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RI Gives Voters More Help on Web Than Most States Says National Study

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Rhode Island is one of only nine states to have gotten a perfect score in a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

"Online Lookup Tools For Voters 2012" reviewed state elections-related web sites in five critical areas: finding your polling location, reviewing a sample ballot, posting voter registration information and checking the status of your absentee ballot and provisional ballot.

The Secretary of State's web site at sos.ri.gov hosts look-up tools that enable voters to find their polling place, review a sample ballot, check the status of their absentee ballot and confirm the accuracy of their voter registration information.

"These tools have become a crucial way to ensure that voters are well prepared to go to the polls. Last November, our on-line Voter Information Center had more than 300,000 page views in the seven days leading up to Election Day," said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.

The provisional ballot look-up tool is found on the state Board of Elections web site at elections.ri.gov.

"The Board of Elections takes pride in its work. This recognition validates the Board's core commitment to putting the voting public first," said Frank Rego, chairman.

Pew assessed the availability of the five look-up tools in all 50 states.

"How do voters find the information they need on and before Election Day? State election websites or Google? Tons of people look online but can't always find what they're looking for because some states don't offer online resources," stated Stephanie A. Bosh, communications manager for Pew's Elections Initiatives.

Joining Rhode Island with perfect scores in all five categories are Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. North Dakota, which does not have provisional ballots or voter registration, had perfect scores in the remaining three categories.

Rhode Island was the only state in the northeast to offer all five tools. For example, Pew reports that Massachusetts does not offer voters a tool for checking the accuracy of their voter registration information, while Connecticut does not give voters the ability to review sample ballots.

The Secretary of State's office maintains the state's voter registration database, encourages voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting.

Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier 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.

The Board of Elections is the state agency of dedicated professionals responsible for regulating various aspects of the elections process within Rhode Island. Its mission is to protect the integrity of the electoral process and to effectively and efficiently administer the provisions of the election laws of the United States and the state of Rhode Island including, but not limited to, the governance and conduct of elections, voter registration, campaign finance and public funding of campaigns. For more information, visit elections.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: 06-07-2013

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