PROVIDENCE — Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis visited Cox Communications in West Warwick today to kick off a final push to encourage Rhode Islanders to beat the Oct. 7 deadline for registering to vote in November's election.
"The upcoming election on Nov. 6 is crucial to the future of our country and our state. My office is doing everything we can to ensure Rhode Islanders are prepared to get out and vote," said Mollis.
The noon voter registration drive gave hundreds of workers at the West Warwick telecommunications company the opportunity to register to vote for the first-time or to re-register if they have moved or changed their name since the last time they voted as required by state law.
"We want to give every Cox Communications employee the opportunity to be prepared to vote on Tues., Nov. 6," said John Wolfe, senior vice president and general manager of Cox Communications. "Partnering with the Secretary of State's office is one more way we can make sure our workforce can do this."
State law requires Rhode Islanders to be properly registered at least 30 days before an election in order to be eligible to vote. In order to register and vote, you must be at least 18 years old by Election Day, a resident of Rhode Island and a U.S. citizen.
November's ballot will include races for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives as well as many General Assembly seats and local offices.
In addition to promoting the deadline to register to vote, Mollis is reminding voters that they will encounter changes at the polls this year including the new Voter ID requirement, new polling place locations and a new closing time for polls statewide
Because many cities and towns have moved their polling places due to redistricting, Mollis urges voters to confirm the location of their polling place ahead of time.
The Nov. 6 election is also the next big test of the state's new Voter ID law. Beginning this year, voters are being 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. Voters who already have an acceptable photo ID do not need the special 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.
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 many other locations.
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 as it appears in the state's voter registration database, 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, helping businesses grow 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.