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 faith in the outcome of our elections is undermined by the belief that fraud occurs at the polls. Addressing this concern restores their confidence and encourages them to make their voices heard," said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
Here are the dates and locations:
* Tues., Aug. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon at Elmhurst Extended Care, 50 Maude St., Providence
* Tues., Aug. 21, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket
* Wed., Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Goldsmith Manor, 99 Goldsmith Ave., East Providence
* Thurs., Aug. 23, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Villa at St. Antoine, 400 Mendon Rd., in North Smithfield
* Sat., Aug. 25, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge Masonic Temple, 833 Eddy St., Providence.
In addition to those locations, voters can also obtain a free ID at the Secretary of State's Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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.
A complete list of acceptable IDs and proofs of identity as well as the schedule of dates and locations where voters can obtain a free ID is posted on the Secretary of State's website at sos.ri.gov.
Voter ID will be phased in over two election cycles. This year, 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 a 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 special municipal elections, no problems at the polls have been reported to the Secretary of State's office.
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.