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Secretary of State Mollis Urges Voters to Be Prepared for Changes on Election Day

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Election Day is Nov. 6, and Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is offering voters some advice to help make their trip to the polls go smoothly.

"You should be prepared for the changes you will encounter at the polls. From Voter ID to the location of your polling place and the hours it will be open, a lot will be different," said Mollis.

Because many cities and towns had to move polling places due to redistricting, Mollis urges voters to use his website to confirm where they will vote. They can also see a sample of the ballot they will use, make sure their voter registration information is accurate and check the list of IDs that poll workers will accept.

"All that help is available with just a few clicks of your mouse. Checking ahead of time will help you avoid problems when you go to the polls," Mollis said.

The election is also the next big test of 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 IDs including a R.I. driver's license, state ID card, RIPTA bus pass, college ID, employee ID and Social Security or Medicare card.

"For hundreds of thousands of voters, this will be their first election with Voter ID. We want them to be well prepared," Mollis said.

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.

Statewide, polls will open at 7 a.m. -- except Block Island,which will open at 9 a.m. -- and will now close at 8 p.m., which is an hour earlier than previous years.

Any eligible voter in line when the doors close at 8 p.m. will be allowed to cast a ballot. Voters are allowed to bring a marked sample ballot or other material that will help them in the voting booth.

If your name is not on the voter registration list at the polling place and you believe that you are legally registered to vote in that precinct, you are eligible to vote a provisional ballot, which will be counted if elections officials determine that your claim is valid.

There is good news for people who unexpectedly find they will be unable to vote at their polling place on Election Day. They can go to their city or town hall through Nov. 5 and vote using an emergency ballot.

Anyone who missed the Oct. 7 deadline to register to vote can still cast a ballot on Election Day, but only for president and vice president. Residents of most municipalities should go to their city or town hall, but Providence residents should go to the Dunkin Donuts Center. Elections officials in Burrillville, East Greenwich and Little Compton have also designated alternative sites. Voters should contact their town hall to confirm the location.

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

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Related links

Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State

Online: http://www.sos.ri.gov/

Release date: 11-02-2012

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