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Secretary of State Mollis Makes Free Voter IDs Available at R.I. Convention Center This Saturday

PROVIDENCE, R.I. The Secretary of State's office will provide free photo IDs to voters who need one in order to comply with the state's new Voter ID law Sat., Dec. 15, from noon to 4 p.m. as part of the "Feed 1,000" event at the R.I. Convention Center.

Organized by the Pawtucket-based PMG Inc., "Feed 1,000" will offer food, clothing and health care services to needy Rhode Islanders. The stop will be the last of more than 100 community outreach events for the Secretary of State's office this year.

"I think it is fair to say that Voter ID rolled out as well as anyone could have imagined. Nearly 560,000 ballots were cast, fewer than 190 provisional ballots were received and no one has reported having been turned away at the polls because they did not bring ID," said Mollis.

Under the new law, voters were asked to show an ID when they voted at the polls this year. 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 were acceptable.

To obtain a free ID Saturday, voters must bring proof of identity such as a Social Security card, credit or debit card 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. Voters who already have an acceptable photo ID do not need the special Voter ID.

Voter ID is being phased in over two election cycles. Until 2014, 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.

"The widespread belief that voter fraud occurs at the polls weakens the public's confidence in the integrity of our elections. The simple act of being able to match a voter's face to the name protects the rights of everyone," said Mollis.

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 miss Saturday's event at the R.I. Convention Center 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.

The Secretary of State's office shares responsibility for staging elections with municipal boards of canvassers and the state Board of Elections. The Secretary of State's office prepares ballots, maintains the statewide voter registration database, encourages voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting. The state Board of Elections oversees the delivery of ballots, maintenance of voting equipment and training of poll workers. Local boards of canvassers select polling places and poll workers.

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: 12-13-2012

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