PROVIDENCE, RI -- Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding voters that Tues., Aug. 21, at 4 p.m. is the deadline to submit a mail ballot application for the September primary to their local board of canvassers.
Registered voters who will be absent from the state on Sept. 11 or who are unable to vote at their polling place because of illness or disability are eligible to apply. In addition, thanks to a change in state law, voters can now apply for a so-called "no-excuse" mail ballot if they believe they will be unable to make it to the polls on the day of the primary.
"If you want to vote by mail, you've only got until Tuesday to make sure your local board of canvassers has received your application," said Mollis. "More than 2,300 voters have already applied."
Local election officials will compare the signature on the application with the signature on the voter's voter registration form. If the signatures match, a ballot will be mailed to the voter. Voters have until the day of the primary to fill out their ballot and return it to the state Board of Elections.
After Aug. 21, voters who unexpectedly find they will be unable to vote at their polling place can go to their city or town hall through Sept. 10 and request an Emergency Ballot.
The Sept. 11 primary will include Democratic and Republican contests for the U.S. House of Representatives as well as some General Assembly seats and municipal offices.
The primary is the next test of the state's new Voter ID law, but mail ballots do not require ID.
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 these locations. 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