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Secretary of State Mollis Makes Free Voter IDs Available in Newport

PROVIDENCE, R.I. 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 this Thurs., Sept. 27, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Park Holm Senior Center, 1 Eisenhower Rd., in Newport.

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 pervasive belief that identity theft occurs at the polls undermines the public's confidence in the integrity of our elections. An ID is required for opening a bank account or getting a library card. Doesn't the right to vote deserve 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 obtaining a Voter ID at the Park Holm Senior Center on Thursday, residents can register to vote or re-register to vote if they have moved or changed their name since the last time they voted as required by state law. Oct. 7 is the deadline to register or re-register in order to be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 election.

In order to register, you must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Rhode Island and a U.S. citizen. Registering to vote is free.

In addition to the Newport stop, 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. and at many locations throughout Rhode Island. Complete details are posted on the Secretary of State's website at sos.ri.gov.

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.

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.

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: 09-24-2012

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