PROVIDENCE, RI -- The Secretary of State's office will register Rhode Islanders to vote and provide free photo IDs to voters who need one in order to comply with the state's new Voter ID Sat., Aug. 25, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Prince Hall Grand Masonic Lodge, 833 Eddy St., in Providence.
The Secretary of State's office will set up shop at a voter engagement cookout sponsored by the NAACP and the Prince Hall Grand Masonic Lodge, a traditionally African-American fraternal organization.
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.
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.
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.
In order to register, you must be at least 18 years old by Nov. 6, a resident of Rhode Island and a U.S. citizen.
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.